We plan for a day of exploration to Muktinath Valley, which was the village that most people came across when passing through Thorong La pass on the famous Annapurna Circuit Trek (ACT). We have our breakfast early from Annapurna Lodge to ensure that we were there at the bus station located just on the main road outside Kagbeni village, to wait for the public bus to Muktinath Valley which was nearly 9 KM away. There was already bunch of peoples waiting at the bus station, and luckily we manage to squeeze everyone into the next incoming bus. The driver drove for nearly just 10 minutes up hill and he stop the bus on the road side when reaching a flat area, firstly to get everyone enjoying the spectacular view all around the place, especially the view of Kagbeni village from high, and of course, to the familiar zone that we just conquered, the Upper Mustang area. Secondly, it was easier to collect the bus fee here when everyone was about to hop back into the bus, for 300 rupee each. Not a bad idea at all, win win situation to both parties I supposed.
Satisfying breakfast via Annapurna Lodge!
It had been a while, Nilgiri Himal peak.
Kagbeni village from the bus station.
The team's shadow from the view point!
Overlooking the area of Upper Mustang far into the mountain area, start to miss the place.
Passengers wonder around the view point where the bus stop for a minor break.
The public bus that brought us to Muktinath Valley.
The scenery inside the bus.
The public bus stop us at Ranipauwa station, and we walked our way to our stay today, Hotel Buddha. Muktinath Valley was very different from our trek via Upper Mustang, the whole area was very commercialized with many stalls selling various souvenirs on the road side, and the area was very much conquered by massive amount of trekkers, which I believed mainly was going through ACT. Immediately, I start to miss the trekking experience that we just completed yesterday, it was truly we and the world of nature, nothing else.
Hotel Buddha seem to make some mistake in the arrangement which end up they did not reserve any rooms for our group. We then have a break via a coffee shop next door while waiting for the alternate plan from Kumar. Buddha rush back as he managed to get rooms for us via Best Step Inn, and we walk our way there and quite satisfy with the room as it even have private bathroom. The stay finally settled!
The view from Ranipauwa station.
Kumar and Samantha leading the way to our accommodation today.
Two oranges follow up from the back.
Ranipauwa village, full of various souvenirs stalls selling stuff for tourists.
Hotel Bob Marley here in Ranipauwa village.
Which coffee to choose from?
Taking a coffee break while waiting from new arrangement for our stay today.
Ramzee talking to fellow travelers if they need any directional helps.
Finally, we manage to settle down via Best Step Inn!
The view directly from the room's corridor, not bad at all.
The well organized and comfortable dining hall to have our meal.
Fluffy bear on the window, perhaps someone forget it here?
It was still quite early on the day but we still decided to have a quick lunch via the hotel, and move on to do some exploration around Muktinath Valley. I draft a rough plan for the day, and we started to descend down Ranipauwa village and came to a absolutely amazing spot that overlook Jharkot Monastery, with stunning snow mountain at its background. The view was just so fantastic from various angle, and I just can't stop to peek at this priceless scenery.
We don't wish to over stress our legs today, hence I did not plan to explore all the way towards Jharkot village, but to a small village to the north, called Purang village. This place was obviously not famous for tourism as we almost see no tourists at all there, but for us, we did enjoy the quiet atmosphere and slow exploration here. The houses, the prayer wheels, and even Mani stones here was quite antic, it was truly a hidden gem isolated via a famous tourism spot, and we glad we found it!
Simple fried rice but it was quite delicious!
Time to explore the valley area!
Descending down the road from Ranipauwa village.
Happy Mandy on having a comfortable sight seeing walk around the valley.
Happy Samantha enjoy blocking me from taking a photo.
I was speechless with this amazing view of Jharkot Monastery with the giant mountain as its background.
Zoom out of the view.
Further zoom up of this amazing view.
What's wrong with you?
Jhong village on the other side of the valley.
Can't get tired of this amazing view at all!
Jhong village was too far for a visit, hence we decided to visit the nearer village in between.
A quiet and peaceful village of Purang.
Exploring the village of Purang.
Prayer wheels in Purang village.
Mani Stones scattered everywhere in the village.
It was a simple yet attractive village for a visit. Perhaps we already get used to quiet place without crowds.
Dry leaves on the ground everywhere post autumn season.
We split the team at this point for different plan.
I looked high at the Muktinath Temple, and there was a desire that tell me I should pay it a visit there. We split from here as me, Fabian, and Ramzee in a group headed for the temple, while the rest decided to went back to hotel for a well deserved rest after tireless 12 days of adventure. Muktinath Temple was a Vishnu temple, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. It was also one of the world's highest temple, with altitude of 3800 Meters. We explore the whole area in clockwise method, and the most priceless experience was to see the devotees take their sacred bath on 108 pipes with bull faces (Hindu astrology that mentions 12 zodiacs and 9 planets, with total of 108 combinations) even in freezing temperature! It was believed that the bath through these sacred taps will keep the devotees healthy and prosperous.
The night was super freezing here at Muktinath Valley. The crowded dining hall was quite warm with few heaters being placed on each corners, but the space was truly limited for the count of trekkers that plan to have their dinner here. We decided to give place to them immediately once we done our dinner so that they can have theirs as well. No more heater, hence we have to stick with our blanket for the rest of the freezing night!
The view towards the direction of Thorong La pass high up into the mountain area.
Passing through few Monastery on our way to Muktinath Temple.
The road lead back to Ranipauwa village.
Ready to explore Muktinath Temple.
Location map of Muktinath Temple area.
The view over the valley from Muktinath Temple.
The peek on 108 sacred taps at the holy shrine in Muktinath Temple.
Many devotees still came for the holy bath here even under freezing temperature!
We continue to hike higher towards Narsang Gompa.
The Narsang Gompa which I believed was newly built, the interior looked so new and luxury!
Look at those massive praying flags hanged on the mountain!
The view of the mountain range from Narsang Gompa compound.
The Sangye Buddha statue.
Jwala Mai Gompa, the temple of the eternal flame. You can see eternal burning flames of natural gas just underneath of the temple inside.
Leaving Muktinath Temple from the main gate.
This boneless chilly chicken was damn suit my appetite!
Muktinath Valley - Nepal