Moksh and Muktinath The Divine Place that liberates

The mention of Nepal is incomplete without mentioning Muktinath temple – a divine place that librates. Whether you believe in Hinduism or are an ardent follower of Hinduism, visiting Muktinath temple is something that every devotee should do once in a lifetime.

You must be thinking that why this temple is so much important. Well, we are going to enlighten you about the significance and importance of the Muktinath temple in this temple.

Place of Muktinath temple in Hinduism and Buddhism
  • Muktinath temple holds the 106th place amongst the available 108 Divya Desam. Divya Desam is the Vishu temples across all over India and nearby countries.
  • As per the Vaishnava tradition, there are eight sacred shrines to respect Lord Vishnu that are known as “Svayam Vyakta Kstras”. Muktinath belongs to them.
  • It is also believed that all the five elements like water, air, sky, fire, and earth are available at this place and one can find their presence in a nearby temple ‘Jwala Devi Temple’. That is why it is known as Sri Murthy Mahatmyam.
  • Also, the river that flows till the temple, Kali Gandaki, is the main source of Silas or Shaligrams. These Shaligrams holds great importance in Hinduism and are required to build Vishnu temple elsewhere in the world.
  • As per the Buddhist tradition, Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa is the home of 21 Taras and is considered as 24 Tantric places. It is also considered as the residence of many Dakinis, Sky Dancers.
Importance of visiting Muktinath temple

If you go by the Hindu mythology, the entire world is an illusion of the life cycle of birth and death. To all those who want to attain liberation should be relieved from this cycle of life and death. Muktinath temple, being a Shakti Peetha and Mukti Shetra, is considered as a place to achieve liberation.

There are two holy tanks and 108 waterspouts in the temple premise. It is believed that every devotee visiting the Muktinath temple should take a bath in these two tanks and 108 waterspouts before leaving the temple Doing is so is considered to clean the sins of a particular person done in the past.

Rites in Muktinath temple

In the temple, worship is conducted by the Buddhists along with a Buddhist monk. All the pujas and prayer rituals are handled by a local nun.

Legends of Muktinath Temple

There are many legends associated with Muktinath temple each stating different reasons behind the existence of this temple. We have bought three most believed legends for you.

Legend 1: As per one legend mentioned in Buddhism, Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, made a stop at this temple while he was en-route towards Tibet. He meditated at this place and attained the lifelong spiritual knowledge during the process.

Legend 2: Another famed legend comes from Hindu mythology which is associated with the death of Sati Goddess. Sati was the first wife of Lord Shiva. Due to the insult faced by Lord Shiva by the hands of Sati’s father, Goddess Sati ablaze and Lord Shiva roamed at many places carrying her body.

While he was roaming, her body parts fallen in many places. Wherever her body parts felt down, the place got named Shakti Peeth. At Muktinath, it is believed, Sati’s face was fallen down. As the face is known as Mukh in Sanskrit, the place is known as Muktinath.

Legend 3: Another Hindu legend says that there was a battle between Lord Shiva and Jalandhar. Jalandhar was the powerful demon king and crossed all the limits to attacked Kailash just to get hold over Goddess Parvati. To lure her, he turned himself into Lord Shiva but failed big time in his attempt.

Once Lord Shiva learns about it, he came to save his wife and started a battle with Jalandhar. It was Parvati’s trust and faith that saved Lord Shiva from getting killed in the battle. Soon other gods also join hands to save Lord Shiva from the demon king. Lord Vishnu duplicated as Jalandhar and went to Vrinda, the wife of Jalandhar.

Vrinda couldn’t recognize him and treated Lord Vishnu as her husband and lost her devotion towards her husband. This made Jalandhar powerless and Lord Shiva killed him. Upon learning the truth that Lord Vishnu has tricked her, Vrinda cursed Lord Vishnu to spend the rest of his life as a Shila. The Shila or Shaligrams founds in the Kali Gandaki River are considered as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and this is how Muktinath temple originated and people started worshipped Lord Vishnu here.

Some tips while you travel this place of liberation

As now you have learned that visiting Muktinath temple is your way to attain liberation, it’s time to learn more about how to travel and reach here.

Muktinath temple is situated at an altitude of 3,800 meters and is located in the remote valley of Muktinath at the foot of Thorong La mountain pass. Seeing the altitude, it is known as the highest temple in the world. This is what makes this temple difficult to conquer.

It can be explored en-route of the Annapurna circuit route and it easily accessible by road. As the full Annapurna circuit trek takes around 15-18 days to get completed, there are helicopter tours from Jomsom to reach the temple.

Some travel companies also arranged motorbike tours from Jomsom to reach here. No matter which way you choose:

  • You do a basic health check-up and consult with your physician.
  • You must understand some of the potential health hazards like altitude sickness and lack of oxygen at such high altitudes. Get prepared for all of this beforehand.
  • You are going to witness some to the spectacular views. The snow-capped mountains, lush-green nature, and the pristine environment will take your breath away.
  • Make sure you are always choosing the experienced and trusted travel company that of offering an experienced guide and porter facility to you. Some of the areas are too remote to explore on your own and it is not at all recommended.
The Final Word

Muktinath tour Packages is more than a holy shrine. It is a place to bring you a little closer to the almighty and learn the true meaning of life. While you plan to visit here, always choose a trusted travel company as your journey partner.

A Quick Virtual Tour to Muktinath before you actually Go there

Whether you believe in Hinduism or are an ardent follower of Buddhism, Muktinath temple is one sacred site that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Located in the remote yet ravishing valley of Mustang district, Nepal, this temple is better known as the temple of liberation where one can get freedom from the cycle of life and death once and for all.

