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Jomsom during winter
|Elevation||2,743 m (8,999 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:45 (NST)|
Jomsom (Nepali : जोमसोम), (Ward No. 4 of Gharpajhong Rural Municipality) also known as Dzongsam (New Fort) is the centre of Gharapjhong rural municipality in Mustang district and a former independent village development committee situated at an altitude of about 2,700 metres (8,900 ft) in Gandaki Pradesh of western Nepal. The soaring peaks of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri form a backdrop to the town straddling the Kali Gandaki River, which flows right through the centre of Jomsom. Along the banks of the Kali Gandaki, black fossilised stones called shaligram, considered as an iconic symbol and reminder of the god Vishnu in the Hindu culture, can be found. Such stones are believed to be found only in the Kali Gandaki, and are holy to the Hindus.
As the district headquarters, Jomsom is primarily an administrative and commercial centre with government officials and merchants rubbing shoulders with the local residents of the region, known as Thakalis. The town is also the main hub for onward travel to Upper Mustang and Muktinath. A company of the Nepalese Army is stationed here. Regular flights to Pokhara are operated from Jomsom Airport, which is also capable of handling aircraft from the Nepalese Army Air Service.
Jomsom lies to the north of Pokhara in Mustang district, and is the main gateway to Upper Mustang. It lies to south of the village of Kagbeni, a Tibetan-influenced village filled with prayer wheels, chortens and a Buddhist monastery. The trail passing through Jomsom follows the Kali Gandaki River which forms the deepest ravine in the world; on one side lies the Annapurna mountain range and on the other side is Dhaulagiri. The river freezes during winter and flows with rainwater and melting snow in summer and monsoon.
With its diverse landscape, the area around Jomsom has the scenery of rocky cliffs and high peaks of the Himalayas without much presence of greenery, with the exception being forests of bright rhododendrons. The culture in Jomsom is a rich combination of Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.
The layout of the town and the design of the houses are unique to this area. The houses in Jomsom are designed to protect the inhabitants from the strong winds that blow up the valley every day from late morning onwards. These winds are caused by differences in atmospheric pressure between the Tibetan plateau and the lower reaches of the valley. The best example of the unique architecture of this region is found in the village of Marpha which is a two-hour walk down from Jomsom, where one can find stone-flagged streets with an efficient underground drainage system and flat-roofed houses with a central courtyard, which best showcase the architecture of this area. The strong winds that blow up the valley prevent flights from taking off from Jomsom after 11am.
Jomsom is the starting point of the scenic trekking routes in Upper Mustang and Manang. The diverse landscape and culture found along this trekking route give marvellous insight into the way of life of Nepali people of various ethnic groups. The highlight is a trek through the deepest gorge in the world carved by the Kali Gandaki River, which originates in the Tibetan plateau to eventually flow into the Ganges in India.
Not too far from Jomsom is Muktinath, the famous pilgrimage site for Buddhists as well as Hindus. To Hindus, Muktinath is a sacred place of salvation. They believe that bathing in the waters here guarantees salvation after death. The Hindu god, Brahma, is said to have lit the eternal flames that burn at Muktinath. To Buddhists, Muktinath is a place where the great sage Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who brought Buddhism to Tibet, came to meditate. The area around Jomsom is a perfect place to find fossilised ammonites, known locally as Shaligram, which are found all along the upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki.
Most of the route along the Jomsom trek forms part of the Annapurna circuit and Annapurna foothill treks. The usual starting point is Naya Pul on the Pokhara to Baglung road and from there, via Ghorepani and Tatopani, into the gorge of the Kali Gandaki. The deep valleys and high mountains encircling the giant Annapurna Himal embrace a wide range of peoples and terrain, from sub-tropical jungle to a high, dry landscape resembling the Tibetan Plateau.
A modern FM radio broadcasting station was built in Jomsom in September, 2013. It is equipped with one radio studio, one main control room and the transmission tower along with a community centre and camping site for Annapurna trekkers. The station was built, following a contribution from a major Korean broadcaster, MBC, Lafuma and KOICA, for the wellbeing and safety of both residents and trekkers of Mustang.
The town was only slightly affected by the major earthquake of 25 April 2015. However, around 15–20 buildings along the river bank were damaged by a slowly progressing landslide after the earthquake. No injuries were reported in the town.
Annapurna is a massif in the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft), and sixteen more over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). The massif is 55 kilometres (34 mi) long, and is bounded by the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the west, the Marshyangdi River on the north and east, and by Pokhara Valley on the south. At the western end, the massif encloses a high basin called the Annapurna Sanctuary. The highest peak of the massif, Annapurna I Main, is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) above sea level. Maurice Herzog led a French expedition to its summit through the north face in 1950, making it the first of the eight-thousanders to be climbed and the only 8,000 meter-peak to be conquered on the first try.
Upper Mustang is an upper part of Mustang District. The Upper Mustang was a restricted kingdom and demilitarized area until 1992 which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetic languages. Tibetan culture has been preserved by the relative isolation of the region from the outside world. Life in Mustang revolves around tourism, animal husbandry and trade.
Thakali people are an ethnolinguistic group originating from the Thak Khola region of Mustang District in the Dhaulagiri zone of Nepal. Thak-sat-se is the traditional area of the Thakali community, which lies in the salt-trading zone on the south of Tukuche mountain, the valley of the Kali Gandaki river in western Nepal. According to the 2001 census, Thakali population of around 12,973 constituted only 0.06% of Nepal's population. As per the 2011 Nepal census, there are 13,215 Thakali people in Nepal.
