Mystery of the Nepalese cave kingdom




Hidden within the Himalayas, 155ft from the ground, these man-made caves are one of the World's greatest archaeological mysteries.
Thousands of holes are carved into the fragile, sandy-coloured cliff in a gorge so large it dwarfs the Grand Canyon.
The astonishing number of caves, some dug into the cliffside, others tunnelled from above are thousands of years old but who built them and why remains a mystery.

Mystery: Thousands of man-made caves 155ft from the ground lie hidden within the Himilayas in a gorge so large it dwarfs the Grand Canyon


Bizarre: With dozens of holes carved into the fragile, sandy-coloured cliff face this unusual 'neighbourhood in the sky' looks like a giant sandcastle


Dangerous: Climber Cedar Wright explores the series of caves near the village of Tsele
It is also not known how people climbed into the caves which are dug into a cliff 155-foot above the valley floor.
An estimated 10,000 of these mysterious human-built caves have been found in the former Kingdom of Mustang in North, Central Nepal. Those who have seen the mysterious caves say the effect of them on the cliff face makes it look like a giant sandcastle.


Odd: The astonishing number of caves, some dug into the cliffside, others tunnelled from above, are thousands of years old but who built them and why remains a mystery. A scientist scales a fragile rock face to reach the 800-year-old caves, right, while the team hike below some of the entrances, left


Adventure: Climbers and scientists follow a trail above the Kali Gandaki River


High up: Climber Pete Athans looks inside a cave found near Chuksang. It is not known how people climbed into the caves which are dug into a cliff 155foot above the valley floor


Impressive: This image shows eroded murals on the walls of the Ritseling Cave in Upper Mustang. The astonishing number of caves are thousands of years old


Discovery: A scientist enters a maze of rooms in a looted cave near Chuksang, left, while another member of the team hoists himself up at a Mustang cave entrance, right


Exploration: Members of the team do a preliminary survey of a cave


 
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