"The tale begins with a demon. Centuries ago, it destroyed the foundations of a Buddhist monastery under construction in central Tibet. Then Guru Rinpoche, who had brought Buddhism to the kingdom, pursued the demon west, deep into Mustang. The two fought among Mustang’s snow peaks, desert canyons and grasslands. Guru Rinpoche prevailed, and he scattered the demon’s body parts across Mustang: its blood formed towering red cliffs, and its intestines tumbled to the wind-scoured earth east of the cliffs. Later, people would build a wall of prayer stones, the longest in Nepal, atop the intestines."
Actually Mustang District (3,573 km² and approximately 15,000 inhabitants), situated north of Himalayas and jutting up onto the Tibetan Plateau, has more in common, culturally and geographically, with Tibet then it does with the rest of Nepal. The northern two-thirds of the district was Lo Kingdom of Mustang (Upper Mustang), officially abolished by the Nepalese government in 2008. In addition to trekking routes through the Lo Kingdom and along the Annapurna Circuit in lower Mustang, the district is famous for the springs and village of Muktinath, apples, and Marpha brandy. Foreign visitors have been allowed to the region since 1992, but they must to obtain a special permit to enter, which costs US$50 per day per person.
Tsarang, spelled also Charang (682 people living in 130 individual households), located at south of the walled town of Lo Monthang, was once the most important town in the former kingdom of Mustang, a center of Buddhist scholarship and art, and a major stop for caravans carrying loads of salt between Tibet and India. It has numerous stupa structures, a monastery (gompa), made up of several buildings, and a fortress (dzong), in the left of the picture. As a backdrop to the monastery, on the steep cliff sides of the valley surrounding the village are evidence of extensive cave dwellings both for religious as well as secular use. They are, since 1996, on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, under the name Cave architecture of Muktinath Valley of Mustang.
About the stamp
The stamp, issued on August 22, 2006, is part of a set dedicated to the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations between Nepal and various countries, in this case Russia. It show Swayambhunath Stupa (Katmandu) & Sandalwood Buddha in Buryatia (Russia), and the flags of the two countries.
This is a post for Sunday Stamps #98, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Commemorations. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.
Mustang District - Wikipedia
Mustang Trekking - Ama Travel
Myths and Mountains in Nepal - New Yprk Times official website
The Village & Temples of Tsarang (Charang), Nepal - Himalayan Art
Sender: Heli Paudel
Sent from Kathmandu (Nepal), on 08.08.2012
Photo: A. Gruber