A Trip to Jomsom & Muktinath

Jomsom is a small town located in the discreet region of Mustang district. The Muktinath temple in the outskirts of Jomsom is major attraction of the region. A tourist destination, Jomsom is also an important economic and geographic hub connecting Nepal with Tibet.


Jomsom

Jomsom is the district headquarter of Mustang region. It connect Upper Mustang with other important cities in the South. Also known as Dzong-Sampa or New Fort,  it is located at the altitude of 2,700 meters; and covers Kali Gandaki river on both sides.

Kali Gandaki Gorge
Kali Gandaki Gorge

The Dhaulagiri and Nilrigi peaks are clearly visible from the town, along with the northern side of Annapurna mountain range.

It is 67 km away from the tourist city of Pokhara. You can choose to take a short flight, bus or jeep to Jomsom from Pokhara. The road can be treacherous throughout the year due to its poor condition. It goes along the side of Kali Gandaki until Jomsom, and passes through important towns of Beni, Parbat, Lete and Marpha.

The region is also popular for its unique apples and locally produced wine. Marpha exports most of its apples and wines to nearby towns.

It also forms a section of the greater Annapurna circuit trek and Upper Mustang trek. One must reach Jomsom to access the discreet Upper Mustang region, however, you aren’t required to obtain ‘restricted area’ permit to reach until Jomsom.

Muktinath

Muktinath is a temple located at the Muktinath town in the outskirts of Jomsom. Located at 3,710 meters on the foot of Thorong La pass, it is mostly visited by both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims.

In Hinduism, the temple is considered to be 106th among the available 108 Divya Desam (premium temples) considered sacred by the Sri Vaishnava sect. The Hindu pilgrims must visit the temple one their lifetime and offer prayer along with holy bath under the 108 stone taps available inside the temple premise.

In Buddhism, Muktinath is considered an important place of dakinis, goddesses known as Sky Dancers, and one of the 24 Tantric places. They understand the statue to be a manifestation of Avalokiteśvara, who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas.

It is believed that, Guru Ringpoche (the founder of Tibetan Buddhism) mediated at Muktinath before heading towards Tibet.

The temple is located 22 km away from the Jomsom town. One must take a locally available jeep, mule or bus to reach Muktinath. You can also choose to trek. The area is flourished with newly opened hotels, restaurants, shops and other services.

Due to its sheer altitude and geographical proximity, the temple remains inaccessible throughout Monsoon and Winter.


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Kali Gandaki: The Hidden Gem of Nepal

Kali Gandaki is one of the largest rivers of Nepal and a tributary of the Ganges. It is known for its darker complexion, hence the name, “Kali,” which translates to Dark or Black in English.


Kali Gandaki

The Kali Gandaki river source lies at the border with Tibet at an elevation of 6,268 meters at the Nhubine Himal Glacier in the Mustang region of Nepal. The strong current of the river helps to generate the much needed hydroelectricity for the country.

Also known as the Narayani in Terai, once it crosses the border of Nepal, the river reaches India through the confluence Triveni with rivers Pachnad and Sonha; both descending from Nepal. It passes the through the Gangetic plains of Bihar and joins the Ganga at Patna.

The Gandaki river basin is may contain about 1,025 glaciers and 338 lakes, and it has been a source of livelihood and development of many settlements throughout Nepal, mainly; Lo Manthang, Beni, Jomsom, Bharatpur and Valmikinagar.


Kali Gandaki Gorge

The Kali Gandaki Gorge is the gorge located in the mid-western Nepal. The Kali Gandaki gorge is also known as the deepest canyon in the world, being 5,571 meters lower than Annapurna I which bounds it at one point.

The gorge separates Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, two of the mightiest mountains in the west of Nepal. The gorge is mostly used or crossed during the trek to Muktinath or the Annapurna circuit. The upper part of the gorge is also called Thak Khola after the local Thakali inhabitants who became prosperous from trans-Himalayan trade.