BAGLUNG: The inflow of tourists to Mustang is rising. Hotels are packed, and tourist destinations including religious one like Muktinath temple are flooded by visitors.
February-March is the main tourist season. Mustang can be reached by both road and airways. Tourists on the expedition to Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) can reach the area through Manang and Thorang-La pass. Most of tourists entering Mustang will end up in visiting Muktinath area. Some of them go to the Upper Mustang.
According to the ACAP, Area Conservation Office, Jomsom, the total 16,557 tourists visited Mustang from January to April alone. April saw the largest flow of 10,229. Likewise, April, 2018 recorded 9,615 tourists. A total of 13,998 tourists reached Mustang in May last year. Likewise, the total 59,838 tourists visited Mustang last year.
“The number of tourists increases in May. The flow continues until the end of mid-June,” said Prem Basnet of the Office. Although there is no record of domestic tourists visiting Mustang, the number is estimated to double that of foreign tourists.
“Hundreds of tourists visit the area on a daily basis. The figure dominates Indian pilgrims,” said Samjhana Rana, a local hotel entrepreneur.
Muktinath pilgrimage is the main attraction for youths in particular. The panorama of the area, its topography, mountain lifestyle, civilization and the culture of Mustang have attracted tourists.
New hotels targeting visitors are being added every day. Tourists visiting Mustang spend nights at hotels as well. Easy transportation access has helped increase the flow of tourists, said hotel entrepreneurs. Mustang can be reached by road and Pokhara-Jomsom flights are operated. RSS (Photo Curtsy: Elen Turner)
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