MYAGDI, Dec 29: With the locals of mountainous Mustang moving to lowlands of late in order to escape the biting cold, most villages in the district have worn a deserted look.
Following heavy snowfall in the villages of upper Mustang, normal life was thrown out of gear. The villagers would have moved to the lowlands a month earlier but they stayed in their villages for longer this year in order to participate in the recently concluded parliamentary and provincial elections. But it's hard to find people in Dalome and Lomanthang Rural Municipalities of upper Mustang these days. Most of the houses are padlocked. Only the elderly citizens, shepherds and cattle are found in the houses.
According to Chief District Officer (CDO) Jitendra Balami, even the government offices have been shifted to the district headquarters Jomsom due to cold. "But we have deployed enough security personnel in the villages who will ensure the safety of the remaining villagers," Balami said. Area Administration Office, the police station of Choser and the other police stations of both the rural municipalities have been shifted to Jomsom for two months.
Most of the house owners leave their homes under the security of house sitters and shepherds for two months in the winter. The temperature is slowly dipping to minus which is taking its toll on normal lives, according to the locals.
With most of the hotels and lodges shut down, tourism has also been affected. The cold wave blowing from Tibet makes it difficult for the locals to survive especially during mornings and evenings. In winter, villages witness about 3 feet of snow or even more. While many locals shelter in the lowlands in winter, some even reach to India and other parts of the country like Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan among others for business purpose.
Selling Tibetan goods and products is one of the major occupations of the people here. During this time, some of them even earn money which is enough for the rest of the year.