A Himalayan Shangri-La that was closed to visitors until 1992, the former Buddhist kingdom of Upper Mustang in Nepal is facing unprecedented change as a new highway brings modernity to the roof of the world.
Kerosene lamps have given way to solar panels, denim sneakers have replaced hand-stitched cowhide boots and satellite dishes are taking over the rooftops of homes dotted across the region, which borders Tibet.
The former kingdom’s days as a cultural time capsule are numbered – and change cannot come soon enough for young people like Tsewang Norbu Gurung, who lives in its walled capital, Lo Manthang.
“I remember when Nepali TV first came here, less than 10 years ago. We used to pay 20 rupees (70 sen) for a three-hour sitting in someone’s house,” says Gurung. Read more