Being an epitome of the spiritual and emotional cleansing, Muktinath temple receives millions of footfall every year. However, reaching here is not as easy as it seems. As the temple stands tall at an elevation of 3, 800 meters and in the remote Muktinath valley, one has to trek a lot to reach here.
You can either reach here via Annapurna circuit trek or avail a Muktinath package tour from Jomsom. In both the options, you have to trek in rough terrain. That being said, we can’t deny that the nature en-route is truly breathtaking and mesmerizing.

As many elder people also visit Muktinath temple, many Muktinath helicopter tours are also available which makes the journey a bit more comfortable and quick and the aerial view of the valley and the snow-capped mountain is an out-of-the-world experience.

Before you actually plan to visit Muktinath temple, we are going to take you on a virtual tour of the Muktinath temple.

The meaning of ‘Muktinath’

The word ‘Muktinath’ is derived from two different Sanskrit words ‘Mukti’ and ‘Nath’. Here, Mukti refers to ‘Salvation or Moksha’ while Nath stands for ‘God’. That simply means Muktinath as a God of Salvation or Moksha.

Which deity is worshiped in Muktinath?

Muktinath temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu as per Hinduism. As per Buddhism, Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Avalokiteshvara. As you enter the main temple by passing through a narrow path, there is a human-sized metal statue of Lord Vishnu.

You can see the deity covered in yellow-colored clothes with a crown on the head. He is adorned with some jewels as well. Here, the deity is worshipped as Shri Mukti Narayana.

Apart from Load Vishnu, the temple also has a statue of Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati, Janaki, Garuda, Lava-Kush, and Sapta Rishis. There is also a bronze statue of Bhoodevi (the Earth-goddess form of Lakshmi).

How does the temple look like?

Like most temples in Nepal, the Muktinath temple also has a pagoda-style structure. The temple is not very big and has a small complex. Don’t expect a very well-painted or carved temple wall like other temples in India. The temple structure is very basic and it has stoned walls painted in white color. That being said, its charm stands second to none.

What you can see around Muktinath temple?

Your virtual tour to Muktinath will not get over unless you don’t have a look at some of the other attractions that enthrall you equally.

Jwala Mai Temple

Situated at the east of the main Muktinath temple, Jwala Mai Temple is the temple dedicated to the eternal flame. The temple lies inside the Dhola Mebar Gompa which is a typical Tibetan style Gompa. Build just above an underground water stream, this temple has its importance in Hinduism.

As per Hindu methodology, the eternal flame belongs to Goddess Durga. As you go inside this tiny temple, you can see spring and three eternal flames; a holy flame from the soil, rock, and water. It is believed that these flames are fed by the natural gas produced continuously from the water stream giving you an impression of a burning flame. The creator of these flames is said to be Lord Brahma.

As you further go inside the Gompa, you can see a blue-colored flamed burning continuously on the floor just behind the grid. It’s believed that the flame is burning from a thousand years. One can listen to the water gurgling upon paying little attention. Inside the Dhola Mebar Gompa, you can see three more statues of Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, and Vajrapani deity. Here also, an eternal flame is burring just below the statue.

We hope that you liked this virtual tour and now eager to visit this holy site in-person. Before you actually do this, our suggestion is to book your Muktinath yatra from a trusted travel company only to have a blissful and comfortable tour to this holy place. Apart from Jwaliamata Temple, you can see big Buddha Statue, Shiva Parvati Temple, Salagrama Temple and Padmasambhava Monastery.

Other Temples to See while you are heading for your Muktinath Yatra

Nepal is a very religious country. The locals are highly spirituals and the culture has a boasting amalgamation of Hindi, Buddhist, and Tibetan culture. Just as nature is abundantly beautiful down here, there is no dearth of cultural and religious sites. The offerings will never come to an end when it comes to the temples of Nepal. The list is long and has hundreds of counts. Though some temples are very famed and have gained famed at the global level, there are many not well-known yet equally magnificent temples that you should visit for sure.

Muktinath is amongst those well-known temples of Nepal that witness the highest footfall from all over the world. It is a sacred place for Hindu and Buddhist devotees. That also makes it one of the most visiting temples in South Asia. Being a place to attain ultimate salvation, this temple has always enjoyed a special place in the heart of devotees. If you are a Shiva devotee then you must visit this temple for sure.

As one must trek through the lush green plains, snow-peaked mountain, and amazing nature to reach this temple, going for Muktinath yatra is now a favorite thing for youngsters as well. Be it its religious significance or the route that takes you here, visiting Muktinath temple is always in everyone’s bucket list.

The route will give you many hidden surprises. Though the destination of the journey i.e. Muktinath temple is highly gratifying, there are many other temples that you can visit and feel a little closer to the almighty during your Muktinath yatra. Here is the list.

Temples in and around Kathmandu and Pokhara

Your Muktinath Yatra starts once you reach Kathmandu, the capital city. Here, there are many temples that you visit and feel amazed seeing the architecture and knowing the history –

Pashupatinath Temple

One of the most famed temples in Nepal and South Asia, Pashupatinath temple is dedicated to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The pagoda-style temple is also a UNESCO world heritage site and an architectural genius whose charm hasn’t got affected by time and other factors. Even the 7.8 magnitude earthquake wasn’t able to cause any damage to this temple. This is what makes our belief firm in the almighty. So, before you actually start your Muktinath yatra, don’t forget to pay a visit to Pashupatinath temple.

Swayambhunath Temple

Swayambhunath or monkey temple is a temple that holds equal importance in Hinduism and Buddhist. Situated atop a hill, this temple gives you a breathtaking view of Kathmandu valley and nearby area. As it is amongst the oldest religious site in Nepal, you must stop by here and pay a visit before you kick start your Muktinath yatra.

