During the hike, the views of the Annapurna range are eye – appealing including Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri. The trail crosses to the other side of the main Himalayan range for some prominent views of the northern part.
You start your journey with a drive or flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and to Jomsom. As soon as you start your hike, you continue walking under the shade of rhododendron and fir forest loving the view of Annapurna at its best and pass through various ethnic settlement villages in between.
You will be walking along the dry and rough terrain to Kagbeni. A walk along the deepest gorge in the world – Kaligandaki gorge offers impressive views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range.
Next attraction of this hike is Muktinath temple. Muktinath temple is a popular spiritual site for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims and also renowned for the highest altitude temple situated at an altitude of 3800 meters.
According to Buddhist mythology, Muktinath is a place where Guru Rinpoche had meditated on his journey to Tibet. There is a Gompa built in this place that increase its spirituality.
Similarly, Muktinath is a popular temple of Lord Vishnu, the eternal flame in the temple is a major attraction. Another attraction is the courtyard of the temple that consists of 108 bull faced spouts that pours out cold water. A bath in that cold water is believed to purify your heart and your soul.
Jomsom is a beautiful and peaceful town situated on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. Jomsom hosts the Mustang district headquarters offices. There is a small airport in Jomsom.
Apart from it Jomsom offers fancy tea houses, hospitals, and a medical pharmacy. There are local markets for the area, high schools, and bus stations in Jomsom Bazaar.
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Jomsom Muktinath Hike Route
The Jomsom Muktinath Trek follows the beautiful Kali Gandaki valley and the isolated caste indigenous peoples of the Thakali tribes. On your way to Jomsom Muktinath, you will be walking through the Annapurna region, passing through paddy fields, and mostly passing through small villages that are dominant by the Gurung and Thakali residents.
You will explore the holy Buddhist sites similar to the holy Hindu pilgrimage area of Muktinath after visiting the holy Hindu pilgrimage site of Muktinath. Then you will descend to Jomsom where you will be able to see the entrance to the ‘Forbidden State of Mustangs’.
As soon as one reaches the Tatopani, one can enjoy the bath in natural hot springs i.e. Jhinu Hotspring. Poon Hill is another attractive point in the region that offers you the eye – appealing sunrise view with the backdrop of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range.
The scenery of Jomsom Muktinath Hike
During the Jomsom Muktinath hike, you are able to witness many snow – capped peaks that includes Nilgiri, Thorong peak, Thampus peak, Tukuche peak the seven highest mountain in the world i.e. Mount Dhaulagiri standing at an elevation of 8,167 meters. On this hike, one will have the opportunity to hike through the deepest gorge in the world; the Kaligandaki River gorge.
This hike is suitable for people with a moderate level of fitness and also for the beginner hikers. Continuing the hike along the Kaligandaki River Gorge and the breath – taking views of Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri peaks is major attraction of this hike.
As well as you will be visiting the beautiful scenery places such as, centuries-old monastery, local tribes, and caves during this hike.
Best Time for Jomsom Muktinath Hike
Jomsom Muktinath hike can be done throughout the year. However, the perfect/peak seasons for Jomsom Muktinath Hike are spring (March to May) and autumn (mid – September to mid – December).
In these seasons you will be offered with magnificent views of surrounding along with motivating weather to hike. Hiking in these moderate conditions are suitable for those who enjoy walking and want to explore in forests, deepest gorges, pilgrimage sites, deserted regions along with heart – warming views of Himalayas.
- Day 1 – Drive to Pokhara (820m), 8 hours by bus. Overnight at hotel in the Lakeside
- Day 2 – Fly to Jomsom (2720m) and trek from Jomsom to Kagbeni (2820m); 4 hours
- Day 3 – Hike from Kagbeni to Muktinath (3760m); 6 hours approx.
- Day 4 – Hike from Muktinath to Marpha (2670m); 6 hours
- Day 5 – Hike from Marpha to kalopani (2530m); 5 hours
- Day 6 – Hike to Tatopani (1190m); 6 hours approx.
- Day 7 – Hike from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2860m); 8 hours approx.
- Day 8 – Hike up to Poonhill (3193m) for sunrise view over Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalaya Range, then trek down to Ulleri (1430m); 5 hours
- Day 9 – Return to Kathmandu; 8 hours
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Naturally blessed along with diverse geographical structure, culture, religion, different ethnic group and remote villages within the boundary of the Jomsom Muktinath hike offers unique experience to the hikers.
Upper elevations are covered by the desert areas along with monastery, player flag, rocky stone, settlement of Tibetan tribe people and Buddhist religion practice whereas the low lands are delighted by the paddy fields, green forest and settlement dominant by Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakali, Gurung and Magar people who follows the Hinduism and Buddhism.
Muktinath is the highest place of this hike situated at an altitude of 3,800 meters. Muktinath temple is holy temple for Buddhists and Hindus.
There are two small lakes in front of the temple, natural gas fires “Eternal flame” inside the temple and 108 holy taps. It is believed that taking bath in the water or drinking water continually in these taps guarantees get salvation after death.
Difficulty during Jomsom Muktinath Hike
Jomsom Muktinath Hike falls under moderate hike to do in Nepal. However, being moderate hike there are some difficulties that one can face during the hike.
- Acute Mountain Sickness
As this hike highest altitude is 3800 meters, there is less chance of facing mountain sickness. However, the hikers might face Acute Mountain Sickness when reaching to Muktinath because of a sudden change in altitude.
Getting proper rest and acclimatization will surely help to avoid acute mountain sickness. Prevention is better than cure, so carrying the right medicines to deal with such situations is recommended.
- Uncertain Weather
Another difficulty you might face during your hike can be the unexpected change in the weather. The weather in the high altitude is unpredictable, sometimes you can get sudden showers during your trek.
Rainfall during the hike surely makes difficult to walk with slippery trail. So, it is better to trek in the autumn or spring season rather than other seasons to avoid uncertain weather.
- Rough terrain
Rough terrain is another difficulty that hiker may face during this hike. This hike being situated in the lower mustang region where you can find the terrain mostly dry and rough. Even with vehicles, the ride is extremely bumpy.
So without proper trekking boots and poles, it is kind of a hard walk for the hikers. However, with the help of proper gear and preparations, you can complete Jomsom Muktinath hike with less difficulty.
Major Attraction of Self Guided Jomsom Muktinath Hike
- Located in the Annapurna region at Mustang districts, north of Pokhara.
- Muktinath temple situated at 3,800m.
- Offers you magnificent sunrises and sunsets above breath-taking views of the entire Annapurna range.
- Walk through the world deepest George – Kaligandaki.
- Hindu and Buddhist pilgrim’s site in Muktinath sacred 108 water tap.
- Saligram (fossils) can be found on the riverbank of Kaligandaki, incarnations of the God Vishnu.
- Scenic flight/drive from Pokhara to Jomsom