Modern life has begun creeping into the Lo way of life, but very few people are nostalgic about the past. When Nepal became a republic, the Kingdom of Lo was abolished, and the royal family fell from power in 2008. Prince Jigme Singhe Palbar Bista, who used to reign over this region in Upper Mustang from an ancient palace, now lives in an apartment as a common citizen in Kathmandu. But according to him, life has become better now because of the modernization of this part of Nepal. He says that due to the altitude, crops can only be grown once a year, and only a few animals could survive. There wasn’t enough for everybody. Now, people ate from cups and plates, had Bluetooth speakers, cellphones, and other modern amenities that people now regularly took for granted, like processed sugar.
The opening up of the Forbidden Kingdom has had some serious implications to the Loba people’s way of life. For one, they now had the desire to obtain and use money. Before, legal tender didn’t even exist. Many families are now migrating in search of an easier life. Parents, who used to dedicate their second sons to the ascetic life as a monk of the oldest strain of Tibetan Buddhism, are now choosing career over religion. Nepal’s other cities are becoming more attractive locales for the Loba people, and their lifestyles are evolving.