Bindhyabasini Temple

Located near Bagar, Pokhara, Bindhyabasini Temple, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. Here, the deity is worshipped in the form of saligram.

Tal Barahi Temple

This two-story temple can be your next step in Pokhara during your Muktinath yatra. This one is also dedicated to Goddess Durga and is located on a small island near Pokhara. You can reach here after 10 minutes of a boat ride. More than a temple, it is the boat ride and island beauty that mesmerize the visitors.

Manakamana Temple

Dedicated to the Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati, Manakamana temple is where you can visit in the hope of fulfillment of your wishes. As per the ancient belief, if anyone pays a visit to this temple, Goddess Bhagwati grants the wishes. The temple is situated at top of 1300-meter tall hill. From the top, you can have a mesmerizing view of Manaslu, Himalchuli and Annapurna mountains.

Temples near and around Muktinath

To reach Muktinath, you will pass through a place like Beni and Jomsom. While Muktinath is your main destination, there are other attractions that are worth visiting too. Here are our top picks that you can explore when the journey is on –

Ganesh Temple

When your Muktinath yatra is on and you are passing from the Beni-Jomsom area, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Ganesh temple. The view of mountains from this place is can’t put down in words. To experience this, you have to avail of a Muktinath yatra package and visit it.

Galeshwor Dham

Also known as Pulastya Pulhashram Ashram, is situated near Beni in Nepal and it is one of the top pilgrim sites for Hindus, this place also known as Siddhi Peeth.

Jwala Mai Temple

Located at the foot of the majestic Thorong La mountain pass, Jwala Mai temple is dedicated to the eternal flame of Goddess Durga. Apart from Hinduism, Buddhist culture also represents the symbolism of a seven-forked sacred flame. Hence, this temple is important for the followers of both religions. It is believed that there is one type of natural gas is present in the Himalayan sprig that emerges near the temple has gives the impression of a fire burning on the water itself to the onlooker.
The temple is small yet spectacular. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains standing tall above all, the place is filled with ultimate peace and solace.

Sakyamuni Buddha Statue

Though it’s not a temple-like other option discussed here, this statue is something that you should never miss during your Muktinath yatra. As this place is not well-known, you will not find a huge crowd here and this is what makes a unique place. It’s only natural and you. The statue is standing tall amid most quaint and exquisite nature. This The 32 ft. tall status near Muktinath temple is surely deserved your visit.

Before you go for Muktinath Yatra

As you have got a huge list of temples other than Muktinath that you can visit during your Muktinath yatra, it’s time to pay attention to certain other important things:

Always book your Muktinath Yatra from a trusted travel company offering you a 24*7 travel guide as some of the areas in Nepal can be rough, tough, and remote which can be a problem for the first-timer.

Never try to explore any of the remote places on your own. Make sure your guide is always with you.

Muktinath Trek or Muktinath Yatra What should be your pick

Muktinath Yatra is a famous religious yatra for Hindus and Buddhists alike. Pilgrims from across the world take up the yatra to visit the famous Muktinath Temple where they look forward to wash away all their sins and attain liberation.

There are two popular versions of this pilgrimage destination. One is the celebrated Muktinath Yatra that is an exclusive trip to the temple. The yatra is mostly taken up by the devotees or the pilgrims who visit the place with the sole purpose of stopping at the famous Muktinath Temple in the Muktinath Kshetra.

The other is the Muktinath Trek. As the name suggests, it involves trekking the region with the famous Muktinath Temple as the final destination. The famous Annapurna Base Camp Trek also involves visiting the religious hub as a sidewalk.

Here is a brief account of the two so you can make an intelligent choice.

Muktinath Yatra

There are several ways of reaching the famous Muktinath Temple, these are:

By Road: The pilgrims can take up a bus or a four-wheeler such as a Jeep. The 206-kilometer route from Kathmandu to Pokhara can be completed in about 6 hours. Take a halt at Pokhara for the night. The next day starts from Pokhara and drive to Jomsom. Drive from Jomsom to Muktinath, visit the temple and drive back to Pokhara. The entire trip by road can be completed in 4 to 8 days.

By Road and flight: If travelling by road is a little demanding for you, you can choose to travel by road and flight. Drive 206 kilometers from Kathmandu to Pokhara and stay there overnight. The next morning, take a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom which will last about 15 to 20 minutes. You can take a Jeep from Jomsom and drive to Muktinath. The jeep can only take you till a specific point from where you will have to walk the remaining distance to the shrine. It will take about 45 minutes. For those who cannot walk much, the option of renting a horse for a ride is available as well. Post the darshan, stay overnight at Jomsom. The next morning, you can fly back to Kathmandu or Pokhara, depending on your itinerary.

By Flight: Take a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, the duration is about 25 minutes. Stay overnight at Pokhara and next morning, take a flight to Jomsom. The distance from Jomsom to Muktinath can be covered by road. On your way back, drive to Jomsom and stay overnight. The next morning, fly from Jomsom to Pokhara and finally to Kathmandu.

By Helicopter: One of the easiest ways to commemorate the Muktinath Yatra is to perform it by the helicopter. Take a helicopter from the Kathmandu airport and reach the temple only in one and a half hours. After offering the prayers, you can choose to fly back either to Pokhara or to Kathmandu.

Muktinath Trek

The second best way to visit the Muktinath Temple is by taking a trek all the way to the temple. Besides the Jomsom Muktinath Trek, visiting the temple also forms a part of the famous Annapurna Circuit Trek or the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. While the first one takes about 10 days, the latter takes about 16 days.

