The World famous Muktinath Temple lies in the Trans Himalayan Region, Mustang of Nepal and is a pilgrimage place for both Buddhist and Hindu alike. Situated around 48 km north east of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3750m and is a main shrine is a pagoda-shaped temple dedicated to lord Vishnu. Behind the temple there are 108 waterspouts cast in the shape of cow headed pour holy water and it’s here lots of pilgrimage takes bath from the ice-cold holy water. And during the festival of Janai Purnima, Hindu devotees gather here to pay homage to lord Muktinath. Just 100 metres further south of the main shrine there is another famous temple of Jwaladevi (known as the goddess of flame). The eternal flame that has been burning inside the temple continuously since time immemorial and this temple draws both Hindus and Buddhists pilgrims alike.
During your descend down to Jomsom, you might explore amniotes fossils (Saligram we call in Nepali), thought as the embodiment of Lord Vishnu, is found in plenty in the area and pilgrims travel long distances over rugged trails to collect these.
This Jomsom – Muktinath trek begins with scenic drive from Pokhara to Nayapul. And then starting to hike through rice terraces and villages inhabited by the fearless Ghurkha’s people, renowned for their strength and as pillars of both the Indian and British armies. Walking up slowly through rhododendron forests, the majestic Annapurna range reveals itself as you emerge from the forest into Ghorepani. A short hike from Ghorepani will bring you to Poonhill (3210m), a place of timeless beauty presenting magnificent views of the Himalayan mountains inclusive 3 tallest mountains on Earth. From here the trek begins to get more interesting as when you reach in Tatopani where you will have an opportunity to relax having natural hot springs. This trek is also known as Kaligandaki valley trek as it leads you through the bank of the Kali Gandaki River and Thakali villages offers the diverse landscapes and cultures and as well as the rural life styles. The main feature of this trekking is walking through the gorge carved by the Kali Gandaki River, which carries water from the Tibetan plateau to eventually join the Ganges in India. This classic Kaligandaki valley trek starts with a long climb to and then descends to the world’s deepest gorge Dana, on the Kali Gandaki River, going all the way from rhododendron forests to the beginning of the Tibetan plateau. Furthermore, you will have chance to encounter unique cultural people who practice their ancient traditions even today.
On arriving at the Kathmandu international airport you will be greeted by one of our representatives who will welcome you and assist in your transfer to a hotel. They will be available for any questions along the way and will make sure you have the chance to refresh before briefing you on the upcoming trek.
Nepal`s roads are not great to drive on at the best of times but they are an experience. So during the Monsoon Season we would advise flying to Pokhara as it only takes 30 minutes. But any other time it’s worth taking the tourist bus as you get to see a lot of scenery along the way. And depending on when you arrive the rest of the day will be spent seeing the sites of this lovely city.
After a relaxing night in Pokhara, Lakeside you will be woken for breakfast and the short drive to Nayapul (1050m) to begin your trek to Tikhedhunga (1577m) via Birethati (1065m).The first part of your trek is easy as you pass through small villages before starting to ascend gently to the final destination of the day. The majority people here are Gurung and their religions is Buddhist and work the land as their ancestors have done for hundreds of years. Recently as tourism has become popular in Nepal they have started acting as guides when others have joined the Ghurkha’s and Indian army regiments.
Starting the day with an ascent that will eventually lead you to the forest I would recommend you keep your eyes open as all of a sudden you will be greeted by a glimpse of Annapurna South, hidden by a ridge. Following the path along past Banthanti, there are forests of oak and rhododendron so the days hike is very peaceful. Before crossing several crystal-clear mountain streams and arriving in the village of Nangethanti. Take a break here as there are a few hours of trekking left before reaching the village of Ghorepani “horse water” and is a popular watering spot for mules, which use this route from Pokhara to Jomsom and beyond.
