Photojournalist Taylor Weidman, based out of Mongolia, is founder of the Vanishing Cultures Project. The project is, "...dedicated to documenting endangered cultures, advocating for locally-run preservation projects and helping to fund these projects through donations, book sales and print sales," Weidman says. As part of the project, Weidman and a writer spend four to six months a year with an indigenous group facing rapid cultural change. They create a book documenting the traditions and lifestyles of the communty to, "serve as an enduring record." Last year they spent time in Nepal. "Hidden in the rain shadow of the Himalaya in one of the most remote corners of Nepal lies Mustang, or the former Kingdom of Lo. Hemmed in by the world's highest mountain range to the south and an occupied and shuttered Tibet to the north, this tiny Tibetan kingdom has remained virtually unchanged since the 15th century. Today, Mustang is arguably the best-preserved example of traditional Tibetan life left in the world. But today, Mustang is poised for change. A new highway will connect the region to Kathmandu and China for the first time, ushering in a new age of modernity and altering Mustang's desert-mountain villages forever. [21 photos total]

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1
A group of senior monks gather for a ceremony on a field outside of Lo Manthang. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
2
Dhakmar villagers return to the town after a day of working in the fields. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
3
Villagers of Phuwa load bags of fertilizer onto horses to be taken to the fields. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
4
A young man rides his horse down the Kali Gandaki River valley. The valley is the main conduit into and out of the region, and historically was an important section of the Salt Route connecting Tibet and India. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
5
The King's old palace in Tsarang, viewed from the town's monastery. The palace has not been used in recent years and has begun to fall into disrepair. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
6
A monk leads a horse between the towns of Ghemi and Dhakmar. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
7
A group of Loba men and women gather in the fields outside of Lo Manthang during the planting season. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
8
Elderly women sit in Lo Manthang to spin prayer wheels and pray together. This is a daily communal ritual for most retired Loba. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
9
Loba farmers gather outside of Lo Manthang before a prayer ceremony. It is increasingly common for locals to be seen in western clothing, due to the new road which is nearly completed. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
10
A young monk adjusts his robes. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
11
The winter monastery keeper stands for a portrait in the main hall of the monastery in Tetang. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
12
A Loba woman walks kora (clockwise circumambulations) around the city walls of Lo Manthang. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
13
During the three-day spectacle of the Tiji Festival, monks dress as different animals, demons and divinities to enact an epic fight between good and evil. In the town square of Lo Manthang, a monk dressed as a skeleton performs an ancient dance accompanied by ceremonial Tibetan Buddhist music. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
14
The Tiji Festival, which occurs yearly in the main square of Lo Manthang, features dancers dressed elaborately as animals, demons, and divinities. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
15
At the end of the Tiji festival, members of the king's court gather with their muskets as they prepare to help chase the demon from the city by shooting volley after volley. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
16
An elderly Loba man dresses in his finest for the annual Tiji festival. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
17
Left: Jigme Palbar Bista, the former King of Lo, attends the annual Tiji festival. Right: Loba women wear traditional headdresses called perak for special occasions such as weddings and festivals. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
18
In a staging area inside of the king's palace, a group of monks helps prepare dancers for an upcoming ceremony during the Tiji festival. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
19
A monk walks through the alleyways of Lo Manthang. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
20
Tashi Dolkar Gurung, a Loba woman, removes gravel from rice near the light of a window in her earthen home in Lo Manthang. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #
21
The village of Tangge stands on the edge of a Kali Gandaki tributary. Buildings are packed tightly together to help protect the residents from the strong winds that pick up each afternoon. (Vanishing Cultures Project / Taylor Weidman) #

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