Monday, July 06, 2015

Mukthinath yatra -2

Sri Murthi - Mukthinath  CloseUp

The author  performed the Muktinath yatra in 2014 after the completion of Holy Kailash Manasarovar yatra from Kathmandu. It cost of the yatra was Rs.20000/-  from Kathmandu to Kathmandu. The itienary  was as follows from Kathamndu  by bus to Pokhra in between they prayed at Mano Kamna Devi temple and stay at Pokhra. Then  travelledby air from Pokhra to Jomsom and by bus theytravelled  to Muktinath  had a fine darshan and came back  back and stayed at Jomsom. On the third day by air back to Pokhra and tour of Pokhra. On the fourth day they returned to Kathmandu by bus. 

Entrance of the Muktinath Complex

As Muktinath is located among the snow covered peaks at an elevation of 3710m it remains inaccessible for most part of the year as it remains in the draconian hold of snow. So the best time to visit Muktinath is from middle of April  to third week of May. After that when the monsoon starts there is likely hood of land slides and should  be avoided. Also September middle to October middle one can visit Muktinath but cold will be severe during this period and would need adequate warm clothing. 

Gandaki River 

The normal route for Indians for the visit to Muktinath is from  Kathmandu which can be reached by air from Delhi and many other Indian cities. Nowadays bus service is also there between Delhi and Kathmandu also Varanasi and Kathmandu also is connected by Bus. From Kathmandu normally the pilgrims travel to Pokhra by bus, air service is also there between Kathmandu and Pokhra. From Pokhra the pilgrims reach Jomsom by air. But as air service is very much dependent on weather in inclement weather like rain, high velocity wind and snow the pilgrims have to travel by bus/ jeep from Pokhra,   where as it takes about 45 minutes by air, it will take about 8 hrours if one travel by road from Pokhra to Jomsom. Many times because of inclement weather the pilgrims are forced to travel by road.  From Jomsom to Muktinath taxi stand jeeps and small buses are available. Some pilgrims trek in this stretch. From Muktinath taxi stand to the gate of the Muktinath stand one can trek or take motor bikes. On the return thay take the same path and return to Kathmandu.

Twin Lakes 

The Holy Shalagramams

The second route is through Gorakhpur. One can travel by train upto Gorkahpur have the darshan of Gorknath and then by bus travel upto Pokhra and then travel to Jomsom and Muktinath and return by the same route or travel to Kathmandu and then return home from there. Normally buses are not allowed to cross the border so one has to travel upto the border town by Indian bus and then cross over into Nepal and travel by local bus/ jeep upto Pokhra.  The cost will be less but the yatra time increases when one travels by train. When one travels by this route they can visit Janakpur where the marriage of Sita and Ram was solemnized, Sitamarhi when Sita was found by King Janaka, Lumbini the birth place of Gautama Buddha depending upon their convenience.  Earlier there was helicopter service directly upto Muktinath from Pokhra but now that service is suspended. 

Searching for Shalagramams on  the shores of  Gandaki River

From Kathmandu (1500 m)  the pilgrims can fly directly  to Jomsom (2700 m) or  travel by bus to Pokhra (800m)  and the next day they fly  to Jomsom.  The other options are trvel by jeep from Pokhra to Jomsom which will take about 12 hrs,  or  perform 6 day trek to Jomsom starting from Pokhra.  From Jomsom walk to Kagbeni (2900 m) to Jhargot (3400m) to Muktinath (3710m) in about 7 hours trek. Go by rented horse in about the same time. Go on the back of a local rented motor bike or travel in jeep/ Small bus. For acclimatization stay at Pokhra and Jomsom is a must.

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