Muktinath Temple - Sacred Place For Hindus & Buddhists
Muktinath Temple in Mustang district is a holy place for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from all over Nepal and the world.
Muktinath Temple was built in the pagoda style, like most of the Hindu temples found in Nepal. Even though the temple is small, it has the statue of Lord Vishnu plated in gold, as tall as a human being.
Hindus from all over the world do visit Muktinath Temple, also known as Mukti Kshetra. So, the temple’s cultural importance is spread in the hearts of Hindus, mostly. But Nepal being a country of cultural and religious harmony, Buddhists also visit the temple and experience religious harmony here.
The temple is built in the Mustang district at the base of Thorong La pass. It stands at the altitude of 3800 m as a temple of devotion for both Hindus and Buddhists. From Pokhara, a jeep will stop just a kilometer away from the temple.
Importance of Muktinath Temple
Muktinath Temple is one of the four Hindu religious sites in Nepal, collectively called Char Dham. The temple’s touristic importance is the beautiful view from the temple like the Lower Mustang and Upper Mustang. But the temple’s religious significance also needs to be added to its touristic importance.
Muktinath temple was a holy place where yogis meditated and understood life. The yogis attained the state of liberation in the course of their life and didn’t have to reach death to experience this. That is why, Muktinath Temple carries that religious significance- being a sacred place where yogis found meaning within their mortal life.
Muktinath Temple is called ‘Mukti Kshetra’ by Hindus. It translates to the ‘place of salvation’. It is believed that a famous Tibetan Yogi, Shabkar rested in Muktinath in 1818 AD to connect well with the place. The temple was declared a sacred site by Hindus in the 19th century.
Myths about this attraction
According to Buddhist philosophy, in the 12th century Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism attained lifelong spiritual knowledge when he meditated here.
According to Hindu mythology, the Muktinath temple was one of the places where Lord Shiva walked with his dead first wife’s body, Sati. And, according to the mythology, Sati’s face (‘Mukh’ in Sanskrit) fell in Muktinath and that is how this temple got the name.
With such historical myths originating from Buddhist and Hindu beliefs, the Muktinath temple is celebrated by both of them. It is well-appreciated as a holy, sacred, and significant pilgrim site with the historical root as such.
Things to do in Muktinath Temple
Pilgrims and visitors do visit Muktinath Temple all year round. But the best time to visit would be March-May and October-November. Monsoon season isn’t recommended to visit the temple because the area goes through a lot of hazards and landslides in the rainy season.
Here are some things to do that you can do while you are in Muktinath Temple.
Worship Muktinath Temple
You should visit the entire temple and its beautiful shrine and take blessings from the human-size statue of Lord Shiva. You will be stepping into the worship activities of the deities there.
View Lower and Upper Mustang
From the temple, you can see the lower Mustang guarding the Upper Mustang. From the temple, you will be able to see the beauty of green fields and mountains spread across the Lower and Upper Mustang region.
Cleanse yourself under 108 stone taps
The stone taps are designed with bullheads as taps, you should complete the course of these 109 stone taps. The belief is that all your sins will be cleansed. This is something that is always on the list of things to do in Muktinath Temple. The water is ice cold, so beware if that usually causes you health problems.
Visit the Jwala Mai Temple
In this temple, three eternal flames burn by themselves. Under the eternal flames lies a water stream. The natural gas produced through that water stream is said to ignite this holy flame. It is one attraction of the Jwala Mai Temple.
View the mountainside around the temple
You will witness the beautiful view of Mount Dhaulagiri, Mount Tukuche, and Mount Nilgiri. On a bright and sunny day, you will see the far-spread snow capped mountains across the temple.