Beni, Jomsom, Muktinath Trek

The Jomsom Muktinath Trek starts from Beni and ends at Muktinath. It is a demanding trek as it takes one to the maximum elevation of 3800 meters. Besides visiting the famous Muktinath Temple, there is much more that one can do at this Trek. Instead, if you have limited time but wish to explore the Himalayan Range, this is the best trek to do!

When you take up the Jomsom Muktinath Trek, you will cover Gurung and Thakali villages, beautiful and colorful apple orchards, Rhododendron forests, Tibetan Plateau and the world’s deepest Gorge, the Kali Gandaki Gorge, also known as Andha Galchi.

The main highlights of the trek are the mesmerizing views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. You will visit Marpha which is not just a village but is regarded a central place in Nepal for growing apples. Take a walk around the apple orchards, taste some wine and apple products here.

The place has retained its old world charm with its modest white washed buildings and narrow streets. The village is also famous for a Buddhist monastery. Enjoy some time in peace or mediate here. Kagbeni village is another attraction of the popular Muktinath trek. The village is regarded as a gateway to the Upper Mustang region. The visitors can also visit the salt trading route that passes through this village. The route is still functional but only to some extent. The Yak caravans are another sight to behold.

The highest point of the Jomsom Muktinath Trek is the Muktinath temple itself. The pagoda style structure of the temple is definitely a treat for the historians and individuals looking for some old world charm. Not to mention, its high religious reverence for Buddhists and Hindus alike. Visitors ensure they take a holy bath under the 108 water spouts in the backyard of the temple and a holy dip in the kundas or ponds right in front of the temple.

All said and done, if you are physically fit, have a fondness for adventure trips and have some time in hand, you must take up one of the various available options of Muktinath Treks. The treks are a great way of exploring the local culture and lifestyle of a place. Instead, Jomsom Muktinath Trek is regarded as a perfect family trek because of the low altitude, its ease and the fact that it does not require any special physical levels.

Just on the other hand, senior citizens, people who have any medical issues, especially related to heart and respiration must avail the option of Muktinath Yatra to reach the temple. Most of the available options to reach the temple are convenient and time-saving.

View from Muktinath Town

What makes Muktinath Trek a perfect choice for youths too

Muktinath – One of the holiest places on earth receives millions of footfalls every year. As it’s a sacred site and considered as a place to attain salvation, it’s a common perception that only elders should visit this place. However, we don’t agree on this.

As per us, Muktinath trek is something that every young blood should try at least once in a lifetime – The roads that take you here are filled with many hidden thrilling opportunities, breath-taking views, amazing landscapes, and adventure that every youth should encounter once.

To enjoy this trek, you can either choose Annapurna Circuit trek or opt for Jomsom-Muktinath trek. The first option is of longer days and gives you more opportunities to explore the beauty of this region while the latter option lasts only for 4 days and can be done by all those who don’t have much time to invest in yet want to encounter some of most gorgeous nature’s wonder.

No matter which option you choose, we must say that this trek is going to be one of the most thrilling and adventurous things that you can do during your youth.

Here are our reasons for saying this:

Nature like never before

As they say, come to nature’s lap to get healed completely. Nature has the solution to all your worries. A close encounter with nature can fill your heart with amazing contentment. Muktinath temple is located in the most picturesque desert of the Mustang district. Here, you’ll be stunned to see raw yet ravishing nature.

From mountains to lush green landscapes, from dense forest to scattered desert, from sub-tropical forest to alpine forests, you’ll witness every version of nature during this trek.

On one hand, you’ll see all colored flowers while passing from the forest area while you will be surrounded by the grey colures mountains all around. In short, more than a trek, it‘s way to witness the remote yet ravishing nature from close and feel rejuvenated from the core.

The panoramic view of peaks

During the trek, you’ll get an opportunity to witness the beauty of some of the most gorgeous peaks like Thorong Peak, Nigiri, and Dhaulagiri. Then there are Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks as well.

Can you imagine the view when Himalaya towers over you and you’re surrounded by snow-capped mountains by all sides?

Well, it’s beyond imagination. It’s worth exploring. Nowhere in the world can you find the breathtaking clicks for your Instagram as you’ll find en-route of Muktinath trek.

The ideal way to check the stamina

So, you are investing a lot of time in the gym and think that you’ve built up great stamina. This trek is the ideal way to give it a reality check. The Annapurna circuit trek stays somewhere for 15 days and you’ll walk around 250KM in total. It’s a lot of distance to cover via foot.

Plus, the rocky path and steep slopes are there to test your body’s balancing ability. Passing through all these paths would be the real test of your fitness. If you really are a fitness enthusiast then Muktinath trek should be in your bucket list for sure.

Get high at the Marpha

While your trek is on, you will cross a small yet significant place named, Marpha. Located in the lower region of Mustang, Marpha is the place where you’ll find the purest and high-quality. This small place is the epicenter of apple production and known for producing high-quality liquor across the world.

If you enjoy get high sometimes and are a beer/liquor lover then you’ll surely love this place. However, make sure that you should never get too high while you trek. Apart from tasting liquor at Marpha village, you can take a stroll in the apple orchards as well.

The charisma of Kali Gandaki River

During the trek, you’ll get to witness the grandeur of the Kali Gandaki River from close. As the trek follows the river bed, you must understand that you’ll be accompanied by water crackling sounds for a long time. The gushing water will keep you motivated to go on.

As you reach at the upper river area, you can get opportunities to find out the Shaligram, fossilized ammonite while the lower region is filled with warmth and generosity of Gurungs and Magars, Thakalis, and Lopa communities. There are many Buddhist villages situated near the river which are rich in culture and religion.