Pokhara is a metropolitan city in Nepal, which serves as the capital of Gandaki Province. It is the country's largest metropolitan city in terms of area and second largest in terms of populations. The city also serves as the headquarters of Kaski District. Pokhara is located 200 kilometres west of the capital, Kathmandu. The altitude varies from 827 metres in the southern part to 1,740 metres in the north. The Annapurna Range, with three out of the ten highest peaks in the world — Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu — is within 15–35 mi (24–56 km) of the valley.
Muktinath is a Vishnu temple, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. It is located in Muktinath Valley at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass in Mustang, Nepal. It is one of the world's highest temples. Within Hinduism, it is known as Mukti Kshetra, which literally means the 'place of liberation' (moksh) and is one of the Char Dham in Nepal.
The Kali Gandaki Gorge or Andha Galchi is the gorge of the Kali Gandaki in the Himalayas in Nepal. It is the deepest gorge in the world.
Gandaki zone (Nepali: गण्डकी अञ्चल
The Gandaki River, also known as the Narayani and the Gandak, is one of the major rivers in Nepal and a left bank tributary of the Ganges in India. Its total catchment area amounts to 46,300 km2 (17,900 sq mi), most of it in Nepal. In the Nepal Himalayas, it is notable for its deep canyon. The basin also contains three mountains over 8,000 m (26,000 ft), namely Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Annapurna I. Dhaulagiri is the highest point of the Gandaki basin.
Dhaulagiri was one of the fourteen zones which Nepal was divided into for administrative purposes, prior to the September 10, 2015 adoption of a new Constitution, which divided the nation instead into 7 provinces. It is in the Western Development Region of Nepal and its headquarters are Baglung. Famous trekking areas like Mustang, Muktinath, Kali Gandaki valley and Mt Dhaulagiri fall in this zone. Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, the only hunting reserve in Nepal is spread over Baglung and Myagdi Districts of this zone.
Mustang District is one of the eleven districts of Gandaki Pradesh and one of seventy-seven districts of Nepal. It covers an area of 3,573 km2 (1,380 sq mi) and has a population (2011) of 13,452. The headquarters is Jomsom.
Baglung is a municipality in western Nepal, 275 km (171 mi) west of Kathmandu. It is the administrative headquarters of Baglung District and Dhaulagiri Zone. Baglung serves as the major center for business, finance, education, service and healthcare for the people of mid-Kali Gandaki valley that encompass Beni, Jaljala, Baglung, Kushma, Kathekhola, Galkot, Phalewas and Jaimuni local bodies. The city is located at the cross-section of Kaligandaki corridor highway and midhill highway that transverse Nepal in north–south and east–west directions respectively.
Tilicho Lake(pronounced [tilit͡so]) is a lake located in the Manang district of Nepal, 55 kilometres (34 mi) as the crow flies from the city of Pokhara. It is situated at an altitude of 4,919 metres (16,138 ft) in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas. Another source lists the altitude of Lake Tilicho as being 4,949 metres (16,237 ft). Lake Tilicho of Nepal is situated at an altitude of 4,949m from sea level According to the Nepali Department of Hydrology & Meteorology (2003), no aquatic organism has been recorded in the lake.
Jomsom Airport is a domestic airport located in Jomsom serving Mustang District, a district in Gandaki Pradesh in Nepal. It serves as the gateway to Mustang District that includes Jomsom, Kagbeni, Tangbe, and Lo Manthang, and Muktinath temple, which is a popular pilgrimage for Nepalis and Indian pilgrims.
Lomanthang is a rural municipality in Mustang district in Gandaki Pradesh of western Nepal. It is located at the northern end of the district, bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and Dalome rural municipality of Mustang in the south.
Kagbeni is a village in the Baragubg Muktikshetra rural municipality of Mustang District of the Himalayas, in Nepal, located in the valley of the Kali Gandaki River. At the time of the 2011 Nepal census it had a population of 555 people. It lies on the trail from Jomsom to the royal capital Lo Manthang, near the junction with the trail to Muktinath. Kagbeni is also regarded as one the oldest village in Himalayas.
Tangbe is a small village in the village development committee of Chhusang in the Mustang District of Nepal. It is located on a promontory with a good view over the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the Upper Mustang trekking route, between Kagbeni and Chhusang.
The Annapurna Circuit is a trek within the mountain ranges of central Nepal. The total length of the route varies between 160–230 km (100-145 mi), depending on where motor transportation is used and where the trek is ended. This trek crosses two different river valleys and encircles the Annapurna Massif. The path reaches its highest point at Thorung La pass (5416m/17769 ft), touching the edge of the Tibetan plateau. Practically all trekkers hike the route anticlockwise, as this way the daily altitude gain is slower, and crossing the high Thorong La pass is easier and safer.
Chhairo Monastery was the first monastery of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism founded in Upper Mustang. It was established in the 16th century and is part of present-day Mustang District, Nepal.
The Tibet–Nepal salt trade route is an ancient salt trading route running between the Tibetan Plateau and the Middle Hills of Nepal, and further on to India. After the annexation of Tibet by China in 1950 and the Sino-Indian War in 1962, patterns of trade changed, and the use of the old trading route between India and Tibet dwindled and the salt-carrying caravans became redundant.
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