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Photojournalist Darren Ornitz traveled last year to Mustang, Nepal, known as the “Lost Kingdom of Tibet.”

SITUATED WITHIN the world’s highest mountain range and just south of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Mustang is one of the last places in the world where traditional Tibetan culture remains intact. However, due to China’s ever-increasing presence in the region, and their building of a road connecting Lower Mustang to the walled city of Lo Manthang, near the Tibetan border, this status is under threat. There appears to be mixed feelings among the inhabitants of Mustang. Some welcome the road, as it allows for the influx of cheaper goods, but many fear the erosion of traditional lifestyles.

Those seeking an adventure and a rare cross-cultural experience can pay the hefty permit fee of $500 per person and hire a guide to trek the ancient villages of Mustang, either by horse or on foot.

Trekking + Exploring Photo Essay


About The Author

Darren Ornitz

Darren Ornitz is a photojournalist based in New York City. His passion for travel and photography has taken him all over the world. He has traveled extensively throughout Africa and Asia, to more than 25 countries, including Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Yemen, Nepal, and Oman. When Darren is not on assignment you can find him out on the water, meditating, or planning the next adventure. Darren is available for assignments throughout the globe. His website can be seen at, and his blog is

  • Scott Hartman

    So good… so, so good.

  • Isaac Martínez Losada

    Drago Tomianovic

  • Jan Schindler


  • Robert Neill

    When is the road to the Tibet to be finished?

  • Divino Allan Siqueira


  • Rabi Thapa

    Nice photos, but a few corrections if you don’t mind: the cave at which you met the man is known locally as Chungsi Cave or Chungsi Gomba, and the caretaker is I think mute. He does however receive a fair number of visitors and also travels around – the day I saw him at the caves (early May) there were four women there, and the following day he was hanging out in Syangmoche. Dal bhat tarkari is the most popular dish of the mid-hills of Nepal, and not local to the region at all (rice doesn’t grow up there, so traditional is more barley, karu, buckwheat et al). Yam Bhadur sounds more like a person’s name than that of a vegetable…

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