Mediate the right way

Your life back home is very stressful. Project deadlines, office politics, and mundane routine dull the zest of life from you and make you over-exhausted. Your mind and soul ultimate relaxation and nothing can help you in this as the quaint and calm monasteries and gompa located in the region.

During the trek, there are many monasteries where you can make a stop, meditate with the monks, and attain ultimate peace. Nestled amidst the remote nature and surrounded by the snow-peaked mountains, these monasteries are filled with peace that you’ll never find back home. These scenic monasteries will surely give you some of the best clicks for your social media platform and will grab many likes and shares.

A motorbike tour like never before

Last but not the least reason is that you can do Muktinath trek on a motorbike rather than on your foot and we must say that this would be the best bike tour of your life. Just meant for youth, these special motorbike tours run from Jomsom (a town located in Mustang district). So, you can opt for a Mustang valley motorbike tour to experience something extraordinary.

During the tour, you’ll get a chance to be awe-stricken by the view of the Machhapuchhre Mountain and Annapurna region. Exploring nature this way has its charm and can’t be compared with anything in the world.

We think that by now you must have known that Muktinath trek is not for all those elder people who want to get close with almighty. In fact, it offers a lot of adventure and thrill that can excite young blood for sure. So, book a Muktinath trek/tour today and get a unique experience that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Muktinath and other important Hindu Sites of Nepal you must visit

If you think that Nepal is all about river rafting, mountaineering, trekking, and hiking then we must say that you only know one side of Nepal. There are lots of things that Nepal offers to a wanderer and ancient, historical Hindu temples are amongst one of them.

As Nepal is a Hindu country, there is no dearth of temples that are both architectural marvel and spirituality epitome.

Here are some of the most loved and famed Hindu sites that you must visit while you’re in Nepal:

Muktinath

Muktinath holds a special place in both Hindu and Buddhist culture and has gained prominence worldwide. Situated in Mustang district, Muktinath temple is a must-visit place for a Lord Shiva devotee. The temple has a glorious 3000 history and receives thousands of footfalls every year. Inside the temple, there is a Buddhist Gompa and the pagoda style, Vishnu Temple, as well. The 108 water spouts behind the temple is another major attraction of this temple.

More than its religious importance, the next thing that fascinates people about this temple is the route that takes you here. To reach this temple, you’ve to opt for the Annapurna circuit trek. The trek itself takes you from various rocky yet ravishing landscapes that take your breath away. The surrounding view from the temple top, on a clear day, will leave you in awe.

Pashupatinath Temple

Located in the heart of the country’s capital, Kathmandu, Pashupatinath temple is another sacred Hindu site that deserves a visit for sure while you’re in Nepal. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is one of the 4 most vital sites in Asia, considered very important by the devotees. The temple has the largest temple complex in Nepal.

In this temple, only Hindus are allowed to enter. This is considered as the most sacred place to die. You can witness many cremations of Hindus take place on raised platforms. So, don’t lose heart with the sight. Due to its impeccable architecture, it gains a place in UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Site list.

Manakamana Temple

If you have a wish that needed to be granted then you must pay a visit to Manakamana Temple. Dedicated to Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati, this temple has a pagoda-style structure. Visiting this temple during Dasain (in September-October) and Nag Panchami (July – August) festival considered as most auspicious.

To reach this temple, you need to cross a ropeway which is the thrill of a whole new level. You will be stunned to see the aerial view of snow-capped mountains and lush-green valley from the sky-top. That’s why Manakamana Temple is worth a visit.

Budhanilkantha Temple

Located at the foothills of Shivapuri hills, Budhanilkantha temple is another most visited holy Hindu Shrine that a Hindu must visit during his/her Nepal visit. Situated at a stone throw away distance from the capital city, this temple has a boasting Lord Vishnu statue.

What makes this temple different from others is the position of the Lord Vishnu in the statue. In most of the cases, you’ll either find deity sitting or standing. But, here the deity is reclining on a bed of Nagas or serpents in the middle of a small pond. The remarkable intricate artwork in the temple makes it a work-of-art.

Dakshinkali Temple

Dedicated to a bloodthirsty goddess, Kali, Dakshinkali Temple is one of the most visited Hindu sites in Nepal. This is one of those temples where the ritual of animal sacrifice is still observed in full swing to please the goddess. Saturday is the big sacrificial day and you’ll get to see a huge rush on this day.

The temple is situated at a hilltop gives you a breathtaking view of the surroundings. Dashain festival, Nepal’s version of Durga Puja, is one of the best times to visit this temple. Reaching here is an easy and hassle-free job.

Gujeswori Shaktipith

Located just next to Pashupatinath temple, Gujeswori Shaktipith is another important Hindu site that you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Nepal. It is one of the chief Shakti Peetha mentioned in Hindu scriptures and believed that this is the place where Sati’s (Lord Shiva’s wife) hips were fallen down. This temple is also considered as the shakti chair of Pashupatinath Temple. Hence, you must never leave Nepal without visiting this temple.

Doleshwar Mahadev Temple

Situated in Bhaktapur district, Doleshwar Mahadev Temple is just 20 km away from the capital city and can be accessed easily. If you’re a Shiva devotee and visiting Kedarnath then your visit will not be considered completed if you don’t visit Doleshwar Mahadev temple along with the Pashupatinath temple. All these three places are known to set you and your soul free from all your sins. Though the connection between Kedarnath and Doleshwar is not known, this temple is always associated with the mighty shrine.

So, next time you visit Nepal, keep this list handy and don’t forget to pay a visit to these important Hindu sites.

Lake Gosainkunda

Visit Lake Gosainkunda is a spiritual and physical journey that everyone should embark for sure. As per the folklore, this lake was created by Lord Shiva. This is the lake where Lord Shiva quenched his thirst after consuming poison. Hence, holds a special value in Hinduism. As per the ancient beliefs, a dip in the lake will help you get rid of all your fears, sorrow, and worries.

