Muktinath Temple is one of the sacred place for Hinduism and Buddhism which lies 18 km northeast of Jomsom. It is about 170 km from the Pokhara city of Gandaki province and lies at the foot of the Thorang la pass for Annapurna Circuit Trek in Muktinath valley. This famous lord BISHNU shrine is at an altitude of 3800 m from sea level of Mustang district in Gandaki Province. It is one of temple lying at highest altitude in the world.
Muktinath is made by Sanskrit word of ‘MUKTI’ and ‘NATH’ which is translated as ‘the salvation area of gods’. The legends say that lord Vishnu got free from the curse of Sati in this region. Hence Muktinath is one of the holiest place in Nepal. Muktinath is one of the 108th sacred place of Vaishnava commonly called as Shakti Peeth; the absolute place for atonement. The Muktinath temple is made up of pagoda style and is dedicated to lord Vishnu. There are 108 stone water spouts which are believed to be the place for liberation so pilgrims take a holy bath in this pond.
The Buddhist call this temple as Chumig Gyatsa which translate to “Hundred waters” in Tibetan. It is one of the 24 tantric places of Buddhism and home of the goddess Dakini known as sky dancers.The Buddhist claims the idol to be the Avalokitesvara who embodies the compassion of Buddhism. Buddhist people come here to pay homage to the eternal flame burning here which is locally known here as Jwaladevi which lies 100 m south of the temple.
Muktinath temple lies in the upper Bhote region of Mustang district. This place lies at a perfect location where visitors can enjoy serene beauty of nature and a perfect aroma of the religious belief and culture in this place. The green hills, serene natural beauty, the snowcapped magnificent mountain peaks, beautiful orchards along the way and with the ethnic people of rich cultural values, norms and tradition gives this place a touch of Shangri la.
The Muktinath area has many significant place of visit. Pilgrimage can see the deepest gorge i.e. Kaligandaki Gorge, beautiful Jomsom City, Apple Garden of Marpha and the holy kagbeni river where one can find shaligram stone; the substantial personification of lord Vishnu. Similarly there are numerous temples and stupas on the way where visitors can enjoy and various culture traditions of the local people.
Muktinath area lies at the Bhote region of mustang district which has alpine climatic condition. The temperature ranges from mild hot to cold during winter. This area have a ranging temperature condtion throughout the year. Muktinath is all round accessible but based on the easiness of visit, the season can be categorized as:
AUTUMN: (SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER)
Autumn is considered as best season to visit Muktinath. There are various festival lying within these months and being a religious site it is absolute to say the trail will be full of pilgrimage and visitors. The temperature ranges from 14-18`C in autumn. Because of moderate trail walk and monsoon rain clearing all pollution, the environment will be absolutely clean and blue sky with snowcapped mountain gives your visit worth and momentful.
SPRING: (MARCH, APRIL, MAY)
Spring is also preferred season for visit this shrine. Temperature ranges from 8 -16`C and the moderately climate condition gives this season a second premium of visit. The environment looks lushly green, bluish clear sky and beautiful wild flower with rhododendron”the national flower” blossoms everywhere giving this place an absolute touch of heaven in this time. The rugged mountain peaks are covered with snow and the clean and vicious water flows through the various river on the way which makes the visit worth.
SUMMER: (JUNE, JULY AND AUGUST)
Summer is also preferable season to visit Muktinath. The temperature ranges from 14-18`C. This is the rainy season but the trek to muktinath can be beautiful and adventurous. However travel to muktinath by road sometimes may get difficult because of landslide. Similarly, the airline service sometime may get cancelled due to climatic condition. But on the other hand the trek to muktinath after rain can be so beautiful and momentful as visitor can witness lushly green hills, snowcapped mountains with the clear blue sky.
WINTER: (DECEMBER, JANUARY AND FEBRUARY)
Winter season is however a difficult season to visit but it is accessible via flight. The trails will be covered with snow and temperature ranges from -8 to 4`C. During winter in Nepal, trek can be done up to 3500m so visit to muktinath temple can be done through Heli tour. Thus this trip can be made one of the luxury package to visit to the temple.
There are enough tea and guest houses on the way to muktinath temple. Visitors can have hot water showers in some selected guest houses and can enjoy local cuisine along with some selected lunch and breakfast during your visit. Due to the high terrain and rugged path the choices are limited but the food and cuisine absolutely give the visitor to taste and get blend into local culture.
Trek from Pokhara via Kaligandaki valley to Muktinath
Trek from Pokhara starts from 1 hour drive to Nayapul. You will then trek to muktinath via PoonHill, kalopani, Marpha and kagbeni. This tour can be manageable to 10 – 12 days based on the mood of ones travels.
Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and drive to muktinath( 2 hrs)
This is the shortest trek plan to Muktinath where traveller can enjoy the local beauty of snow caped mountain . You will land on Jomsom city from then you will drive for 2 hours to reach base muktinath temple. from there you will walk for 25 mins to reach temple. You can visit Muktinath temple via horse riding.
Bus and jeep drive to muktinath
Nowadays jeep and bus service to Muktinath have become popular and easily accessible because of good road condition and better maintenance. Visitors can easily reach muktinath from Pokhara through 4 wheel drive in 2 days. You can stay a day at Jomsom and can visit muktinath on other day. But for straight to drive it is however a 12 hour drive to muktinath. You can reach to Muktinath to its base and have to walk an elevation for a moderate 25 mins. Nowadays horse ride to Muktinath have become popular way to visit.
Heli tour to muktinath
Heli tour is one of the luxury tour to Muktinath where visitors can directly reach to Muktinath temple. They can witness the magnificent views of Machhapuchre, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges along with astounding beauty of nature of the rugged terrain on the way. Visitors can reach to Muktinath in 45 minutes from Pokhara city.
Muktinath lies at the Annapurna conservation area and visitors have to pay permit fee to visit the sanctuary. ACAP and TIMS permit is required for trekking in the Annapurna Conservation area region. The per person cost of the permits are listed below.
ACAP PERMIT COST
NRs. 3000 for foreign National
NRs. 1000 for SAARC National
NRs. 100 for Nepali National
TIMS PERMIT COST
NRs. 1000 for foreign National
NRs. 300 for SAARC National
No TIMS FOR NEPALI National
COST PERMIT FOR INDIVIDUAL TREKKERS
Those trekker who are willing to visit the Muktinath temple on their own without the help of guide or trekking companies have to pay different rate based on the designated amount design by ACAP. The per person cost of it is mentioned below.
NRs. 3000 for foreign National
NRs. 1000 for SAARC National.
NRs. 2000 for foreign National
NRs 400 for SAARC National.
Your passport details, trip itinerary along with 2 newly taken passport sized photos.
If you are planning to visit muktinath temple via trek you have to obtain Annapurna trekking permit either in Pokhara or Kathmandu else you will be charged with double cost in the check points.