This trek is about as far off the beaten track as is possible in Nepal without heading into Tibet. The little-known Teri La lies in the most rugged and inaccessible region of the Damodar Himal between Nar and Mustang. We are deeply immersed in the Buddhist tradition of the Nyingma-pa (old sect) and Tibetan culture.
On this wild route we climb from the subtropical valley of the Marsyangdi to the high deserts of the Mustang region. The whole region is characterised by strange exotic rock outcrops, ochre cliffs and hoodoos; canyons and weirdly eroded gullies abound. At Lo Manthang we are diving directly into ancient history. Villages and monasteries exhibit the ancient architecture, unchanged for over 500 years. Ancient cliff dwellings of the first inhabitants remain and discoveries suggest that these civilisations might have practiced human sacrifice.
We begin the trek in the valley of the Marsyangdi, trekking along the classic Annapurna Circuit route. Then we enter the secret valleys of Nar (and Phu), villages hidden and protected by deep sheer-sided canyons. From Nar village we follow a virtually abandoned trail, where only nature’s most elusive animals can survive. We meet shepherds, semi-nomadic herders, goats and yaks. The trails are exposed and the drops are eye-watering, so only those looking for such excitement should consider this arduous but thrilling route. The trail heads northwest to the Teri La, a pass at 5577m that leads us into the ancient kingdom of Mustang. From there we trek to the fabled Lo Manthang and, after a couple of days exploring the walled city, we continue south through Gheling and Chele to Kagbeni.
This circuit requires a commitment, both physical and mental, due to its extreme isolation and its duration. You have to be physically fit. There is no technical difficulty, but we cross the most unimaginably wild pass on a sometimes crumbling trail. The trek requires special permits.