Apart from its religious significance, the next thing that makes this lake special is the vicinity. Located at an altitude of 4380 m, the lake is surrounded with some of the most beautiful nature’s wonder. You’ll get a chance to witness some of the most beautiful Himalayas range, beautiful scenario, and lush wild nature during this trek. During winters, the lake will be frozen and its beauty stands second to none.

Mount Everest

Though it’s not a temple, unlike other opinions mentioned in the article, this is the holiest mountain as per Hinduism. Known as Sagarmatha in Nepali or Chomolungma in Sherpa and Tibetan culture, this is more than a mountain. It considered as ‘Goddess Mother’ by the locals. Many devotees complete their Nepal visit with a Mount Everest trekking. While you also think of doing so, make sure that you’re always hiring an experienced travel/trekking company to accompany you.

Mukti Dhara in Muktinath Temple

Culture, Health And Document Related Rules All Muktinath Visitors must know

Muktinath temple is one of the most scared and visited Hindu sites in the world. Being a place of salvation, this temple enjoys millions of footfall of devotees coming from all over the world, especially South Asia, every year. This temple holds a special place in both Hinduism and Buddhism. It is believed that visiting this temple and offering a prayer to the deity can set your free from all your sins and open the way for ultimate salvation. The temple is situated in the Mustang district of the country and is accessible via the Annapurna circuit trek.

Seeing the surging number of travelers, Nepal has maintained stringent yet simple travel rules for every traveler. These rules are there to help every traveler enjoy a hassle-free traveling experience while the government maintains law and order without making much effort.

If you want that your Nepal and Muktinath temple visit comes out a memorable trip, following these rules is essential. Wonder what these rules are and what documents you need to carry? Then here is our help in this regard for you.

Cultural rules to follow

  • As Muktinath Temple is a sacred site, there are many unsaid yet important cultural rules that you must follow inside the temple.
  • You should never enter the temple with shoes on. Other leather items like purse, belt, and jacket must be removed before entering the temple.
  • Don’t consume any drugs or alcohol inside the temple or before visiting the temple.
  • Don’t litter the temple complex.
  • Cows are considered sacred here. So whether you’re inside or outside the temple, don’t ever hurt a cow.
Documents related rules to follow.

Though you don’t require any document to produce as you visit the Muktinath temple, you require a whole list of documents to enter in Nepal (if you’re foreign nationals) and Annapurna Circuit trek. Depending upon the purpose, your documents list will vary. Here, we are giving you a detailed guide of documents needed for different purposes as you visit Nepal and witness the grandeur of almighty at Muktinath temple.

Documents to enter in Nepal (If you’re a foreign national).

A valid passport and travel visa are required by all the nationals, except Indians, visiting Nepal. If you’re an Indian, you can visit Nepal with any of voter-id/Pan card/ Aadhar Card document if you’re coming from the border.

Proof of yellow fever vaccination if you’re traveling from a country where it is present.

Required permits / Documents to obtained these

To reach Muktinath Temple, you have to trek through the Annapurna Conservation Area. Annapurna Conservation Area is a protected site and can’t be accessed just like that. You need to obtain two special permits to pass through this area. These permits are:

  1. Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit or ACAP– To collect this permit, you need to contact the Nepal Tourism Board located at Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, or Pokhara.
  2. Trekkers Information Management System Permit or TIMS -The second permit that you need to get is the Trekkers Information Management System Permit or TIMS. This is the basic trekking permit that every trek must obtain without fail whether you trek in the Annapurna region or any other Nepal region.

To collect this permit, you need to visit TAAN located at various locations like Saathumti, Thamel and Mali Gaun. As you must be trekking to Muktinath with the help of a travel company, this can be done on their behalf as well. However, your presence is required while obtaining the permit is essential.

The cost of this permit varies from nationals to nationals. For example, if you’re SAARC nationals then you have to spend NPR 1500, about $16 per person for ACAP permit. However, all other nationals need to spend NPR 3000, about $32 per person to obtain this permit. For locals, the cost is only NPR 100 per person.

Similarly, TIMS cards can be obtained at the cost of NPR 1,000 per person for foreign nationals, NPR 600 per person for SAARC national. For Nepal citizen, TIMS is not required.

You must realize that all the prices exclude 13% VAT (Value Added Tax). Everyone who is above 10 years of age must obtain this permit.

To obtain these permits, here are the documents that need to be presented:
  • Dually filled permit form for both the permits. You can either pre-download the forms or fill them upon reaching Nepal or you can obtain them after reaching here. We suggest you go with the first option.
  • Two copies of your recent passport & visa.
  • 4 passport-size photos.
  • A copy of your Annapurna circuit trek itinerary.

The complete process to get the permits will be done by your travel agent, you no need to worry about it.

Health-related rules that you must follow before Muktinath temple

Situated at an elevation of 3,800 meters, reaching Muktinath Yatra is not everyone’s cup of tea. You must have pink health and great stamina to conquer the rocky path, altitude sickness, stiff legs, and many other health-related hurdles that you may have during your Muktinath visit.

