Jomsom- Muktinath Trekking

Jomsom- Muktinath Trekking! Jomsom Trekking! Muktinath Trekking

The Jomsom Muktinath trek is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. The diverse landscapes and cultures to be found along the trek route give a fascinating insight into the way of life of rural Nepali people. The highlight of the trek is the walk through the gorge carved by the Kali Gandaki River which originates in the Tibetan plateau to eventually flow into the Ganges in India.

Normally trekkers continue the trek beyond Jomsom to Muktinath the famous pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus. To Hindus Muktinath is a sacred place of salvation they believe that to wash in the waters here guarantees salvation after death. The Hindu god Brahma is said to have lit the eternal flames that still burn at Muktinath. To the Buddhists it is a place where the great sage guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) came to meditate.The lower part of this trek is inhabited by Gurungs and Magars (two ethnic groups)The Thakalis another ethnic group are found further on around Jomsom along with the Lopa who have Tibetan roots who live around Muktinath and up to Mustang. Their customs and attire are all quite distinct and this trek is ideal for observing the diversity among the people and their customs. Hinduism dominates the lower parts while as one climbs further up Tibetan Buddhism predominates. If you happen to be in Muktinath in early September you are likely to be in time for one of Nepal’s unique festivals the annual horse race known as Yartung. This is a week of some serious horse racing Tibetan style and some equally serious merrymaking. 

Jomsom Muktinath Trekking

The usual starting point for the trek is Naya Pul on the Pokhara to Baglung road and from there via Ghorepani and Tatopani into the gorge of the Kali Gandaki. Between Tatopani and Lete Khola there is a dramatic change of scenery with pine forests and the villages take on a quite different appearance. The layout of the villages and the design of the houses are unique to this area. The houses are designed to protect the inhabitants from the strong winds that blow up the valley everyday from late morning onwards. These winds are caused by differences in atmospheric pressure between the Tibetan plateau and the lower reaches of the valley. The best example of the unique architecture of this region is found in the village of Marpha which is a two-hour walk down from Jomsom. The stone flagged streets with an efficient underground drainage system and the flat-roofed houses with a central courtyard make an attractive spot to spend an extra day resting. Use the free time to sample apple products of this region from the lush orchards up in the valley. 

Jomsom is a large settlement best known for its airport that offers a quick entry or exit to the valley with regular daily flights from Pokhara. The strong winds that blow up the valley prevent flights from taking off from Jomsom after 11 a.m. Jomsom can also be used as a base for exploring the upper part of the Kali Gandaki region. There are numerous accommodation options including a new high-class resort complex.

An alternative to Jomsom as a base for the trek is the village of Kagbeni which lies a further two-hour walk up the valley. Kagbeni is not as commercialized as Jomsom and certainly much quieter. This is the furthest trekkers are allowed to go towards Upper Mustang without a special permit. For details see the description of Upper Mustang treks. From Kagbeni to Muktinath it is a three to four hour trek and trekkers can choose to do this as a day trip or stay at one of the many teahouses available at Muktinath.

The return is spent traveling back along the Kali Gandaki gorge passing through the many fascinating Thakali villages including Marpha mentioned above.  A further two days are spent through pine forests towards the hot springs of Tatopani (Natural hot spring) where we rest up for a day. There are two more days trekking up before reaching Ghorepani and Poon hill for sun rise over the Himalayas. On our return we stop for one night in the beautiful large Gurung village of Ghandruk and great views of Annapurna south and Machhapachare. Our last day is an easy descent to Nayapull where transport awaits for the one & half hour journey to the hotel in Pokhara. A very rewarding trek providing insight into different cultures as well as a wide range of scenery and tremendous mountain views.

 

Day 01: Arrival Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu. Sightseeing spots are Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Swyambhunath Stupa and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Day 03: Drive Kathmandu  to Pokhara (850m) by tourist bus and overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Fly to Jomsom (2750m) then trek to Kagbeni (2850m).
Day 05: Trek to Muktinath (3800m).
Day 06: Trek to Marpha (2600m).
Day 07: Trek to Ghasa (2000m).
Day 08: Trek to Tatopani (1100m).
Day 09: Trek to Shikha (2000m).
Day 10: Trek to Ghorepani (2850m) Poon Hill (3200m).
Day 11: Trek back to Tikhedhunga (1570m) via Poon hill.
Day 12: Trek back to Pokhara via Birethanti and over at hotel.
Day 13: Sightseeing in Pokhara.
Day 14: Drive or Fly back to Kathmandu.
Day 15: Warm Departure