PARBAT, Nov 9 : Most of villages in the Upper Mustang are almost empty these days. This is due to the seasonal migration.
As the winter season sets in in Upper Mustang, people start packing their luggage and moving to warmer areas in the lower valleys. The Upper Mustang folks temporarily migrate to the lower valleys to avoid the biting cold. They will at least reside in lower areas for at least four months. They have been routinized for the winter migration with the arrangements of logistics to make an escape from an adverse weather.
During the course of travel, they reach various parts of the country and engage in mobile business for livelihood.
Myanmi Gurung of Chhonhup has arrived in Kushma of Parbat for trade as part of the seasonal migration. Almost all except aged people have left the village with the beginning of winter. They have brought locally-made garments and local spices and herbs for a sale.
Agricultural production is limited in Upper Mustang. Cultivation of limited crops like barely, wheat, buckwheat and potatoes is done at a moderate scale there, said Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) project Chief Santosh Sherchan. They complete the harvest by the second week of October so that they could leave the village before the winter takes its toll on them.
Jhyali Gurung of Chhoser said settlements in Upper Mustang are like desert lands these days. People of Lomanthang, Ghami, Chhoser, Surkhang and Chhonhup do business of goods entered the country via the Korala transit point on the Nepal-Tibet border and locally produced commodities.
Only those people who are unable to leave their homes due to various reasons including health and age issues remain in the villages.
Schools based in the Upper Mustang also run mobile classes in several places of Pokhara targeting the (temporarily) migrated children.
In this season, an individual from Upper Mustang earns from Rs 200 thousand to Rs 500 thousand from the mobile trade. They return home by purchasing daily essentials including foodstuffs sufficient for summer from such income. They travel to Parbat, Myagdi, Baglung, Kaski, Gorkha, Tanahu and other parts of the country in course of the mobile trade.
Lomanthang-based National Basic School has said it has been preparing to run mobile classes in Pokhara. As Mustang Chief District Officer, Ganga Bahadur Chhetri said the Mustang folks do not hesitate to do any sorts of business either it is a big or a small one during the winter migration.