Here are some health-related rules that you must follow before visiting Muktinath temple:

  • Always get your basic vitals checked before thinking of visiting Nepal and pay a visit to the Muktinath temple. The conditions here are far different from where you reside. Weather can be very erratic and cruel sometimes. Hence, your body should be strong enough to cope-up with that. Get a basic check-up done and take your doctor’s advice over this.
  • Get health insurance. Though Nepal has developed a lot, there are still some areas that are remote and have no basic medical facilities. As you may pass through such areas during the Annapurna circuit trek, you should be preparing for any medical emergency. In that case, health insurance can back you to deal with any unwanted and unnecessary medical emergency.
  • Update your preventive inoculations at least six weeks before visiting Nepal. Some of the key vaccinations that you should consider taking are meningitis, tetanus, hepatitis B, and typhoid.
  • Always carry a medical kit handy during the visit. Your kit should include basic headache and fever medicine, ibuprofen for general aches and pains, Immodium or Pepto Bismol capsules for upset stomach and diarrhea, antihistamine, brunt cream, water purification tablets, water-proof band-aid, and anti-infection ointments.
The Conclusion

The last rule of the day is that you should always hire a trusted and certified travel company for your Muktinath yatra. We hope that we will follow all these rules and enjoy hassle-free Muktinath yatra. Happy journey!

Muktinath Temple with Mukti Kunda

Why every Hindu or Vaishnav must visit the pilgrimage site Muktinath

The famous Muktinath Temple in Mustang, Nepal is located at the foot of the Thorong La Mountain Pass, at an altitude of 3800 meters. The temple is listed among the highest temples across the world. Hindus call the place ‘Mukti Kshetra’ or the ‘place of liberation’.

Even though the temple is significant to both Hindus and Buddhists, there is a special significance of this religious site for Hindus or Vaishnavas. Sri Vaishnava is a sub-sect of Hinduism and the tradition is predominant in Tamil Nadu in the Southern India. They believe visiting the temple is an ultimate route to attain salvation or liberation.

Hindus believe it is important to visit the temple at least once in their lifetime and perform all the required rituals.

Importance of visiting the temple

There is a great significance of visiting the Muktinath Temple for every Hindu. As per the Hindu mythology, the life cycle of birth and rebirth is an illusion and one must make efforts to free oneself of this ‘Maya’ and attain salvation or nirvana. Since Muktinath is the site where Lord Vishnu is worshipped as the lord of salvation, the temple is regarded as an ultimate place to attain salvation.

There are 108 water spouts in the backyard of the temple. These are bull shaped and carved out in stone. Ice cold water from the holy Gandaki River flows out of these; it is known as ‘Mukti-dhara’. Every Hindu visiting the temple ensures that they take a bath under these water spouts. Doing so is believed to clear all their sins and help them attain nirvana. Taking a holy dip in the two kundas (ponds) just in front of the temple is believed to bring the same effect.

As per the philosophy of Sri Vaishnavas, the temple is regarded as the most sacred place to worship Lord Vishnu. It has also been highly mentioned by Thirumangai Alwar in Nalayira Divya Prabandha 10 Pasurams in Mudal Pathu lyndham thirumozhi. The lords here are believed to grant mukti or liberation.

About the temple

Muktinath Temple also known as ‘Chumig Gyatsa’ is a pagoda style structure and also one among the 108 Vaishnava Shrines. The word ‘Muktinath’ is formed by combining ‘Mukti’ meaning ‘salvation’ and ‘Nath’ meaning ‘God’. Lord Vishnu is thus worshipped here as the god of salvation. The temple is one of the most religious sites in Nepal and equally revered by Hindus and Buddhists. The sacred site is taken care of by the nuns who belong to the lineage of Lama Wangyal.

Inside the Temple

Muktinath Temple is a huge complex that has the Muktinath shrine in the center with several other shrines surrounding it. Once you enter the main complex of the temple that is lined with Tibetan prayer wheels, you will notice these:

Mukti-Kunda: Right in front of the temple, there are two ponds that are called ‘Kundas’. These are named after goddess Laxmi and Saraswati and are also referred to as ‘Mukti-Kunda’. Hindus or the Vasihnavas believe that taking a holy dip in these kundas can bring them liberation.

Mukti Dhara: Behind the Muktinath Temple, within its courtyard, there are 108 water faucets, bull-shaped and carved in stone. The ice cold water of Gandaki River flows out of these. As per a popular Hindu belief, bathing under these water spouts can bring liberation. For the same reason, they are called ‘Mukti-Dhara’.

Muktinath Temple: The main temple, also known as the Muktinath Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped as the Lord of liberation here. For the same reason, the place is also called ‘Mukti-Kshetra’ or the ‘Place of liberation’. The idol of Lord Vishnu is present here with that of goddess Lakshmi (Bhumi-devi) and Saraswati (Sri-devi). The other gods worshipped in the temple include Janaki, Garuda, Lava-Kusa and the Sapta Rishis.

Samba Gompa: Inside the complex of the temple, to the left is ‘Samba Gompa’ or the ‘new monastery’. The deities that are worshipped in this monastery are Sakyamuni Buddha (centre), Avalokiteshwar (right) and Guru Rimpoche or Padmasambhava to the left. It is believed that Syandol Lama, the founder of this monastery, originally came from Tibet.

Muktinath Yagna-sala: Muktinath Yagna-sala is a place in the temple complex where rituals are performed and prayers are offered around a holy fire.

Jwala Mai Temple: Jwala Mai Temple is the temple of goddess of fire where the flame is eternal. It is located inside Dhola Mebar Gompa to the east of the temple and goddess of fire is worshipped here. The holy flame is present alongside a spring, bringing together all the natural elements such as earth, water, fire and air.

The other important sites present inside the temple complex include the Narsingh Gompa, Shiva Parvati Mandir, Vishnu-Paduka Mandir, and the Shalimar Gandaki River alongside the main temple.

What is unique about the Muktinath Temple?

There are several facts about the Muktinath temple that make it unique in its own way.

