MUKTINATH is a Vishnu temple which is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists religion. Muktinath is located in Thorong La mountain pass at Muktinath valley in Mustang district of Nepal. This temple is one of the world’s highest temples in the world at the altitude of 3800m from the sea level. According to the Hindu religion, this temple is also known as Mukti Kshetra, which means the ‘place of liberation’ (moksh) and also known as Char Dham of Nepal.
The temple is small in size which contains a human-sized golden statue of Lord Vishnu as Shri Mukti Narayan. There are also temples of Bhoodevi (the Earth-goddess form of Lakshmi), the goddesses Saraswati and Sita, Garuda (the mount of Vishnu), Lava-Kusa (the sons of Rama and Sita) and the Sapta Rishis which was created by Lord Brahma. And also there is an old Buddhist monk present in the temple and worship is conducted by Buddhist nuns.
According to the Buddhist religion this place is known as Chumig Gyatsa, which means “Hundred Waters” in Tibetan language. Muktinath is an important place of dakinis, goddesses known as SKY Dancers, and one of the 24 Tantric places for the Tibetan Buddhists. They said that the murti (statue) to be manifestation of Avalkitesvara, who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. Buddhists conduct worship with a Buddhist monk in the temple and offer a Prasad to the deity. Buddhist and Hindu claim that this site is only one place on the Earth to host all five elements; fire, earth, air, sky and water from which all materials things are made in the universe.
The word MUKTINATH is formed by two words, Mukti and Nath where Mukti means “Salvation or Nirvana” and Nath means “God or Mater”. This Muktinath is a Sanskrit name which has religious overtone and a sort of emotional ring to it for the devout Hindus. There is a belief that this world is “MAYA” (an illusion) of a life cycle of birth and rebirth. There are 108 waterspouts in the backyard of the temple which is called as Muktidhara from which frozen water continuously flow from the bullhead and two Kunda in front of the temple. It is believed that taking bath in these 108 waterspouts and two kunda believes to bring salvation and washing away all sins. So that devotees take their sacred bath even in the freezing temperatures. The Kali Gandaki riverbed downstream from Muktinath is the sole source of the rare Shaligram stones that are required to establish a temple of Vishnu anywhere in the world.
Muktinath is considered as a holiest place as well as famous tourist area. It’s a bit of a hike and of course very high so you may be breathless slightly but the views are incredible over the town. There is a facility of transportation for this site. You can take vehicles from Pokhara and if you are interested in flight then you have to take a flight of Jomsom because there is no airport in Muktinath, Mustang. This place is known as the place behind the mountains. This place lies near the Dhaulagiri Mountain. We have to cross the Dhaulagiri Mountain, so we can see many natural beauties while travelling this site. People go trekking from Pokhara to Muktinath in a group which may takes more than a week. People love to walk around this way. The way to this site is off-road, so most of the people go in the bike. It only takes one day to reach Mustang from Kathmandu and Pokhara. The weather of this place is always cold. So if you are interested in visiting this site be aware of cold and be prepared for it. The cool wind blows from your face and washes all your pain and tiredness when you reach there. You will pass lots of waterfalls and can spot many snow-capped mountains views in the way to Muktinath.
September to October is the best time to visit Muktinath temple. At this time trekking trials will be full of trekkers. The tour of Muktinath will be a worthful and easy during these months.
From March to May months, the temperature is quite moderates, especially the rhododendrons, National flower of Nepal are in complete blossom and the mountain views are excellent. This season is also favorable to visit Muktinath. June to August, this month is tough for trekkers due to the landslide on the way to reach the temple.
December to February, this time is winter season, so it will be extremely cold on the high mountains trekking but suitable time for lower altitude trekking mountain below 3500m. Muktinath site get covered by the snow in these months. So the tour of Muktinath might be best by helicopter during these months.