Muktinath Tour: Introduction
Muktinath Temple, a famous pilgrimage for both Buddhist lies on the foothills of Thorang-la Pass (5416m) Mountain pass at the altitude of 3750 m in the Mustang district of Nepal. For Hindus, it is dedicated to the god of salvation (Mukti) who freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth according to Hindu’s belief. Muktinath Tour is also a sacred pilgrimage for the Hinduism followers. The pagoda style small temple was built in 19th century as a Vishnu Temple and it is popularly known as Mukti-chhetra, a place of liberation from the natural cycle of the life. Muktinath temples also fall on the way to the high mountain pass of Thorang-la pass at 5416m which divides two districts of Nepal Manang and Mustang.
Muktinath temple also falls under the way of famous Round Annapurna Trek and Kaligandaki Valley Trek. Muktinath Temple is a popular place where Shaligram (ammonite/fossils) found on the bank of Kali Gandaki River during your visit. This Shaligram is considered by Hindus as a reincarnation of the Lord Vishnu in the form of holy stone. Similarly, to build a Vishnu Temple Hindus must need this Shaligram. This temple is surrounded by Annapurna Range Mountains on the South Part and the superb view of Nilgiri mountain ranges with semi-deserted surrounding very similar to Tibetan plateau.
Muktinath Tour, Religious Importance for Buddhist :
Muktinath means “The god of Nirvana” for Buddhist. Tibetan Buddhists gave the name for this temple Chumig Gyatsa which means hundreds of waters. They also called this temple is a place of Dakinis (Tantric priestess of ancient India) which means goddesses that known as sky dancers. For Buddhists, this place is one of 24 important tantric places. Guru Padmasambhava had mediated in this place which shows its religious importance for Buddhist. There is a statue of Padmasambhava and Chenrezig in the monastery nearby ( Dhola Mebar Gompa)Muktinath Temple where there is famous Jwala Mai (Goddess of Fire) Temple.
Muktinath Trekking – The best Trekking for the people seeking Adventures:
If you want to cross one of the highest mountain passes of the world that divides two districts of Nepal Manang and Mustang then you can start this Muktinath trekking from the Muktinath Temple of Mustang district or from Chame from Manang district. From Muktinath Temple, the way to the top of Thorang-La Mustang is the long journey of 5/6 hours to cross the altitude of 5416m. Muktinath temple falls between the way of Annapurna Circuit Trek. After crossing Thorang La Pass, many trekkers arrived in Muktinath where they take a rest for a day before heading to Jomsom or Pokhara. There is access to the direct motor-able road that connects the Muktinath temple to Pokhara or via Kathmandu.
Attractions of Muktinath Temple and Surrounding Area:
108 Mukti Dhara
It is an auspicious water spout behind the Muktinath Temple. It is believed that taking a holy bath in these water spout give salvation (Mukti). The source of this waterspouts is Kali Gandaki and it flows continuously throughout the year.
There are two holy water ponds (Kunda) in front of the Muktinath temple. Many believers take holy bath in this pond before entering to the main temple. Hindu devotees believe that the water of these holy lakes washes away the sins that performed in their life.
Jwala Mai Temple and Dhola Mehar Gompa
Jwala Mai Temple and Dhola Mehar Gompa are located in the same place in a walking distance of 5 minutes away from Muktinath Temple. Jwala Mai is represented to the goddess of fire, a continuously burning flame inside Dhola Mehar Gompa is considered to be burnt for a long time. There are two statues of Cherezi and Guru Padmasambhava inside the Jwala Mai Temple.
Thorang-La Mountain Pass and Manag District
Thorang-La Mountain pass is located at the altitude of 5416m, a trekking distance of 4-6 hours from Muktinath Temple. Many trekkers, who started their trek from Manang district High Camp at 4700 m arrived in Muktinath temple normally after 4 hours crossing Thorang-La Pass. It is a magnificent mountain pass surrounded by Annapurna Himalayan Ranges. For the trekkers, it gives feelings of joy and adventures with nature for adventures seekers. Manang is a beautiful mountain valley in the front of Gangapurna Mountain Range surround by Annapurna and Tilicho Mountains. Many of the trekkers stay here for acclimatization before crossing Thorang-La Mountain Pass and visit Ice Lake or Gangapurna View Point.
How to reach the Muktinath Temple?
From Annapurna Circuit Trek that ends to Muktinath
To accomplish a complete thrill of trekking Annapurna Circuit Trek is the best option to arrive at Muktinath. It takes normally 7 days to 12 days to complete the Annapurna Circuit Trek via Manang district. The best seasons are March-June and September-December. It is leveled as strenuous trekking area in Annapurna.
From flight or road Transportation
There are two options for a flight to Muktinath Temple. One is by an airplane that starts from Pokhara, a 35 minutes scenic flight from Pokhara ends at Jomsom Airport and from Jomsom airport, the distance to Muktinath temple is 2 hours by jeep. The second option is a Helicopter flight from Pokhara or Kathmandu. There are not regular helicopter services available from both of the airport, however; if you book in advance then it would be the best option.
To reach Muktinath Temple from the roadway you need to cover the distance of 376 km from Kathmandu. The regular bus services are available for Jomsom from Kathmandu and if you start it from Pokhara than either you can hire a jeep or regular bus services are available from Baglung Bus Park in Pokhara to cover the distance of 176 kilometers. Hotels and Tea Houses lodges are easily available with minimum facility of bread, breakfast, lunch, and good foods on both sides of Manag and Mustang.
It is your own choice to choose any medium of transportation, however; if you visit the temple in monsoon June-September during monsoon then there are more chances of landslides and there are chances of roadblocks. Think about your next adventure or pilgrimage holiday in Nepal. It would be a rare chance to accomplish a trekking to Thorang-La Mountain Pass with Tilicho Lake pass or maybe a visit worth to theses place provides you a kind of salvation from your hectic time schedule.