Jomsom, which is also known as Dzong-Sampa or New Fort, is a community in Nepal’s Mustang District that is located at a height of around 2700 meters. It stretches along both sides of the Kali Gandaki River. Jomsom is a Nepalese village located in the Annapurna Mountains. It is the headquarters of Nepal’s Mustang district, which is within the Dhawalagiri zone. The town serves as a popular beginning and ending place for treks along the Kali Gandaki River valley, as well as the Jomsom-Muktinath Trek. As part of the Annapurna Circuit, both hikes can be completed. Jomsom is also considered as a gateway to Upper Mustang’s banned Kingdom of Lomanthang. This is where you start your trek or car excursion to the Kingdom of Lo and Mustang area. Foreigners were not allowed to visit Lomanthang until 1992. Mustang rapidly became a popular destination for domestic and international travelers as the culturally and ecologically endowed area opened its doors to the worldwide.
Thousands of visitors visit each year because of the mesmerizing natural beauty, alpine desert-like terrain, and exotic Thakali, Lopa, Gurung, Magar, Tibetan, and a blend of Hindu and Buddhist culture. The Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna foothill hikes pass through the town.It links to lesser-known routes such as the Dhawalagiri Circuit and Upper Dolpo. Jomsom, which is located at an elevation of 2740 meters above sea level inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, offers enough attractions to constitute a destination in and of itself.
There are several adventure and recreation activities available when you are in Jomsom. Here are the five most important things to do in Jomsom that you should not miss. You will not be able to see all of Jomsom if you skip any one of these places.
- Take a side trip to Marpha or Kagbeni: The Marpha and Kagbeni, two historic Mustang villages, are about a two-hour hike from Jomsom in either direction. If you prefer convenience or prefer to go by car, 20 to 30 minutes is plenty to reach these cities that look to be plucked from an antique history book. This beautiful town has stone paved small alleyways, whitewashed stone walls, and flat mud roofs.
- Hike to Dhumba Lake in day: Among the rugged terrains and scattered pine trees, there lies a mystical hidden lake called Dhumba Lake. This crystal blue and tranquil lake, located 5.5 kilometers from Jomsom, is an ideal day hiking option when in Jomsom. This lake is about a 2-hour drive from Jomsom. To get to the trailhead, turn right from the bus stop, cross the Kaligandaki wooden bridge, and look for the Dhumba Lake marker.
- Apple Shopping: Mustang is regarded by Nepalese as a kingdom of fresh, delicious organic apples. Apple orchards abound in the villages surrounding Jomsom, with delicious apples ready to eat right from the tree. You are free to purchase as much as you can carry. Visit the apple farms in Marpha depending on the season you’re in Mustang and try a variety of apple products such as fresh apples, dried apples, apple brandy, and apple juice.
- Mountain Biking and Rock Climbing: Other than trekking, Jomsom offers a variety of adventure activities for adrenaline enthusiasts. Jomsom and its environs are suitable for mountain riding because of the barren hills and arid terrains connected by road. Downhill running, uphill cycling, or simply easy biking along the Kaligandaki River’s banks will provide you with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.Or if you want to have climbing experience, Jomsom has several great vertical rock climbing walls. Natural near-vertical cliffs provide the challenge of mounting a mountain at a considerably lower height, with far less hazards and expenses than mountain climbing. A climbing cliff is located directly outside the airport and is primarily used by military for practice.
- Excursion into Thakali’s Culture: Mustang is more than just a place for adventure and hiking. It’s also about Mustang’s unusual culture and customs, as well as warm hospitality and genuine smiles. To fully experience Jomsom as it is, meet with locals, talk to them, and live their lives for a time. In September, Jomsom hosts a one-of-a-kind Yartung festival, which showcases the people, cuisine, and way of life of the Thakali, Gurung, and Lopa ethnic groups.Jomsom also includes a Mustang Eco Museum where visitors can learn about the native group’s history, architecture, and culture. This is the place to go if you enjoy learning about local art, history, culture, and artifacts around Mustang. Mustang’s villages and cities are visually and culturally distinct from the rest of Nepal.In this region, Tibetan Buddhist religions affect culture, customs, languages, and people’s clothing. As you climb altitude, the lifestyle at lower elevations changes dramatically. While you’re in Jomsom, take advantage of the cultural diversity and depth.
Moreover, Jomsom is one of the most beautiful and most visited places in Nepal which is full of natural beauty and spectular views. You will forget everything else and you will be lost in the beauty and peace here in Jomsom. So, visit such a god’s grandeur place as soon as possible. Jomsom is not less than a heaven and mostly considered as heaven on Earth.
By: Saru Niraula for Land Nepal