- Hiking / Trekking
It's a 7hr walk to get to the peaceful haven that is Muktinath, after about 900m of marching uphill and 1,600m down again. Every part of your body aches when you reach the village, even for the hardiest trekkers. Even if you have to go through the rigours of passing through the check point and are at the end of your 'tourist tether', nothing will decrease the pleasure of having got this far.
The surrounding landscape is less rugged and the Annapurnas backdrop is stunning.
If you're lucky, you'll find hot water - nothing better for easing muscles that have been deprived of a soak at previous stopovers.
*After the devastating earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May 2015 the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before these catastrophic events occurred.
You will arrive in Muktinath after a long journey. From Pokhara and the valley, the climb to the village takes more than 20 hours by jeep. If your stay in Nepal is quite short, the plane to Jharkot is a solution; however, the flights are frequently cancelled due to bad weather. You should also be prepared to wait a day or two in Pokhara.
The village, at the end of the path, has not changed in centuries. The temple, which is very small, is one of the eight most sacred sites for followers of Vishnu and it is also one of the oldest. A solid gold statue of the god is enthroned there and, in the court, there are 108 flowing fountains that wash away the sins of the pilgrims.
Another must-see is the eternal flame, springing from a natural gas leak in the rock, whose light never goes out. The place is also sacred for Buddhists and today a Lama takes care of the places.
*Afterthe powerful earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May of 2015, the country is slowly rebuilding itself. This article was written before the catastrophe.