To followers of Hinduism and Buddhism all around the world, Muktinath (3,800 ft.) is a holy place of worship. Offering prayers at the Muktinath temple and bathing at the 108 water sprouts around it is believed to wash away the sins of an individual.
According to Hinduism, Lord Bramha hosted a grand ceremony ‘Yogrup Yagya’ in search of salvation at Muktinath, after which he was granted with the power of creation. Lord Bramha, Lord Shiva and Lord Bishnu were all said to be present during the ceremony. After the Yagya was complete, it is believed that all three gods remained at Muktinath.
Inside the temple premises, Hindus and Buddhists have their own definitions of the idols. The Hindus worship the main idol as Lord Bishnu and the ones beside them as Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati. Buddhist priest Jhuma worships the main idols as ‘Luwang Garbo’, meaning the king of snakes, and the idols beside them as ‘Naagdevi’ or the goddess of Snakes.
According to Hinduism, Lord Bramha hosted a grand ceremony ‘Yogrup Yagya’ in search of salvation at Muktinath, after which he was granted the power of creation. Lord Bramha, Lord Shiva, and Lord Bishnu were all said to be present during the ceremony. After the Yagya was complete, it is believed that all three gods remained at Muktinath.
The underground water at Muktinath is the source that formed the 108 sprouts. However, Buddhists have the theory that when 80 Indian Buddhist monks visited the Kailash Parbat, they brought the water from there to Muktinath and stored it to form the 180 water sprouts.
Besides the main temple, Muktinath consists of many other attractions such as the ancient Narsingh Cave, Gumbas, and the Jwalamai Temple. The great teacher of Buddhism – Padmasambhava's statue is inside the Narsingh Cave; he was said to have meditated in Muktinath during his trip to Tibet. The premises of Muktinath enclose a stone statue of Lord Budhha and Ranipauwa bazaar host the huge statue of Guru Padmasambhava.
The Base Camp of Muktinath – Ranipauwa hosts a lot of devotees in hotels, lodges, and inns. There is a tradition of visiting Kaagbeni to host Shraadha (Ceremony to pray for the souls of the dead in the family) before visiting Muktinath. Kagbeni sees a huge flow of devotees during the time of Dashain – the main festival of Nepal, although there is no need to mark an auspicious date to visit. The path to Muktinath and Upper Mustang diverge at this very point.
How to reach Mustang:
- Kathmandu-Pokhara flight (25 mins) / Kathmandu-Pokhara drive 200km (6 hours)
- Pokhara- Jomsom flight (16mins) / Pokhara-Beni drive 82km (3 hours bus ride) & Beni – Jomsom 75 km ( 5 hours bus ride)
- Jomsom- Muktinath 22km ( 2 hours Jeep Drive)