Jomsom and Muktinath
Jomsom and Muktinath area in Annapurna Region is one of the most diverse and spiritually rich areas in Nepal. Home to the Hindu and Buddhist shrine of Muktinath, it is an important pilgrimage center in the eastern Himalayas.
While Muktinath is the abode of Lord Vishnu and the place to attain moksha or salvation for Hindus, for Buddhists it is the shrine of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion.
It is believed that Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, meditated at this place while traveling to Tibet. The temple lies close to the banks of the Kali Gandaki River, a source of ‘Saligrams’ or ammonite fossils. Saligrams are considered to be a representation of Lord Vishnu.
For Hindu pilgrims bathing under the 108 water spouts or ‘Mukti Dhara’ located at the backyard of the temple is a must, as it is believed that the water from the Gandaki River washes away one’s sins. A couple of steps away from the main temple lies the Jwala Mai Temple lit up by the eternal flame. Towards the north of Muktinath Temple is the Marme Lha Khang Gompa dedicated to Guru Rinpoche.
To reach Muktinath one needs to fly or drive on a gravel road from Pokhara to Jomsom. From Jomsom, it’s only an hour and a half drive to the shrine of Muktinath. Located in Lower Mustang, Jomsom is the gateway to Lo Manthang, an ancient kingdom in Upper Mustang. Home to the enterprising Thakkalis, an ethnic community known for their business skills, Jomsom is the starting point of many treks leading to Upper Mustang.
With the construction of the highway, many trekkers now choose to end their Annapurna Circuit trek in Jomsom instead of walking all the way to Pokhara.
Devout pilgrims as well as adventurers can visit this area by taking an overland ride on a 4WD land cruiser or a short flight from Pokhara. The rough jeep track connecting Jomsom to Pokhara is ideal for an off-road motorbike adventure.
One of our popular Muktinath Yatra packages includes a detour to the shrine of Manakamana Mai in the Gorkha district. One can also cover the ancient Jomsom and Muktinath route on foot. To save time and energy you can fly to Jomsom and trek down to Pokhara via Tatopani.
For more inspiring ideas, check our Jomsom Muktinath itineraries designed by destination experts.