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For both Hindus and the Buddhists, Muktinath is the sacred shrine for prayers. The temple is located in the Muktinath valley at an elevation of 3710m. The temple is at the foothills of Thorong La in Mustang. For Hindus, it is called Mukti Kshetra, space where one attains Mukti or liberation. The Vaishnava sect believes that this temple comes under the Divya Desam. In Vaishnava scriptures, many mentioned about this temple as Thiru Saligramam. The other natural manifestation of Lord Vishnu is Saligram Shila, and it is present organically in Muktinath. It is equally important for the Buddhists as well, because guru Padmasambhava meditated for many years. Whereas the Tibetan Buddhists believe that this space is famous for Tantric practices. The pilgrims, who go for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, decide to go for Muktinath visit to complete the journey of pilgrimage.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Meal: – L/D
Distance: – around 25 minutes
Mode of Transport: – private car
After arrival at the airport, you will be picked up by our drivers to drop you at the respective hotels. There you will be briefed the entire tour itinerary of Muktinath visit. In the evening, you can go to the local market visit. Stay overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.
Meal: – B/L/D
Altitude: – 1400m
Distance: – 205km (6 hours)
Mode of Transport: – bus coach
After breakfast, you will be driving to Pokhara. On the way, you will be visiting Manakamana temple by cable car.
The beautiful shrine of Manakamana is located in the district of Gorkha devoted to the goddess Bhagwati. This goddess is another form of Parvati. It is believed that the god fulfills the wished of the devotees after visiting this shrine. In the local folklore, it was said that the queen of Ram Shah took rebirth in the form of goddess Bhagwati. It is believed when the pilgrims visit the shrine they should carry at least one of materials like vermillion, almond and saffron, flowers, incense sticks, oil lamp, pure piece of cloth, fruits and foods, bell, betel nut, and Janai, a handful of rice or red cloth for worshipping.
After offering prayers, you will be going to Pokhara. This city is located on the lake of Phewa. It is also known as the tourism capital of Nepal. Most of the adventure sports lovers go to this place to explore exciting sports over there. You will get the glimpse of snow covered peak and the beautiful valley as the amazing sight to look at. You can admire the beauty of Himalayas closely. You can also go for local place visits like Mahendra cave, Davis Falls, or boating at the Phewa Lake. From the lake, you will get a spectacular view reflection of Annapurna Mountains and Fishtail on the water of the lake. Those who go for Annapurna trekking, make their base camp over here. You will stay overnight at Pokhara.
Meal: – B/L/D
Altitude: – Jomsom- 2743m; Muktinath Temple – 3710m
Distance: -158km (20 minutes flight)
Mode of Transport: – flight and then walking to the hotel
Early in the morning, you will be flying to Jomsom. You will take only 20 minutes to reach Jomsom. The hotels are located around the airport, therefore; you will have to walk for only 5 minutes. From there you will be to the jeep station to board car for Muktinath. You will be driving through the villages of Ekle Bhatti, Kagbeni and Jharkot to reach the village called Rani Pauwa. You will take around 2 hours to reach Rani Pauwa. From there, you will have to walk for 10-15 minutes to reach Muktinath temple.
This temple is located at an elevation of 3710m in the district of Mustang; it is a sacred place for both the Buddhists and the Hindus. It is one of the eight places considered holy as Svayam Vyakta Kshetras. You will worship Lord Vishnu in the main sanctum of the temple. It is also one of the 51sites for Shakti peetha. In the garbhagriha, you will find out the golden statue of Shri Mukti Narayana. You will also find out the bronze images of Earth goddess or Bhoodevi. Additionally, you will also find out the temple shrine dedicated to Sita, Saraswati, Garuda, Sapta Rishi, and Lava Kusha. Swami Narayan also performed penance in this space for Surya Dev. After the constant dedication, Surya Deva appeared as celestial being in front of Swami Narayan on Prabodhini Ekadashi.
On the way to Tibet, Guru Rinpoche also meditated here for many days. Behind the temple, there were 108 stone faucets shaping like the head of bull placed at a height of seven feet flow the water of Kali Gandaki. The pilgrims find this as great virtue to get the water.
You will also find out the riverbed of Kali Gandaki nearby. It is the source of Shaligram Shila stones which are worshiped all across as the form of Lord Vishnu. This stone is of spiritual significance among the Hindus. After the temple visit, you will go to Mebar Lha Gomba, a small monastery located at the entrance gate of the temple. This monastery of “miraculous fire” is dedicated to Guru Rimpoche. You will also find out the deity of Chenrezig. Inside the shrine, you will find out the burning of natural gas fire. The Hindus worship it as Jwala Mai, goddess of fire. It is believed that Brahma made this miracle fire as an offering. After the temple visit, you will be coming back to Rani Pauwa for lunch. You will stay overnight at Jomsom.