  • The Hindus and the Buddhists have a strong belief that the temple site is the only place on earth to have all the five elements-fire, water, air, sky, and earth. All of these together are known to form the universe.
  • The holy Gandaki River that flows close to the temple has Shaligram stones in its river bed. These stones are specifically used to build a Vishnu Temple. The stones are found in different colors and shapes and each one is worshipped as a different form of Lord Vishnu. White-colored stone is regarded as Vasudeva, black as Vishnu, blue as Krishna, green as Narayana, and Yellow as Narasimha or Vamana. Some of the stones are also in the shape of Conch and Chakra, both of which symbolize Lord Vishnu.
  • As per the Vaishnavas, the temple site is one of the most sacred places for worshipping Lord Vishnu.
  • There is a popular belief among the pilgrims that only those who are gifted get an opportunity to visit the temple or get ‘darshan’.

Do’s and Don’ts to Make your Muktinath Yatra Easy

Why do people go on pilgrimages? Maybe because it is a chance to connect with God and his creations! Whatever your status might be, in that holy place, everyone is equal. One such place where you feel at peace and with God is – Muktinath.

For those of you planning a yatra to Muktinath, you might find this write-up useful. Muktinath means Mukti – Nirvana or Salvation, Nath – Master or God. For Hindus, this is an important pilgrim spot and holds a lot of importance.

ChumigGyatsa(hundred waters in Tibetan) or the Muktinath temple is like a symbol between the subsistence of Buddhists and Hindus. It is believed that Lord Vishnu attained salvation from Brinda’s (Jalandhar’s wife) and thus is worshipped as the Lord of Salvation.

As per Hindus, a visit to the temple of Muktinath can help you attain Nirvana from the cycle of rebirths. It is believed that when you take a bath in the 108 waterspouts which flow from bullheads and from the two ponds or Kundas, it brings you salvation.

Do’s – What Should you Do On your Muktinath Yatra?

If your next visit is to the beautiful temple of Muktinath, then you ought to not only know the religious significance, but you also need to respect and follow any local rules which are followed by the nation of Nepal. That way, you will not come across any problems, and you would have a peaceful darshan.

Let us have a look at some things or ‘do’s that you should follow while visiting the Muktinath temple.

  • The temple is open throughout the year. But many pilgrims prefer visiting during festivals like Ram Navami, Rishitarparni, and Vijaya Dashami.
  • It goes without saying that any religious or Hindu temple – one ought to remove their shoes.
  • It would be a good idea to deposit your valuables or other belongings in lockers which are provided by the temple authorities before you enter.
  • Please do appropriate clothing. Anything that is revealing or provocative is not appreciated and might put you in trouble. For women, even pants or slacks are frowned upon. It would be better to wear skirts or cover your pants with a sarong.
  • When you revolve around the temple, ensure that you do so in a clockwise direction.
  • The best months to visit the Muktinath temple are from March to May and then September to November. The weather is generally clear, and one can observe the beautiful mountains during this period.
  • It is best to at least have light winter clothing always with you. Even during summers, it might get a little chilly in the evenings due to the altitude.
Don’ts – What Should You NOT do On your Muktinath Yatra?

Having looked into the ‘Do’s,’ now let us have a look at some ‘don’ts’ or things that you should be avoiding while visiting the Muktinath temple –

  • It is pretty much understood that one should not indulge in drugs, drinking, or smoking during their visit and inside the temple complex.
  • Photography is not allowed within the temple complex even when there are special festivals or so. You can take pictures of the exterior, though.
  • Any outward show of affection or any immoral acts is not welcome at such places. So kindly avoid it.
  • Leather items like belts, purses, or any other leather goods are strictly not allowed inside temple premises. This is why lockers are provided where you can deposit such items before entering.
  • It would be best to avoid the rainy seasons, which are usually between June to August as the rains can be pretty heavy and inconvenient for traveling.
Points to consider when you plan your trip to Muktinath Temple
  • Nepal, though it is considered a Hindu nation, most people here eat non-vegetarian food. Hence if you are a vegetarian, you will need to be specific and do a little research before visiting. This being said, there are a few vegetarian restaurants.
  • Indians do not need a visa or passport. Some form of identification will suffice. However, if you plan to fly in, then it is best that you carry your passport.
  • Other nationalities would require carrying their passport.
  • Certain nationalities can attain a visa on arrival, while some nationalities like those from Nigeria, Ghana, and Iraq, etc. will need to arrange for a visa beforehand.
  • When you travel from Pokhara towards Muktinath, whether it is by trekking, by road or by air, you will need to take two permits since it comes under a conserved region. It is also a restricted and trekking zone. The permits are the ACAP or Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit and the TIMS or Trekker’s Information Management System Permit.
How to reach Muktinath temple?

There are several ways one can reach the Muktinath temple-

  • Pilgrims can take a flight straight from Pokhara to Jomsom. From there, you can hike up for about 7 to 8 hours.
  • Else you can take a bus or a jeep from Pokhara after Jomsom one can only take four-wheel drives to Muktinath. The whole journey can take upto 13 to 14 hours.
  • If you are short of time, you can also hire a helicopter from Kathmandu or Pokhara.

There are many travel agencies that have different kinds of tours. You can select depending on your budget and how much time you can take out.

The Final Word

A visit to the Muktinath Yatra is said to be life-changing. Several pilgrims visit this temple every year, whether they are Hindus, Buddhists, lots of westerners, and probably even Christians. It can be a thrilling and yet very spiritual journey for each and every pilgrim. What better place to experience God, his creation, nature, mountains, and snow.

The serenity of the place itself brings inner peace. It is believed that you lose all your sorrows and miseries once you visit this temple. So, if you plan to visit the Muktinath temple, please try and follow all the tips given above so you can have a safe and smooth journey, stay, and a nice Darshan.