Tatopani to Muktinath – Muktinath Road Trip

Tatopani is inside the Annapurna Conservation Area and since yesterday evening, the real adventure has started.

Day 5 – 25th March 2019

Our plan yesterday was to reach Kalopani. However it cannot be called a real plan as we did not race for it and actually thought we can make it. The intention is to explore the Kali Gandaki valley all the way till Muktinath and stay at different places during the trip. Most pilgrims race all the way till Muktinath and return. So after a fantastic breakfast we started our journey towards higher reaches beyond the Himalayas.

After a couple of hours of drive we reached a place where the traffic is stopped for road construction. The place is very close to a huge waterfall called Rupse Waterfall. The hike to the top takes around 20 minutes and the views are brilliant. The flow was really humongous in march when we went there. Thankfully we mixed the small hike with the traffic blockage.

After noon the the sky turned dark with ominous clouds and things did not look good at all. Some sections the rain was pouring very heavily and there was thunderstorms. Babu and Suman dressed with proper rain gear in their motorcycles and we moved slowly ahead. The rain helped in a way that the dust is gone and everything felt fresh.

Nepal Muktinath
After a rainy drive we reached somewhere near Ghasa
Nepal Muktinath
Driving over Kali Gandaki Nadi
Nepal Muktinath
The wrong route
Nepal Muktinath
Beautiful cable bridges with prayer flags
Nepal Muktinath
The right route
Nepal Muktinath
Lets go back and take the right route
Nepal Muktinath
The rides in the middle of the mighty Kali Gandaki
Nepal Muktinath
Spring has arrived
Nepal Muktinath
Near Marpha Village
Nepal Muktinath
Spring blossoms
Nepal Muktinath
Nearing Jomsom

The roads were really in very bad shape till Kalopani and then things were getting little better. The road goes through the river bed and some sections you can ride smooth at 50-60 kmph. We stopped, took picutres, had tea, numerous chit chats and finally reached Jomsom in the evening at 3 PM.

After getting the permits checked, we stopped for a late lunch and then decided stay at Jomsom and relax. We had lunch at ‘Hotel Little Asia‘ and then moved for a room in ‘Hotel Muktinath‘ which has a nice view of the airstrip. The weather was still cloudy and with no views we decided to go to old Jomsom and explore the alleyways and the monastery.

Our recommendation is Hotel Little Asia whose hosts are simply amazing and very welcoming.

We spent some nice time meditating inside the monastery before it got dark and then returned into the warmth of the blankets in room.

Jomsom Monastery

Nepal Muktinath
Nepal Muktinath

Jomsom Airstrip

Nepal Muktinath

Day 6 – 26th March 2019

The weather forecast was a clear sky from later part of the day. We we destined to move at high altitude to 3600 m ASL and stay the night in holy Muktinath – Ranipauwa. We started from Jomsom after breakfast and the roads is relatively in great shape except few bad patches. After you cross Kagbeni, the road changes to a black top smooth tarmac and you start your climb up an up. The views are brilliant all the way and in matter of couple of hours with several stops we reach Muktinath.

Nepal Muktinath
Early morning scene in Jomsom
Nepal Muktinath
Somewhere between Jomsom and Kagbeni
Nepal Muktinath
A stop before the climb up
Nepal Muktinath
The Team
Nepal Muktinath
Jharkot village
Nepal Muktinath
Looking towards Upper Mustang
Nepal Muktinath
Smooth roads towards Muktinath

While cars are not allowed inside Ranipauwa-Muktinath in day time, you have to park them at the huge parking lot at the start of the town and then start walking or take a pony ride to the temple. I decided to walk, while Babu and Suman went ahead on motorcycle. Make sure you take the cold holy bath at the temple and it will challenge your adventures soul to the limit.

Both walking and motorcycle ride takes same time to reach the temple. Actually if you are relatively fit enough, walking is faster. Remember that the altitude of the place is 3600 m ASL.

Nepal Muktinath

Holy Muktinath Temple

After the temple, we moved back to Ranipauwa and found a good hotel in the main street. We did little local shopping and mostly clicked pictures of the amazing natural surroundings.

Nepal Muktinath
At the hotel in Muktinath
Nepal Muktinath
The pony used to haul pilgrims to the temple
Nepal Muktinath
Street scene in Ranipauwa – Muktinath
Nepal Muktinath
Jharkot village from Muktinath

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