Meal: – B/L/D
Mode of Transport: – 20 minutes flight (flight then bus coach)
After breakfast, you will be flying back to Pokhara. You can go for the rest of the sightseeing tour around Pokhara. You can also come back to Kathmandu.
Meal: – B/L/D or only Breakfast if you are leaving on that day
Mode of Transport: – Bus coach or private car
Today you can spend the entire day for the sightseeing around the capital city. You can go for Pashupatinath Darshan along with Swayambhunath, and Budhanilkantha.
Else you can be dropped at the airport by our driver to board the homebound flight.
1:- Muktinath Temple Yatra by Road
I already stated that we must be at Pokhara for Mukthinath. From Pokhara you have to move or drive around 100 km for Beni (headquarter of Myagdi District, Nepal), the road is asphalted till here and it takes approx. 2 and a half hrs by bus. After that, it takes almost 7-8 hrs to complete 70km for Jomsom. Because the road condition is not good at all. Night time, take a rest at Joomsom. Next day, early in the morning catch a four-wheel drive and ride-in it till 2 hrs towards Ranipauwa and take a brief hike to Muktidham Temple. Pokhara to jomsom jeep fare is about 700 rs per person, but the price may reduced at near-future after improvement of roadway.
It is very difficult to book the ticket on the spot from unmanaged Bus park of Beni to Jomsom. Because either you have to wait longer time or you must have to know local people, who are related to transportation. Hope local pundit, officials and people do manage it very soon. So, it will be better if you do reserve the vehicles.
2:- Muktinath Temple Yatra by Flight plus ground vehicles.
Those people who don’t have enough time, this is the wise and best practice for Mukthinath Darshan. Because it is possible to have a scenic airlift from Pokhara to Jomsom and vice versa. Within a short period you can approach the target, normally it takes 15-20 mins via domestic airways. After landing at the airport, catch vehicles and head towards Ranipauwa, nearby Muktinath Temple. It takes 1.5 hrs to arrive Rani-Pauwa and again walk 30 min to get into main Mandir.
Another good news is that those people who are unable to walk simply they can hire a horse or motorcycle from Ranipawa for Muktinath Darshan. Bikes are known as “Mundrae Yatayat”, the name given by Visitors. Actually, these facilities are usually applied to older, over-weight (Fat) and disabled people. Anyway, we can see many younger people also do prefer to ride it for fun.
Remember that, In Jomsoom area after 12 am, it automatically turns in to the windy environment, so often a flight is operated in morning phase only. After carrying out ritual performance or visit, it is possible to return back to Jomsom same day.
Note: There exists a strict weight boundary on this flight journey – maximum 5kg for hand carry and max 10kg for checked-in baggage and price are vary according to the season. It can be delayed too if weather condition is not favorable, so try to adjust and calm, because mountains climate changes frequently.
Do any permits are necessary to visit Muktinath Temple?
Yes, it is vital to secure entrance authorization. Because Muktikshetra lies in the area of Annapurna Conservation Project. You need to acquire ACAP permit and Trekkers Info Management System’s TIMS card to visit this zone. You can receive it at Kathmandu and Pokhara. For more detail information please visit permits in Nepal.
Do you feel hesitate to run here and there? Or do you prefer easiness and safety? Don’t worry, to make you worry-free and for your security, you can find many tour operator or agencies in the market, just tell them when and where you want to go. They can and will manage everything for you. Remember that different companies or agencies have a different rate, means some are costly and some are cheap too. Even they provide same facilities and safety & security to their clients. But qualities may vary with different companies, but it doesn’t mean cheap holds low quality. Just be careful of fake and unlicensed agencies or companies.
Requirements: 4 passport sized photos (must be with clean background), as well as a photocopy of your original passport, is indispensable to obtain necessary permits for Muktinath Yatra Trip.
Major Highlights of Muktinath Temple Tour?
Being great Pilgrimage yatra site, Muktikshetra holds many faiths based attraction related to Hinduism and Buddhism Path. However, Muktinathdham is not only limited to the devotional spell, because it lies in the area of world’s famous trekking destination called Annapurna Region. Nepal is highly rich in cultural and Nature’s aspect, so definitely this area also holds those charming properties. Muktinath Temple lies in the Mustang district, itself a great and well-known region in the world where we can still able to see ancient Buddhist civilization.
