One big change now is that the few local primary schools that did exist are now all closed. With increased income, locals prefer to send their children to Jomsom, Pokhara or even Kathmandu. Even so, education and exposure to the wider world has given Mustang’s youngsters a deeper understanding of the value of their cultural and natural heritage.
Also adding to the exposure is the interaction with tourists, who come to Mustang to admire its unique cultural heritage and stunning scenery. This has allowed locals to realise that they are worth preserving, and has contributed to restoring pride in their way of life.
However, development comes at a cost. With the road, there is now pressure on the region’s fragile ecology. Haphazard road construction has triggered landslides, and added sediment to the rivers. Drainage has been disrupted, creating water shortages as springs go dry. Climate breakdown has exacerbated this crisis.