Muktinath Diary

Muktinath Diary

As

 a travel enthusiast, I die for a natural and adventurous journey.  Within one year, I planned to visit Lord Mukthinath Temple, but those plans were not executed. This time I left Kathmandu to my home town (Galyang Baglung) with the determination to visit Muktinath Temple.  With the arrival of Autumn, the village was abuzz with Hindus greatest festivals Dashain & Tihar. Beautifully painted village houses by red and white mud,  clear and pristine flowing rivers and streams, ripen paddy field, neither cold nor hot season, traditional bamboo swing ropes and charkhe ping were the features of this specific season. Perhaps, this might be the reason why our ancestors set culture to celebrate  the greatest Hindu festivals  “Bijaya Dashami and Diwali” in  this season. On tenth day of Dashain I was excited to embarked my solo motorcycle journey to Muktinath. My excitement was shadowing the value of this greatest day of Hindu religion Vijaya Dashami.  However, for formality  I took tika and blessings form my grandmother and mother quickly and headed towards my destination.

Day -1 Galyang – Baglung

I had shared about this  trip to some of my friends  but, for some reason no one has accepted my offer.  In the end, even I were alone but didn’t give up.  I tied my bag to pillion seat and commenced my journey with determination.  There was enthusiasm, passion, and zeal in my mind.  I left behind my village Galyang, Hatiya Bazar, Narethati, Chora till the top of Ghodabade and had a short rest. Now, I had to descent slippery road till Kathekhola, after  20 minutes of my ride I nearly slipped and fell down, saved myself form and accident. I crossed Kathekhola bridge at 2:30 p.m.  Gradually, I continued my ride overcoming the bumpy and slippery road of Bokshi ko Gairo and Ratamata and finally reached Baglung Bazar, the headquarter of Baglung . That night I stayed at my uncel’s house.

Day – 2 Baglung – Kagbeni

Probably due to fatigue, I did not know how quickly  I felt asleep without any mood swings while sleeping.  When I woke up at around 8 o’clock the next day, my uncle had cooked food for me.  After eating in a hurry, I left my uncle’s house to my destination. While filling petrol at the petrol pump, I asked petrol pumping  brother curiously about the way to Muktinath.  Frustrating my curiosity, he replied that his brothers had not been able to cross the Rupse waterfall about three days ago and had returned.  My determination to go to Muktinath for a moment was blown away by the cold wind.  I was shocked by the information.  How can you not be?  The mind began to play a lot of dilemmas.

Even though,   I was riding and I didn’t know where I was going for some moment.  Suddenly, my  ears were shaken by the  horn of the truck coming from the opposite direction at Maldhunga turning. My mind had not made any decision  until I crossing the bridge over Kaligandaki.  As soon as I crossed the bridge , I made a sudden decision.  Leaving the road to Kathmandu, I took the left  turn, which leads to Muktinath via Beni, Tatopani, Ghasa, Lete, Marfa, Jomsom and  Kagbeni.  Therafter  journey  was completely new to me.  About 13 km from Maldhunga, I reached Beni, the district headquarters of Magdi.

I decided to check mechanic failure of a bike  and stopped at a motorcycle workshop in Beni, After fixing some problems really I was ready for Muktinath trip as a solo rider.  The fear that the bike might break down somewhere along the way was still alive.  To alleviate this panic, I asked for the cell number of the workshop mechanical coincidentally, they used to provide mobile service in case of mechanical failure of a bike. Knowing this information was some sort of relief to me and further gave confident.   I was riding my bike on the dirt road further to  Beni Bazaar.  The farther I went, the more I felt like I was in the midst of a natural environment.  On the way, I proceeded to Galeshwar, a holy place of pilgrimage for Hindus, with a holy heart.

