Mustang Caves

Useful Information

(29.216759, 84.079768)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave House
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Mustang Caves.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1990s explored by archaeologists from Nepal and the University of Cologne, Germany.
1996 inscribed on the UNESCO WHL Tentaive List.
2007 explorers from the United States, Italy and Nepal discover Buddhist art, manuscripts and pottery in caves near Lo Manthang.
2010 a team of mountaineers and archaeologists uncovers 27 human remains in the two biggest caves near Samdzong.


The Sky Caves of Nepal or Mustang Caves are some 10,000 man-made caves dug into the sides of valleys all around the northern border of the Province. They use a certain layer of softer rock, which is often high in the cliff face. It seems the original inhabitants had some kind of ladders or ropes to get there, but as they are uninhabited they are gone. As a result it is quite difficult to visit such caves, although they are virtually everywhere.

Jhong Cave in Chhoser, Upper Mustang, is an exception, a staircase was built to access a group of caves. The caves are connected inside the rock forming multi-storied structures. Jhong Cave has five levels which are connected by ladders and a total of 45 rooms. A skylight provides natural light and ventilation. This site is some distance from the next village and is visited only by trekking tours and by pilgrims.

The caves are estimated to be 2,500 years old, though it is impossible to date the voids. It was estimated from remains found inside the cave, especially partially mummified human bodies and skeletons. Also, valuable Buddhist paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and artifacts from the 12th to 14th century were found. So the cave were most luikely built in three phases. The first caves were dug 3,000 BP as burial caves. During the 10th century, as a result of numerous battles in the area, the people started to build cave houses for safety. Around the 14th century the people moved back to villages and the caves were used by buddhist monks as meditation chambers and hermitages.

A collection of beads, bones, pendants, and ceramic vessels found at the burial caves can be found at the ground floor of the Mustang Eco Museum. It is located about 15 minutes walk from Jomsom airport. The museum also houses musical instruments, costumes and mannequins that reflect the culture of Mustang. On the upper floor is the Herbal Medicine section with herbs found in Mustang and Dolpo.