Muktinath in Mustang District is a sacred site for Buddhists and Hindus. Although not easy to access, it remains a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists.
The site is located in a valley bearing the same name. It is set at the base of the mountain known as Thorong La. This is a component of Himalayan mountain range. The district is near Ranipauwa village.
One way to reach the place is to fly at Kathmandu and go to Pokhara to the airport at Jomsom. You can get a jeep or trek to the site.
What to See
The central temple is regarded as one of the holiest Hindu Vaishnavas shrines. The temple is one of the most ancient structures dedicated to Vishnu. The gold murti is as high as a human being. Water is poured into the 108-faced prakaram. The water that flows is symbolic of the holy Pushkarini waters.
A monk is present in the site. Buddhist nuns perform the rituals. The whole river bed has the Shaligram stones. These are utilized in the worship of Vishnu.
Muktinath in Mustang District is known as Mukti Kshetra by the Hindus. The words are translated as “place of salvation”. The temple has a Sri Vaishnava origin.
However it is also sacred to Buddhists. It is regarded as the 105th of the 108 Divya Desam. Its oldest known name is Thiru Saligramam. The temple is also one of the fifty one Sakthi peetams.
Holy among the Buddhists, the shrine is known as Chumig Gyatsa. These are Tibetan words translated as Hundred Waters. It is a holy place for Dakinis. Dakinis is the goddess of the Sky Dancers.
For the Buddhists, the murti represents the Avalokitesvara. Tibetan Buddhist belief holds that Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism, meditated in this place. Historical records show that the area has been praised repeatedly by Hindu holy men as well. Scriptures attesting to its importance can still be found today.
Domestic airfares in Nepal cost 110 USD to 140 USD. A tourist bus will cost 15 USD per person.
Some visitors prefer to charter a helicopter. This journey will take 45 minutes or so. But this is possible only if the weather permits. Most of the lodging and accommodation is in Jomsom and Kagbeni.
Muktinath in Mustang District is best visited between the months of March and June. Traveling during the other months is not advised for safety reasons.