Jomsom Muktinath Trek is short and sweet for non-veteran adventurous people, so trekking is the best idea to take a taste of the hidden treasures of Himalaya, anyway. The trail transmits through low land’s picturesque villages, natural hot spring, lush forests, waterfalls etc. to the cool barren landscape of the Himalayas. Some of the major attraction of Mukthinath temple and its premises are specified below:
1: Lord Shaligram Stone:
I had already stated about the myth behind rare Salagrama Shila. It is a naturally fossilized dark and smooth shiny stone that is only available on the bank of Kali Gandaki river of Muktikshetra in Nepal. Moreover, it is recognized as sacred by Hindu people and they respect it as an icon of Lord Vishnu. Hinduism follower often uses it to worship in the prayers room and or in the Temple. Fossilised ammonite can be found in other countries too, but you can see the difference in quality if you do compare with Shaligram. You can even notice some metallic stuff inside it, but it is not applied on every Shilas. There are different types of Salagrama stone with different shapes and marks, the devotee has given different names according to the structures and figures that can be found in it. Symbols are arranged in different order to worship diverse avatar (incarnation) of Lord Bishnu.
Padmaa, Sankha, Chakra, and Gadaa – denotes the icon of Vishnu.
Shankha, Chakra, Gadha, and Padma – represents to sign of Damodar.
2: 108 Mukti Dhara:
There are hundred and eight waterspouts, behind the Muktinath temple. Having the spiritual journey to Muktinath and rinsing yourself in this taps is an excellent tactic to detox your soul. Those waterspouts (Dhara) are actually spelled as “Muktidhara”. You can see the continuously flowing of water from the Bulls mouth, which is extremely cold. We can notice the power of the faith here, that many pilgrims take bath without worrying the coldness. It is also said that sacred water gets generated from thousand seeping points (Sahasra Mool) and joined to form 108 spouts.
Water spout Beside Muktinath
There are 2 pools (Kund), just in front of the main Muktinath Temple, named Saraswati and Laxmi Kunda. That was built to accumulate the water of 108 taps. Those people who are unable to take a bath in waterspouts directly, they dip here to earn virtue. In response to Hindu astrology, one hundred eight is the product of nine planets and twelve zodiacs (9*12=108). Remember that, it is also a sacred number in Hinduism. Thus it is believed that taking shower in this taps will remove the negative impacts (sin) and helps us to make positive changes in our life.
Muktinath temple and its area (kshetra) are also highly valued by Shawaminarayan sect, a part of Hinduism followers. Lord Shri Swami Narayana is recognized as Satguru (master) of Sabij yoga. Being as part of Sanatana Dharma, many Nepalese and Gujarati people in India do follow and hearty respect his path. At the end of 17th century, a boy named as Ghanshyam Pandae left his home at 11 years old and directed to Pulhashram, after the death of his parents. He met Yogi Gopal in Nepal, while on the way and mastered in Nirbij yoga too and shared his knowledge with him. Later, he performed difficult penance for 2 and a half months and achieved a high degree of enlightenment in Nishkamvrat at Mukthinath. He is also famous for calling Sadhu Nilkanth Surjadas. In 2003 AD his disciples built a new barrier around the Chumig Gyatsa temple and elevated his memorial sculpture at Muktinath Dham.
Note: Formerly, Muktinath kshetra was also known as Pulhashram, the sacred place was honored in the name of Pulha Risi (son of deity Brahma) after the completion of his penance in this zone.
4:- Jwalaji Temple:
Simply, this is a sacred site exactly where flames escalate from the ground. Actually, this point is considered as a holy site for lord Bishnu and Shiva, who represents water and fire respectively. Many Hindu pilgrims after carrying out worship at the Muktinath Temple, moves towards the nearby monastery complex to worship a Jwala Mai (goddess of Fire) sanctuary. Also known as Salamebar Dholamebar Gompa by Buddhism follower.
For the Buddhists, Jwalaji is regarded as the most sacred site in Muktikshetra. Because this is the exact place which has the historic relation with Guru Rinpoche, who had mediated here. Inside this Gumba you can see three eternal natural gas fire. The local people specify it as sale-Mewar, do-mebar, and cla-Mewar, a mysterious site from where the fire flames come out from the earth, rock, and water respectively. Hindus assume it as miracle created by Lord Brahma.
Jwala ji Gompa
Many experts’ claims that many years ago it was the real and main pilgrimage spot for Hindus in Muktikshetra. Though we can’t see any activities of Hindu priest of the main shrine over here. But later when the shrine of Muktinath was erected with the figurine of Mukti Narayan inside it, then fresh temple turned out to be the central attraction of the spiritual traveler.
