pilgrimage trek to Muktinath

Off to the sacred place of salvation मुक्तिनाथ.

"It's your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you."

Photo credits:
Bhuwan Maharjan, Mahatma4711, Vyacheslav Argenberg, Artis Rams, tcy3282 and Rocksee.

your private Poon Hill & Muktinath trek

Annapurna & Mustang

12-14 days

medium

3800 meter

guide

hotel & mountain lodge

about this trek

This trekking, following the final part of the sacred pilgrimage to Muktinath, is part of the Annapurna circuit. The main feature of this trek is walking through the gorge carved by the Kali Gandaki river, which, carries water from the Tibetan plateau to eventually join the Ganges in India.

Muktinath is a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists located in Muktinath Valley (3710m) at the foot of the Thorong La, world's highest mountain pass. To the Hindu, Muktinath is a sacred place of salvation because they believe that to wash in the water here guarantees salvation after death. To the Buddhist it is the place that the great sage Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated at. Furthermore it is the source of fossilized ammonites, known locally as shaligrams that are found all along the upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki River valley.

The central shrine of Muktinath is considered one of the eight most sacred shrines. This particular temple is very small and one of the most ancient Hindu temples of God Vishnu. In the temple is an old Buddhist monk present and if you're lucky you may see very young monks studying as well.

The courtyard has 108 bull faces through which water flows of freezing temperature. In this sacred water and in the water of two pools nearby devotees take their sacred bath, even in freezing temperatures.

alternative trekking route

Curious about the diversity in Nepal's nature & culture or like to cross world's highest mountain pass? Take a look at our Annapurna Round trek in which the route takes you to Muktinath via Hindu villages in lush jungles, Tibetan Buddhist villages in the high, barren mountains and finally ... over Thorong La pass (5416m).

You could also explore remote Upper Mustang and the ruins of the palace of the ancient Kingdom of Lo.

altitude

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itenerary

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day 01 | Pre-trip meeting.

day 02 | Drive to Pokhara.

day 03 | Drive to Nayapul (1010m) and trek to Tikhedunga (1565m) - 3 hrs.

day 04 | Trek to Ghorepani (2870m) - 5 hrs.

day 05 | Hike up to Poon Hill (3210m) and trek to Tatopani (1202m).

day 06 | Trek to Ghasa (2008m) - 5 hrs.

day 07 | Trek to Tukche (2580m) - 6 hrs.

day 08 | Trek to Kagbeni (2800m) - 5 hrs.

day 09 | Trek to Muktinath (3800m) - 5 hrs.

day 10 | Trek back to Jomsom (2700m) - 5 hrs.

day 11 | Morning flight to Pokhara.

day 12 | Sightseeing around Pokhara. 

day 13 | Drive back to Kathmandu.

day 14 | Transfer for your final flight departure.

Note: it's possible to combine your trek with other activities such as white water raftingwildlife safari in the jungle or a city tour in Pokhara. Your itinerary can be customized according to your wishes and the duration of your stay in Nepal.

Contact us for more information.

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day 01 | Pre-trip meeting.
By Mountain People welcomes you at your hotel for a pre-trip meeting. We introduce you to your guide (and porters) and we talk about the trekking route. If you have any questions or requests, we would like to hear them from you.

Note: During your pre trip meeting we introduce you to your trekking guide. Please make sure you bring your passport to the meeting along with three copies and a readable copy of your travel insurance policy. During this meeting we request you to clear the due balance if any, and sign the legally binding trip form as well as the non-liability disclaimer.

overnight at a hotel

day 02 | Drive to Pokhara - 7 hrs.
Early morning, around 6.30am we pick you up at your hotel and bring you to the bus station. The bus to Pokhara leaves around 7.30am. Pokhara is located in a beautiful valley set on the banks of Phewa Lake. The city is also known for its panoramic views of Annapurna, Machapuchare (shape of fish tail) in the north, Dhaulagiri in the west, Lamjung Himal and Manaslu in the east. It is smaller and much less hectic than Kathmandu, hence it is the perfect starting point for our trek.

overnight at a hotel

day 03 | Drive to Nayapul and trek to Tikhedunga - 3 hrs.
In one hour we drive with a private vehicle to Nayapul where our trek begins. After a short 15-minute walk along the banks of the Modi Khola we reach Birethanti (1010m), a large village with many shops and teahouses. From there, our trail continues through the village and follows the north bank of the Bhurungdi Khola. Then the trail climbs steadily up the side of the valley to Hille (1490m) and after a short climb we reach Tikhedhunga (1565m). Today’s walk is relatively short and easy, a prelude to our trekking experience in the Annapurna region.

overnight at a mountain lodge

day 04 | Trek to Ghorepani - 5 hrs.
Today we start with a steep climb to Ulleri, a large Magar village (2070m). After the village the trail ascends more gently, through fine forests of oak and rhododendrons towards Banthanti (2250m). Then we trek towards Nangethanti (2460m). After one more hour of walking we arrive at Ghorepani (2870m) where we spend the night.

overnight at a mountain lodge

day 05 | Hike up to Poon Hill and trek to Tatopani - 6 hrs.
Early morning, around 5am we begin our hike to Poon Hill (3210m). It takes an hour to climb from Ghorepani to Poon Hill, one of the best Himalayan viewpoints in Nepal. Here we can have a spectacular view over the Himalayan ranges with an amazing sunrise.

After beholding the views, we return to Ghorepani for a good breakfast and set off. Off to Tatopani (1202m).