The narrow road, the sharp curves, the slippery roads, the ditches and the rocky roads were the hallmarks of that road.  Gradually crossing the bailey bridge over Kaligandaki was a repetitive task, sometimes Kaligandaki was on the right and sometimes on the left.  Most of the motorcyclists were found on the road and most of the time had to travel on bumpy and slippery roads.  At the same time, I wanted to talk to some motorcyclists.  Similarly, I signaled to two foreign riders on a bullet bike to stop.   They stopped accordingly little bit ahead of me and I reached to them.  He was a British citizen who was riding Royal Enfield’s, Mr.  Stev talked to me  I asked him a question.  How was your journey?  Replied back.  Oh, it’s awesome, thrilling and adventurous ride for us.  Really, enjoyed landscape, mountains and culture.  While saying that, he paused saying but…,  I asked again but what?  He replied but, really need focus ride.  After a short conversation with them we headed opposite directions.  I saw rarely solo riders instead group  motorcyclist were found. Crossing flooded streams now became a repetitive tasks again riding a bike on this terrain seemed like normal. I continued my ride by  occupying by the answer given by the petrol pumping  brother “Rupse Waterfall” the deadliest point to cross. Now, I have been habituated to encounter with either flooded stream or rough terrain. By the time I reached to the larger stream than before and saw other motorcyclists were lined up to the either side of stream but, i did not pay much attention to them. Considering that waterfall/stream  to be like previous streams, I started to cross. While crossing stream Unfortunately, I got stuck in the middle of the waterfall and water level reached either of my sidelights.  I was shocked but kept giving accelerator in order to avoid  engine problem. Meanwhile  one of the motorcyclists came and pushed my motorcycle.  result of his and mine hard work I was able to cross the waterfall.  Everyone I met was cheering, shouting and screaming.  I didn’t know what was going on.  Finally, I knew that this is the stream according to petrol pumping brother (Rupse Waterfall) the major obstacles on the way to Muktinath.  After knowing this fact  my heart started beating faster where I rested for half an hour to make myself normal.

The road was constructed between the two cliffs where Rupse jaharana is in one side and world deepest  George (Andha galchi) in another side. It was very rough and  bumpy road. Whole surrounding geography was adventurous narrow cliff, the Kaligankadi river, standing mountains. I was continuing to my destination, in some moments I felt lonely because of not having pillion for gossip.  The bumpy road was extremely difficult.  Since no one was sitting in the back, I didn’t have to tell anyone to get off form bike because of extremely difficult road condition. In some places I used to stop and take photos of beautiful landscape and diverse geography.  As Mr. said I paid attention for my focus ride a small mistake was sure to cause an accident but that didn’t happen.  After such a difficult journey, I finally managed to escape  difficult trail and reach the place where I was supposed to be Lete.

I stopped to the tea house at Lete for lunch. Now onwards  there was ease along the way.  There weren’t many twists and turns.  In fact, I can ride at the speed 30/40 km/h.  I was riding in the opposite direction of  Kaligandai, surprising fact is that Kaligandaki flows silently.  Gradually, the greenery, the forest, the jungle disappeared  slowly.  In the twilight hours, the scenery of  the snow covered mountains hit by the golden sun rays was breathtaking and suddenly blocked by cloud blow away by wind.  It was the hide and seek  result of mountain, cloud, sunrays and wind. No matter what, that was the majestic moment I ever experienced. Now I was behind the mountains where I was riding along with huge Kaligandaki bank (Bagar). Daylight gradually replaced by dusk and dusk replaced by darkness. Now it was impossible to travel without turning on the headlights.

While riding I saw apple orchards walls and realized I reached Marfa. I definitely missed the beautiful scenery of this locality but gained experience to ride lonely at this altitude which was absolutely unique moment. Now I have to ride another Three Km to  Jomsom.  Jomsom is the  headquarter of Mustang district at an attitude of 2700 m.  Travelers can find good quality of lodging and fooding facilities. Normally this is the transit point to Muktinath but I, decided to stay at Kagbeni which is 11 Km further. I found police office after crossing wooden bridge over Kaligandaki river. I asked distance and time  to reach Kaagbeni. Trickily, officer replied the distance but denied to say time because it depends upon the riding skills. I was confident to my riding skills and proceeded in the direction according to the police.

As it was night, I missed the scenery in and around Jomsom.  It was amazing to ride a motorcycle alone in a deserted and unfamiliar place.  There was no fear in my mind, but I was worried that if I miss the right direction in this lonely place. I also applied trick after Jomsom that I will take reference of distance covered instead of time hence, noted the kilometer in my speedometer. After riding 3.4 km form Jomsom I found  there are two ways, I was confused where to go? search for information board but, did not find. Suddenly I fought with my thoughts and opinion should I turn back to Jomsom? or continue riding?

