Muktinath

The beautiful Saligramam, or as it’s popularly known Muktinath, is a sacred pilgrimage site regarded highly in both the Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. From here, at a height of 3,710 meters, the world seems to open up in all its glory with stunning views of the magnificent Himalayan Mountains. There are many legends that tell how the holy shrine of Muktinath rose up on its own accord amongst seven others, which include Srirangam, Tirupati, Sri Mushnam, Thottadri, Naimisaranyam, Pushkaram and Badrinath. The holy shrine is also considered to be part of the 108 vaishnava shrines found here.

Most people wishing to travel to Muktinath will start their journey at Kathmandu from where they will take a quick flight or catch an excruciatingly long bus ride to Pokhara. Pokhara is the starting point for the trek up to Muktinath and the climb up the mountain is incredibly beautiful and worthwhile. At the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass, you will find the Muktinath temple complete with beautiful craftsmanship and mystical aura. The holy temple features 108 different waterspouts which is probably why the Buddhists call it Chumig Gyatsa, Tibetan for ‘Hundred Waters’. The different elements of earth, fire and water are artistically combined at this sacred place of worship to create a special atmosphere where one truly feels that they can find salvation. Hence the Hindus call the temple ‘Mukti Kshetra’ which means ‘place of salvation’.

It is interesting to note that Muktinath is considered to be one of the 24 Tantric places in the Tibetan Buddhist faith. According to tradition, Guru Rinpoche, who founded the Tibetan faith, stopped here to worship the Dakinis or ‘sky dancing goddesses’ on his way to Tibet. For Hindus the importance of the shrine is a bit different. Hindu Vashanavites consider the Muktinath shrine to be one of the eight most sacred shrines on earth. They consider the Muktinath to be one of the 108 holy places where a person should worship lord Vishnu. Whatever you believe, a trip to the Muktinath temple and shrine is definitely worth a visit. It features stunning water features, breath taking views and a man-sized idol of gold. Keep in mind that the best time to visit is between March and June since weather conditions at other times of the year make travel here difficult. As if the temple itself wasn’t enough, you will also see a number of great attractions along the way. So start making your plans to hike to the Muktinath temple in Nepal

POPULAR PLACES

Muktidahara:
Behind the temple there are 108 waterspouts (Dhara) name of “Muktidhara”. The 108 faucets in the shape of a head of a bull, closely arranged in a semi-circle with a gap of hardly a foot between the faucets, at a height of seven feet. The water from Gandaki River continuously flowing through the mouth of the bull. Pilgrims who visit the temple take a holy bath in each of these spouts. But as the water is ice cold it requires burning desire and courage to take a holy bath here. Hindu devotees take bath under chilled water of 108 waterspouts “Muktidhara” believing that it brings them salvation. It is also believed that the deity was originated from western part of Nepal. It has helped to make this area as center of Tourist attraction. In Janai Purnima Buddhist’s Yar tang Mala celebrated here

Kunda:
In front of Muktinath Temple there are 2 Kunda (Water pond), It called Saraswati & Laxmi Kunda, Where holy dip is believed it can wash away negative karma, the results of one’s past negative actions.

Gomba:
After completing prayer and puja at the temple a visit to Mharme Lha Khang Gomba, the monastery dedicated to Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) with his huge image situated to the North of Muktinath Temple.

Jwalamai Temple:
Continuously burning flame “Jwala Mai Temple” sound of flowing river is situated south of Muktinath Temple. The Jwala Mai temple has a spring and there are three eternal flames “Holy flame from soil”, “Holy flame from rock” and “Holy flame from water” fed by natural gas. Currently two flames are continuously burning. Hindu believes that this miracle of fire lighting was offering made by Brahma, Hindus worship the fire as Jwala Mai (Lit. Goddess of fire). The Buddhist called Dhola Mebar. Gomba Samba, a newly built monastery with main deities Sakyamuni, Chingresig and Guru Rimpoche situated at left from entrance gate of Muktinath temple complex, would be worth it.

Sri Murthy Mahatma:
This is the only place on earth where you can find all five elements from which everything is made, according to the Buddhist and Hindu tradition: fire, water, sky, earth and air at the same place together in their own and distinct from this place is near Jwala Devi temple.
According to Sri Vaishnava philosophy it is considered to be one of the Divya desam (108 in total) or holy places of worship of Lord Vishnu praised by Alwars in a compilation called the Nalayira Divya Prabandha.It is said that one has to be gifted to get the darshan of Lord Sri Murthi and Goddess Sri Devi Thayaar.