First the trail makes a steep descent to Chitre (2390m). As the trail drops down through Sikha, the hills are extensively terraced. Sikha (1980m) is a large village with shops and lodges. From there the trail descends gently to Ghara (1705m). A further steep descent of 500 meters takes us to the Ghar Khola river, which we cross via a suspension bridge. We then climb up above the Kaligandaki River before crossing that one too.

Then we turn north to Tatopani (1202m). Tato means ‘hot’ and pani is ‘water’, a name earned by the delightful natural hot springs by the river.

overnight at a mountain lodge

day 06 | Trek to Ghasa - 5 hrs.
Today the trail climbs up the Kali Gandaki gorge, considered to be the deepest in the world which is situated between the two over 8000 meters high peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. The trail rises gently up to Dana (1405m) and onto Rupse Chhahara (1550m) where we can see a stunning waterfall. As the trail crosses to the eastern bank of the river, we reach Kopchepani which crosses back to the western side on a suspension bridge (1945m). Then there’s only a short climb left to Ghasa (2008m).

overnight at a mountain lodge

day 07 | Trek to Tukche - 5/6 hrs.
We start the day by crossing the eastern side of the river which we cross back again further up the trail before entering Larjung (2562m). The trail continues on a short distance to the interesting village of Khobang with its narrow alleyways. Then we spend the night at the ancient Thakali village Tukuche (2580m).

overnight at a mountain lodge

day 08 | Trek to Kagbeni - 5 hrs.
From Tukuche we climb along the side of the valley to Jomsom (2700m). Jomsom is a large, bustling settlement and is the administrative center of the region that contains an airport, an army camp, hotels, shops, banks and government offices.

We cross the river to the eastern bank and walk towards Eklai Bhatti (2730m). From here we take a direct route to Muktinath that ascends the hill behind the village. However we follow the trail along the river to Kagbeni (2800m) which is situated at the junction of the Jhong Khola & the Kali Gandaki which is the most northern village that can be visited without a permit to continue on to Mustang. This village is fascinating with its rich Tibetan cultures and their unique hospitality.

overnight at a mountain lodge

day 09 | Trek to Muktinath - 5 hrs.
We make a steep climb up the Jhong Khola valley leaving Kagbeni and join the direct trail to Muktinath just below Khingar (3200m). From here our trail continues high above the Jhong Khola to the imposing village of Jharkot (3500m) which is well worth exploring. We take a break here for lunch before we continue to Muktinath.

As we leave Jharkot the trail climbs up to our ultimate destination of Muktinath (3800m). We initially visit Ranipauwa with its many teahouses and shops and overnight here. A 10 minutes’ walks further uphill rewards us with the actual religious site of Muktinath. This area is kept free of hotels and camping sites.

Muktinath is a pilgrimage center for Buddhists and Hindus. There we can see Tibetan traders as well as sadhus from the far south of India who came here on foot. There are shrines in a grove of trees including a Buddhists Gompa and the Vishnu temple of Jwalamai. An old temple nearby shelters a spring and natural gas jets that provide Muktinath’s famous eternal flame. It’s the earth-water-fire combination that accounts for Muktinath’s great religious significance.

overnight at  a mountain lodge

day 10 | Trek back to Jomsom - 5 hrs.
Today we follow the same trail nearby Kagbeni, follow a new trail down to the Eklebhatti and then again follow the same trail to Jomsom (2700m).

overnight at a mountain lodge

day 11 | Morning flight to Pokhara - 1/2 hr.
A 30-minute morning flight takes us to Pokhara. This is also an extra day in case of bad weather in Jomsom.

overnight at a hotel

day 12 | Sightseeing around Pokhara.
Pokhara is a lovely place to relax from your trek. For instance you can enjoy dinner at Lakeside, fly like an eagle by paragliding or give yourself a relaxing treatment or massage at the spa.

overnight at a hotel

day 13 | Drive back to Kathmandu and farewell dinner.
Today we take you back to Kathmandu and have farewell dinner in a traditional Nepalese restaurant in the evening.

You also have the option to extend your trip by for instance visiting Chitwan for a jungle safari, a rafting adventure, a shopping tour in Kathmandu Valley, a scenic Everest flight, mountain biking or other activities. Contact us for more information.

overnight at a hotel

day 14 | Transfer for your final flight departure.
For now the trip has ended and we bring you back to the Kathmandu International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal. We thank you for your stay in Nepal and traveling with by Mountain People and we hope to welcome you again in the future!

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cost includes

  • airport transfer and drop off
  • trekking permit
  • flight ticket JMO-PKR
  • experienced, English speaking guide
  • porter per two persons
  • government taxes, VAT and tourist service charges
  • accommodation during your trekking
  • breakfast, lunch and dinner during your trekking
  • accommodation in Kathmandu & Pokhara (4 nights)

cost does not include

  • Nepal entry visa
  • Nepal airport and airfare departure tax
  • travel health insurance
  • meals in Kathmandu
  • alcohol, hot and cold drinks
  • trekking equipment
  • tips for trekking staff and drivers
  • all other expenses that are not mentioned below 'cost includes' 

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reviews

Post Author
Lilly
On my very first day in Nepal, back in 2013, I met Govinda and we've been best (!) friends ever since. Govinda and I have been on quite some treks in Nepal together and traveled in Sir Lanka and Europe as well. And now we also work together with by Mountain People. Back in the Netherlands I take care of the website and I am always planning a next stay in Nepal. But hey ... what are you up to? :)