Muktinath Temple: A Sacred Destination for Hindus and Buddhists

Muktinath Temple is a holy shrine located in the Mustang district of Nepal, at an altitude of 3,710 meters. It is one of the world's highest temples and a place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists. In this blog post, I will explore the history, significance, and beauty of this temple, and share some tips on how to visit it.

History of Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe in Hinduism. The name Muktinath means "the lord of liberation" or "the lord of salvation". According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu attained salvation from the curse of Brinda, the wife of a demon named Jalandhar, at this place. Therefore, it is believed that visiting this temple can help one achieve moksha, or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Muktinath Temple is also one of the 108 Divya Desams, or holy abodes of Vishnu, and the only one located outside of India. The temple is mentioned in various ancient scriptures, such as the Vishnu Purana and the Gandaki Mahatmya. The temple is also revered by the Sri Vaishnava sect, who call it Tiru Shaligramam, after the sacred stones found in the nearby Gandaki river, which are considered to be the non-anthropomorphic representation of Vishnu.

Muktinath Temple is also a sacred site for Buddhists, who call it Chumig Gyatsa, meaning "hundred waters" in Tibetan. They believe that the temple is a manifestation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, who is also known as Chenrezig in Tibetan and Kannon in Japanese. According to Tibetan Buddhism, Guru Rinpoche, or Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, meditated at this temple on his way to Tibet. The temple is also one of the 24 Tantric places, where the goddesses known as dakinis, or sky dancers, reside.

Significance of Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple is a symbol of the religious harmony between Hindus and Buddhists, who worship the same deity in different forms. The temple complex consists of a pagoda-style main temple, a Buddhist monastery, a Vishnu temple, and a Shiva temple. The main temple has a gold-plated roof and a silver-plated entrance. Inside the temple, there is a statue of Vishnu in a sleeping posture, surrounded by idols of other Hindu gods and goddesses. There is also a natural gas flame that burns continuously behind the statue, which is considered to be one of the miracles of the temple.

The most remarkable feature of the temple is the 108 water spouts, or Muktidhara, that are arranged in the shape of a semi-circle behind the temple. These water spouts are fed by the Gandaki river, and they emit cold water throughout the year. Pilgrims take a bath in these water spouts, believing that it will cleanse their sins and grant them salvation. There are also two ponds, or Kundas, in front of the temple, where pilgrims dip their heads before entering the temple. The ponds are named after Lakshmi and Saraswati, the consorts of Vishnu and Brahma, respectively.

Another attraction of the temple is the Jwala Mai temple, or the temple of the eternal flame, which is located near the entrance of the main temple. This temple houses a natural gas flame that burns on a water surface, creating a fascinating sight. The flame is believed to be the combination of three elements: fire, water, and earth. The flame is also worshipped as the goddess Jwala Mai, or the goddess of fire.

 Beauty of Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple is not only a place of spiritual significance, but also a place of natural beauty. The temple is situated in the Muktinath Valley, at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass, which is the highest pass in the world. The valley offers a stunning view of the snow-capped mountains of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, as well as the Tibetan plateau. The valley is also rich in biodiversity, with various species of flora and fauna. The temple is surrounded by a lush green forest, which adds to its charm.

The temple is also a part of the famous Annapurna Circuit trek, which is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal. The trek covers a distance of about 160 km, and passes through various landscapes, such as forests, valleys, rivers, lakes, glaciers, and villages. The trek also offers a glimpse of the diverse culture and lifestyle of the people living in the region. The trek is a challenging but rewarding experience for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

 How to Visit Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from March to June and from September to November, when the weather is pleasant and clear. The temple can be reached by various modes of transportation, such as road, air, or trekking. The most common way to reach the temple is by taking a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, and then another flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, which is the nearest town to the temple. From Jomsom, one can take a jeep, a bus, or a motorcycle to reach the temple, which is about 24 km away. Alternatively, one can also trek from Jomsom to the temple, which takes about 5 to 6 hours.

Another way to reach the temple is by taking a road trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara, and then from Pokhara to Beni, which is the starting point of the road to Muktinath. From Beni, one can take a jeep, a bus, or a motorcycle to reach the temple, which is about 110 km away. The road trip offers a scenic view of the countryside, but it is also bumpy and dusty.

The most adventurous way to reach the temple is by trekking from Besisahar, which is the starting point of the Annapurna Circuit trek. The trek takes about 15 to 20 days, depending on the pace and the itinerary. The trek crosses the Thorong La pass, which is the highest point of the trek, at 5,416 meters. The trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it also requires a good level of fitness and preparation.


Muktinath Temple is a unique and sacred destination for Hindus and Buddhists, as well as a place of natural beauty and adventure. It is a place where one can experience the divine presence of Vishnu and Avalokitesvara, as well as the wonders of nature. It is a place where one can find peace, joy, and liberation. It is a place that is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.

Related Posts

Post a Comment