Surreal deserts of Upper Mustang beyond mid hills and snowcapped peaks are a far cry from the lush greenery Nepal is known to possess and the high mountains that we’re told dominate the country’s skyline. Sandy and rugged terrains are complemented by its rich history and otherworldly cultures, largely drawing influence from Tibet to the north. Formerly a kingdom, Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarized area until 1992. Trekkers far and wide visit Upper Mustang every year and are unwittingly bedazzled by massive cliffs and colourful soils, ruins of ancient villages and caves thousands of years old, and for a lucky few, the elusive snow leopard prowling in strong head winds. These photographs of Upper Mustang, captured by professional photographer Anuj D. Adhikary on a climate change research trip, provide a glimpse into the Forbidden Kingdom.