Places to Visit in Nepal @ Jomsom, Muktinath and Surroundings
Jomsom, Muktinath and Surroundings
Kali Gandaki Valley (2713M)North of Pokhara, Nepal's spectacular diversity appears at its finest in the form of Kali Gandaki Valley. This deep valley and its high mountains encircling the giant Annapurna peak embrace a wide range of ethnic groups and terrain, from subtropical jungle to a high, dry landscape resembling the Tibetan Plateau. Kali Gandaki Valley is one of the most popular trekking regions, attracting over 75% of Nepal's tourists (more than 30,000 annually). It's also among the tamest areas, with excellent lodges lining the main routes. The sceneries and culture of the valley are incomparable.
Tukuche (2590 M)Tukuche was once the most important Thakali Village. Tukuche (tuk – grain & che – Flate Place) was the meeting place where traders coming with slat and wool from Tibet and upper Thak Kola valley bartered with traders carrying grains from the south. A dramatic change in the vegetation, from pine and conifer forests to dry, desert-like country is visible in this stretch of land. Beside this agriculture rich area, the flow of air between the peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri create strong winds that whirl up the valley. The breezes blow gently from the north during the early hours of the day, then shift to powerful gusts from the south throughout the late morning and afternoon.
MarphaMarpha is situated in Nepal's Kali Gandaki Valley, the deepest valley in the world. One of the most beautiful stops on the Annapurna Circuit trek, Marpha is known as the "capital of apples". Surrounded by apple orchards and fields where mainly buckwheat, potatoes and maize are grown, the Thakali people of Marpha make a living from animal husbandry, trade and tourism. Apple rings are one of the various products of Marpha. They are exported by Thakali traders to cities like Pokhara and Kathmandu . Traditionally, fruits are dried in baskets on the flat rooftops of the stone houses, whereas nowadays the use of mechanical solar apple dryers shows the villagers' effort to modernise the place. With cable TV in almost every household, Marpha is getting more and more westernised. Recently, some of the hotels have started using washing machines thus reducing the workload of women.
Eklo Bhatti (2730M)Despite its name, it is a substantial outpost where the Hotel Hill Ton, Hotel Monal and Holiday Inn offer you a chance to get out of the wind. In the Kagbeni you can shop for all kinds of Tibetan something and also a break to eat something. The direct route to Muktinath leads straight up hill behind the village.
DangarjongDagarjong is a prominent massif on the northern parts of Jomsom approximately 500m above the valley. This prominent peak offers a splendid vista of the Kaligandaki valley and Tibetan plateau in the horizon. The views of Mt. Nilgiri, Tukuche and Annapurna range is breathtaking.
ShyangA small sleepy town left aside through the ages, as it is perched high on a plateau, away from the route, it was left aside and this has been a boon in disguise. Though the surrounding villages have prospered and developed, as Shyang was left aside; it has maintained its century old tradition of living. It is worthwhile visit this forgotten village and marvel at the simplicity of life.
Dhumba LakeA sacred turquoise lake nestled in the lap of Mt. Nilgiri. Legend says this lake water turned red on its own and it was only after performing a long and devoted religious ceremony, the lake water slowly began to return to its natural turquoise color and since then it is considered a sacred lake. This lake today attracts people from surrounding areas in all their finery and bright colors in all shapes, sizes and ages. They throng this lake for prayers that similar changes for betterment may occur in their life.
Kagbeni (2810 m)Kagbeni is a green Oasis at the junction of the Jhong khola and Kali Gandaki River. It looks like a town out of the medieval past, with closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleyways, imposing chorines and a large, ochre-colored gompa perched above the town. Many people still dress in typical Tibetan clothes their innocence and ever-cheerful faces always brighten the drab surrounding. Kagbeni is the northernmost village in this valley that foreigners may visit on a normal trekking permit. The police check post at the northern end of the village fastidiously prevents tourists from proceeding towards Lo-Manthang, the walled city of Mustang without the proper documentation.
Thini VillageThini Village is an outstanding village on the other side of Jomsom. Its strategic location overlooking the salt route still commands respect. Most of the traders and citizens scattered around Kali Gandaki basin have their ancestral home in this fascinating and oldest village of Thini. Inhabited by elders while the young goes off to greener pasture, this village is worth visiting.
Jharkot (3500m)Jharkot, with its picturesque 'Kani' and large gompa is well worth exploring and many people suggest staying here instead of Muktinath. There are some peach trees nearby; people press the peach seeds to mark oil. Across the valley you can see the ruin of Dzong, the ancient capital of this region and smaller of Purang and Changur. Climbing over some walls then trekking past the village crossing the mule stables and climbing up a steep barren hillside, immediately gives you that sense of adventure in this postcard scenery.
Ranipauwa (3710M)After passing through Khingar and Zharkot villages the first part of Muktinath that you reach at 3710m is known Ranipauwa and is the site of a large rest house for pilgrimage and a host of hotels, bhattis and camping places.
Ranipauwa (3710M)Muktinath, the temple of the Lord of salvation is also one of the holiest among myriad temples in Nepal. It is believed that all miseries and sorrows are reassured once you visit this temple (Mukti=Nirvana, Nath=God). The temple lies in the district of Mustang and is situated about 18km northeast of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3,749m. The main shrine is a pagoda shaped temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Set into the wall around it are 108 water spouts from which pour holy water. The temple is situated on a high mountain range and is visited during fair weather. The Muktinath temple is holy for both Hindus and Buddhists. There are two ways to get to Muktinath from Kathmandu via Pokhara to Jomsom and hike for 7-8 hours via Kagbeni or to trek all the way from Pokhara which takes 7-8 days. It is believed that one should visit this temple after competing pilgrimages of hour Dhams in India. This temple held sacred by Hindus as well as Buddhists. The temple is on the way of the Annapurna Circuit.