Todays the day for a sunrise trip to Poon Hill as the views are amazing before starting your descent to Tatopani through the rhododendron forest amidst the magnificent natural vistas. As you approach Chitre, you get an awe-inspiring view of Dhaulagiri massive before continuing along the trail through terraced fields to Sikha a Magar village. From here it starts with a gradual descent which steepens until you reach the large suspension bridge that spans the Kali Gandaki at Ghar Khola. From here it’s just a short walk upstream to reach Tatopani that takes its name after the Natural hot springs on the Kali Gandaki river bank.
After breakfast it’s time to follow the trail that ascends gently up the Kali Gandaki Gorge (the deepest gorge in the world) towards the village of Dana (surrounded by orange groves). In season you will find many local people along the trail selling baskets of oranges at a good price. Passing through Dana you reach a small hamlet of Rupse Chhahara known as Rupse waterfall (a thundering waterfall) cascades down beside the trail. Thereafter, the trail enters the steepest and narrowest section of the gorge. You will find the layered stone path well-constructed and wide. As the rock cliff ends, you head towards Ghasa, a quaint Thakali village. You can see several flat-roofed Tibetan style houses in Ghasa.
After a leisurely breakfast you start by ascending so you can cross the wide river valley of Kali Gandaki. Passing through several villages along the way you will notice the mixed ethnic populations of Gurung, Thakali and few Tibetans. On the way to Marpha you follow the banks of Kali Gandaki and you will pass through wild apple orchards (which you can eat if in season).Marpha is a big village enriched with a Buddhist Monastery in between the village which has its own cultural importance. Not only offering local apple brandy it has its own monastery where a hike up to will offer you stunning views of views of the Annapurna’s and Nilgiri.
Starting after breakfast you continue to follow the wide valley of the Kali Gandaki, passing through Khobang before reaching the village of Tukuche. Which is a delightful village where narrow alleyways and houses built around enclosed courtyards attempt to provide some shelter from the winds which howl through the gorge. Usually the wind picks up after about 10 AM, but will at least be blowing at your back as you head up to Jomsom. After passing through stone-walled orchards, a stone gate marks the entrance to Marpha. White walled houses line both sides of the narrow paved street, under which flows a cleverly made drainage system. Here you can find a good lunch stop and the courtyards of the many lodges make ideal resting and refreshment places. As the trail continues towards Jomsom, the landscape becomes increasingly arid and impressive with its mixture of browns, yellows and grey, contrasting with the white snow caps of Tilicho and Nilgiri. By afternoon, the stiff winds begin to blow, hastening our way to Kagbeni village the gateway to explore upper Mustang Lo Manthang.
The trails by steeply ascending for several hundred metres past a beautiful deserted landscape, caves, old Tibetan style villages, apple garden, yaks herds, sheep herds and so on. If you look up at the Thorong La valley you can see straight up to the Muktinath. Along the way you can enjoy delicious lunch at Jharkot and visit Monastery believed to be built in 15 century. After this it’s time to head up the trail for around 30 minutes to reach Muktinath. Here you will spend the rest of day so you have time to hike up to Rani Pauwa (3710m), an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Where you can see the eternal Natural flame and a splendid view of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Nilgiri (7061m.) and some others beautiful mountains. Now you walk for fifteen minutes to reach Muktinath Temple, where you can enjoy a holy bath of 108 Taps. The people of Kagbeni, Jharkot and Muktinath are close to the life style, culture, religion and idea of Tibetan people.
The day starts with you heading away from Muktinath to Jomsom by retracing your steps taking in the magnificent view of Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri family. During the afternoon, you might explore the local Museum which is about 10 minutes further from main down town. You stay overnight in Jomsom where in the evening you can celebrate the completion of your trekking with the crew, whom you have come to know so well.
The only time you can fly out of Jomsom is the morning because of the strong breeze that blows during the afternoon & evening. During the flights in the morning, the sky looks very clear which makes you able to enjoy the splendid views of different mountain peaks.
After breakfast you will drive to the airport for a flight to Pokhara and usually it takes around 25 mins. If the weather is clear it’s also gives you the chance to see the great view of Annapurna and Manaslu Himalayan ranges. Arrive in KTM and you will be transferred to the hotel for a rest.
Amazing views of peaks in the clouds
The hike starts here
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