 

That moment was thrilling to me I was unable to make appropriate decision. I get off form the bike and waited someone to come, after 10 minutes I saw Two motorcycles coming toward me and I breathed a sigh of relief.  When those motorcycles came nearer to me, I eagerly waved both my hands to stop them.  They stopped their bikes, I approached them and asked  way to Kagbeni. Among them one replied either ways lead to Kagbeni. They further said It is common to find Two paths in this terrain temporarily. I blame myself about not knowing this fact and continue to ride. I still remember the hard time I had while crossing small wodden bridge along with kaligandaki river and the difficult path of its bank. However, I mange to reach Kagbeni and stayed at Dragan hotel. Really it was hard day for me where I rode off  bumpy road from Baglung to Kagbeni.

Day – 3 Kagbeni – Muktinath – Tatopani

Kagbeni

I was curious about what Kagbeni would be like.  Despite being tired, I woke up early in the  morning to observed the natural scenery of this spectacular place.  It was a mesmerizing scene to see flowering buckwheat mirroring inform of gorgeous mountain   Dhaulagiri and Nilgari.  However,  only limited area is agricultural land and rest  is semi-deserted terrain.  This place is the watershed  of Kaligandaki and Gandaki river. That is why it has high religious value among Hindus. This place is famous for bathing and offering shradda puja to the dead ancestors  as its tributary river Gandaki’s (Mukti Khola)  inception is from the 108 fountains of Muktinath temple.   Now I had to incline total of 11.5 km to reach my destination. The road condition was much better than yesterday.

After climbing three turnings form Kagbeni beautiful and captivating scenery touched my heart and I was unwind into this picturesque place.  The combined view of the glistening glaciers and the silent Kaligandaki River in the early morning in  was amazing.  I stopped to take a few pictures.  Most of the time I had to go north to see the mountains. Now I had to turn south to see the mountains.

After spending some time for of panoramic views, I headed towards my destination.  Now the road was somewhat smooth.  After 20 minutes I reached to the market just below the Muktinath temple.  I purchased worshiping materials and stepped inside the periphery of temple.  Coincidentally, the motorcycle was magic till the entrance of Muktinath temple.  Surprisingly, in a place that looks like a semi-desert, I experienced a beautiful garden inside the Muktinath temple gate.  The tall trees, the murmur of the gurgling water, the variety of colorful flowers, the sound of the melodious birds was truly wonderful.  I thought to myself that God is really sitting in a beautiful place.  After a few minutes of walking, I reached the precincts of Lord Muktinath Temple physically, mentally and spiritually.  Probably early in the morning, there was not much crowd in the temple complex.  At the back of the temple (semi-circular) is the gurgling Kanchan 108 stream, at the front of the temple are two ponds (Paap Kund and Dharma Kund respectively), a monastery is being built a little above right side of temple. Jwala Devi temple is located left side of the temple. This  temple is located on the lap of Muktinath Himal.  Muktinath is the god of both Hindus and Buddhists. Hindus call Muktinath the realm of liberation, while Buddhists call it the Chumming Gyatsa (Scared lace of the Dakinis goddesses known as sky dancers).  Inside the temple  statues of Lord Narayan (Gold idol) , bronze idols of Bhudevi (Lakshmi), Saraswati, Janaki (Sita), Love Kush, Garuda and Sapta Rishi can be foun.  Ani  representing from the Buddhist community served as the temple’s chief priest.  I felt that Muktinath, the center of faith of both religions, had established religious harmony.  After observing for some time, I took bath in 108 ice-cold water fountains .  Followed by immersing myself in both the pounds sin, virtue respectively and entered to the main temple. The main temple was surrounded by wall form four directions. Prior viewing the main statue it is better to take clockwise round  this is simply the procedure. After doing all I worshipped Muktinath goddess and came out receiving blessing form priest’s hand. When I came back, it was getting very crowded it might be due to late morning.  After spending about an hour at the  temple premises, I made my way back after having my lunch at 12:00 noon, I slowly I descended  to Jomsom, leaving behind the Muktinath area.  That day I rested my trip to the hot springs of Myagdi known as Tatopani and got refreshed after taking bath under hot springs .

Day – 4 Tatopani – Kathmandu

The next day I came to Kathmandu directly from Tatopani and took a complete break from my journey. Altogether as a solo rider I rode 220 km off road and 332 km black topped road in 3 nights 4 days trip.

Collections

Muktinath Diary
Muktinath Diary
Muktinath Diary
Muktinath Diary
Muktinath Diary
Muktinath Diary
Jomsomkagbenimuktinath
Hemant Gautam
Hemant Gautam
I am a traveler who loves to explore, experience and learn through travelling. I will share my travel reminiscence, culture & festivals, lifestyle and stories relating to recently visited destination in this platform.