After heading towards Muktinath temple from Jomsom, on the way you will notice a Kagbeni village dominated by Red Gompas. This place is also termed as a sacred place of Muktikshetra. The word Kag-Beni is an abbreviation form of Kaligandaki Sangam, where Ka denotes Kali, Ga represents Gandaki and Beni (sangama) means confluence of 2 rivers (Krishna or kali-Gandaki and Kaag or Jhong River). This place is famous for Pitri Tirtha, means a holy place to respect ancestor’s spirit. According to legend, Sage Kak-Bhusandu conducted penance at Tilicho Lake. During austerity, he felt very hot and came down to take bath in Kagkhola (a watercourse flows via Muktinath), thus this place is known as Kagbeni.
After having ritual performance in this holy spot, it is said that the departed soul of ancestors will have a fruitful afterlife, means they will easily reach heaven. Many Hindu pilgrims from a different corner of Nepal and India arrive here to perform the memorial ceremony (Sraddha) of their ancestral spirits and after they head to Muktinath Temple. We can see a large number of people over here, especially on Dashain festival period (during Sorha Shradda).
6:- Muktinath Temple:
No doubt, this is the key attraction of Muktikshetra. The sanctuary which is usually accepted as the chief shrine is constructed in Nepalese pagoda Style, with the metallic idol of Muktinarayan inside. In accordance with the inscription, the temple got its modern form in the 18th century and has 3 layers of the copper rooftop. Formerly, its architect was in local style, with the rounded roof of clay. There are few other statues of Garuda, Laxmi, Saraswati and other Buddhist deities are also available to see inside the temple of Muktinath. Many devotees arrive here during the events like Yartung, Janai Purnima, Ramnawami, and so on.
7:- Narsingh Monastery:
In fact, it is a Buddhist monastery, Hindus equally have been worshipping the deity of this Gompa as the Narasimha avatar of Lord Bishnu. Nar means Human and Singha denotes to Lion, i.e. Humanoid Lion. So it is also known as Narsingh Monastery. Anyway, local Buddhist people call it the temple of 1000 lamp (Mharme Lha Khang Gompa), this monastery holds the large clay statue of Padmasambhava and his mate Tibetan Tantric Deity known for “Dag Po” in the right-hand side and “Seng Dong” in the left-hand side. Both his mate’s statue is in annoyed form. A lion-faced one is Guru Sengdong (known as Narsimha), he is considered an obstacle remover and next Guru Dragpo is thought as a protector as well as a master of death (also Known as Vajra Bhairab).
Local folks, also do believe that Guru sculpted himself in wet clay once he ended meditation right here, before moving onto to the Tibet. Mukthinath kshetra seems to have played a vital role in keeping religious harmony between Buddhists and Hindus. It is assumed that both Muktinath Temple and Narsingha Gompa are of same age too.
Best time to visit Muktinath Temple of Nepal.
Being in high elevation and rain shadow area of gigantic Himalaya, Mukthinath area always remains cold and dry. The weather and climate seems somewhat similar to Tibetan plateau. Springtime (March, April, and May) and the autumn season (Sept, Oct, and Nov) are the best time for Muktinath Nepal Tour. Altho Muktidham Yatra can be done in winter period too if you can face extreme cold. In spring, the temperature range is fairly moderated, and in this time rhododendrons bloom completely plus outlook of massifs are perfect, it is possible to have 360-degree views of huge snowcapped mountains.
Generally, the fall season is considered as the peak season for the tourism sector in Nepal. The trekking and hiking trails are usually filled with adventurers. The climate conditions are quite perfect throughout the country. The monsoon rain cleaned out the pollutions of the environment and reward us by means of mega festivals and clean environment. The sky goes to blue and dazzling Himalaya starts to smile. So, autumn is the Grade A time to visit Muktinath Temple.
Best time to visit Nepal with Weather
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It is possible but not a wise practice to visit Mukthinath Nepal in summer season (June, July, and August). Because it’s a time of monsoon and flight cancelation or delay are common in this period also if you want to travel via roadway, landslide may create a problem on the way. If you want to do trekking in rain shadow area like Upper Mustang, Dolpo etc it is suitable climate, because you can’t see monsoon effect in this area.
Note: Never forget to carry face-mask and sunglass, because normally in Jomsom and Muktinath you have to face cold wind which may carry dust & sands, even sometimes it makes difficult to walk. But don’t worry it’s not a hurricane.