National Geographic : 1965 Oct
Weather-worn ruins remain where an 11th century fort sheltered a feudal lord and his court. Ocher-painted chortens cluster about the crumbling walls. In the background looms the seldom-photographed northern face of the Himalayas, which walls Mustang off from the rest of Nepal. Pledged to monkhood, the king's grand son plays with a statue of Norchen Kunga Zampo, a founder of Mustang's monasteries. removed. The rammed earth retains the grain of the wood, giving the houses the familiar appearance of molded concrete structures of the West. The king, at his summer palace at Trenkar, had been informed of my coming by a royal messenger who had run with the news from Tsarang, the first Mustang town we had entered (pages 578-9). It was now, with our arrival in the capital, that he sent two Tibetan ponies with silver saddles and elaborate har nesses to take me and Tashi to the palace for an interview-and I had to buy a kata for the occasion. In the dimly lit throne room of the palace, I found 30-odd men, some dressed in rough sheepskins, others in fine silk brocade. This was the court-servants and wealthy nobles 590 who spend most of their day attending the king or deliberating affairs of the small state. To one side, seated cross-legged on a sheep skin rug set upon a wooden throne ornament ed with red and gold painted dragons, sat King Angun Tenzing Trandul-a solemn man of about 65 years (page 580). He wore his long hair in the Tibetan manner, braided and wound tight around his head and held in place by a bright red ribbon. A dark red cloak draped his shoulders. King and Visitor Wait for First Words Silence fell on the assembly as I entered. Pulling out my kata, I bowed deeply before the king, presenting the scarf with a gesture that I hoped reflected "reserve and modesty." The old man smiled and, not saying a word, indicated an orange-carpeted cushion by his side. I took my seat.