Muktinath Temple, a sacred place for Hindhus and Buddhists
Photographer: Narendra Shrestha
The Muktinath Temple area in the Mustang District of Nepal is situated in an extreme environment, at an altitude of about 3,750 meters and surrounded by rugged, snow-clad mountains: Muktinath Temple, a sacred place in the middle of the Himalayas.
The temple is close to Ranipauwa, a small concregation of houses which also serves as a gateway to the Mt Annapurna circuit in the Mustang district. But for both Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims, Muktinath temple is first and foremost believed to be a place to get ‘Moksha’, liberation.
To get to the shrine, pilgrims can simply trek - or take a more convenient jeep ride from Pokhara city. The jeep stops about a kilometer away from the temple and the devotees have to walk the final distance. Those who can’t walk ride on horses, an important source of income for the local community.
The Mukitnath temple is also an attraction for the so-called Sadhus. These Holy Men from India and Nepal walk barefoot to the sacred shrine and mediate in extremely cold weather. When they arrive to the temple, some devotees sing religious songs and dance to celebrate the end of the pilgrimage.
Behind the temple, devotees then take a holy bath under the 108 stone taps, running the icy cold water from Mt Annapurana. After this ritual, they plunge into pools in front of the temple to cleanse impurities. Only then they enter the temple for worshipping. It is believed that, after taking the holy bath in these freezing cold waters, get salvation from all kind of sins committed in their life.
NOTA BENE: On 25 April 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Nepal and killed scores of people. The quake affected millions, destroyed houses, ancient temples and landmarks. The tremor however did not cause damage at the Muktinath Temple site, according to reports.