Jomsom and Muktinath
Jomsom and Muktinath
Jomsom lies to the north of Pokhara in Mustang district, and is the main gateway to Upper Mustang. It lies to south of the village of Kagbeni, a Tibetan influenced village filled with prayer wheelsand a Buddhist monastery. The trail passing through Jomsom follows the Kali Gandaki River which forms the deepest ravine in the world; on one side lies the Annapurna Mountain range and on the other side is Dhaulagiri. The river freezes during winter and flows with rainwater and melting snow in summer and monsoon..
Architecture: The houses in Jomsom are designed to protect the inhabitants from the strong winds that blow up the valley every day from late morning onward. The best example of the unique architecture of this region is found in the village of Marpha which is a two-hour walk down from Jomsom, where one can find stone flagged streets with efficient underground drainage system and flat-roofed houses with a central courtyard. The strong winds that blow up the valley prevents flights from taking off from Jomsom after 11am.
Trekking: Jomsom is a great place to start trekking. The highlight is a trek through the deepest gorge in the world carved by the Kali Gandaki River, which originates in the Tibetan plateau. The trek starts from Naya Pool on the Pokhara to Baglung road and from there, via Ghorepani and Tatopani, into the gorge of the Kali Gandaki.
Muktinath is a Vishnu temple, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. To Hindus, Muktinath is a sacred place of salvation. They believe that bathing in the waters here guarantees salvation after death. The Hindu god, Brahma, is said to have lit the eternal flames that burn at Muktinath. To Buddhists, Muktinath is a place where the great sage Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who brought Buddhism to Tibet. This temple is praised by many saints of the Hindu tradition. It is one of the world's highest temples (altitude 3,800 m). It is known as Mukti Kshetra, which literally means the 'place of liberation' (moksh).
Design: The prakaram (outer courtyard) has 108 bull faces through which water is poured. The sacred water that flows in 108 pipes around the temple complex denotes the sacred Pushkarini waters (Temple Tanks) from the 108 Sri Vaishnava Divya Desams, where devotees take their sacred bath even in freezing temperatures. The central shrine of Sri Muktinath is considered by Hindu Vaishnavas to be one of the eight most-sacred shrines, known as Svayam Vyakta Ksetras.
How to reach: Best option - Take direct buses early morning from Kathmandu arrive Beni at night 8pm. From Beni take direct buses to Jomsom early in the morning. Thus arriving Muktinath by 12pm, This will enable plenty of time for darshan and also for return.