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Himalaya
20 May 2019, 05:44 AM
Muktianth is sacred site in the Himalaya of Nepal. It lies at the altitude of 3,710 m to the north of Annapurna massif at the base of Thorong peak. The place has great positive vibration. The very unusual combination of five elements air, water, fire, earth and sky has been going on as an eternal flame on the water makes the place extraordinary. The area also has Damoder Kunda believed as the place of origin of Saligram and Kagbeni the confluence of Gandaki River and Muktinath River known for salvation.

Muktinath is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. The site has been mentioned in prehistoric religious scriptures including the Sri Vaishnava literature. Muktinath means a place of salvation. According to the legend, this is where Lord Vishnu is present in manifestation of Saligram (ammonite). Vishnu was cursed to be Saligram by a demon queen Vrinda, who was also a great devotee of him. But her chastity had to be broken to make her demon husband Jalandhara’s betrayal.

This was a place visited by many sages and religious masters in the past. It is believed that the 8th century Buddhist master Padmashambhava also meditated at the site. His footprints on the rocks are still worshipped. The place is also one of the 51 Shakti Peetha known as Gandaki Chandi. It is believed that the ‘84 Shidda’ miraculously tapped water from Manasarovar through its 108 spouts. This is also among the 24 important places for Tantric practices. The main shrine has life-size statue of gold. Buddhists considered the main idol as the manifestation of Avalokeshower, the Buddha of compassion.

Muktinath is one of the hidden treasures in the Himalayas which was not discovered by outside world until recently. The only dedicated ascetics could reach the site for hundreds of years owing to its intricate geographical position. The pilgrimage in the past involved month of walking through the world’s deepest valley wedged between two 8,000 m peaks, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. The other side of the Valley funnels in air in high pressure making it the windy valley. Strong wind, harsh weather and arid landscape possessed another challenge to pilgrims. Over it the high altitude easily observes the energy, make one breathless and sick with altitude sickness.
In the last decade the road access has made it much easier for pilgrims to drive with 4WD. The driving trip takes about 2 days from Pokhara and back. The road journey is rough and tiring on a dirt road. There is also an airstrip for small aircrafts in the district capital of Jomsom. The 18 mints flight from Pokhara, cut down the tedious road journey making it much easier. From the district capital Jomsom, the road to Muktinath is tarred and the driving takes only about 1 and half hour. Jomsom is a scenic town at the northern base of Nilgiri Himal (7,061 m). Jomsom and Muktinath is one of the popular tourist destination in Nepal popular for its Tibetan culture and awe-inspiring Himalayan view. Muktinath pilgrimage tour (https://www.itournepal.com/tour/pilgrimagetour.php) is one of the must to visit place for all Hindus. The trip could also be an adventure holiday for family and group of friends.