Muktinath information

Muktinath templeĀ is a melting pot of Hinduism and Buddhism. At an elevation of 3720 m from sea level, it is a sacred place for both Hindu and Buddhist. As a part of the Annapurna Circuit, it is on foot of Thorong La Pass. Hindu people literally described Muktinath as Mukti Kshetra (place of liberation). Where as Buddhist people called it Chumig Gyatsa (hundred waters). This holy site is next to the village of Ranipauwa in Mustang. People often called the village of Ranipauwa as Muktinath. The temple is very small, but it is one of the eight most sacred shrines for Hindu devotees. It belongs to one of the most ancient temples of Hindu god Vishnu. There are two small ponds in the front end of temple and 108 taps on backyard. Water flowing through these taps is of freezing temperature, often entirely frozen during winter. Despite of bone chilling arctic water, devotees take their sacred bath.

There exist Buddhist Gompa very close to west of the main Hindu temple. According to Tibetan legend, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) had meditated at Muktinath on his way back to Tibet. Shaligrams (black fossil stone) can be found in the waterway down from Muktinath along Kaligandaki. Because of this existence of Shaligrams and 108 holy tap this place is one of the holiest place for Hindu and Buddhist. Damodar Kunda, in the upper mustang is also a major source of such black fossils. Jwala Devi Temple near Muktinath is another important and holy place. According to Hindu and Buddhist myth, the universe is composed of five elements. They are fire, water, sky, earth and air. You can find them all in Jwala Devi Temple. There is a continuous flame underground in Jwala Devi Temple. There is a good road from Kagbeni to Muktinath, passing through another medieval village of Jharkot. Some devotees are often found to charter a helicopter which takes around forty five minutes from Kathmandu.

From a Buddhist perspective, this is one out of twenty four Tantric Place. They considered it as home of twenty Tara, female deities and residence of sky dancers. For more spiritual factors refer to the pilgrimage guide “The Clear Mirror” written by Lama Jampal Rabgye Rinpoche. Now there is a good access by road up to entrance of the temple. You have to hike around ten minutes toward the main temple sites. Many foreigners explore the temple as a part of Annapurna Circuit every year. On the very west of the epicenter of devastating earthquakes, the temple had remained intact. Entire monuments and nuns residing there are completely fine. Renovation of Narsingh Gompa and Central Temple was started quite awhile ago. Central temple is already renovated by now.

As a part of the Upper Mustang Trek (Lo Manthang), you have the option to terminate your trek here in Muktinath instead of Kagbeni. Some make exits toward Nar Phu or Upper Dolpo as well. On the way down to Jomsom trail passes through Jharkot and Kagbeni. Growth of the tree in such unusual elevation forces you to believe that Muktinath is the holiest and sacred place on the planet earth. So it would be better if you can explore Muktinath as a side trip during Upper Mustang Trek.