Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple

Located at an altitude of 3,610 meters (11,872 feet) at the base of the Thorong La mountain pass in the Mustang district, Muktinath is a highly venerated sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. Hindus call the site Mukti Kshetra, which literally means the "place of salvation" and it is one of the most ancient temples of the God Vishnu and the Vaishnava tradition in Nepal. Behind the temple is a semi-circular wall with 108 stone faucets at a height of seven feet. The faucets all have the same shape of the head of a bull and are separated approximately by one foot. Water from the ice-cold Kali Gantaki River has been diverted to flow through the mouths of these bulls and hardy pilgrims who visit the temple often stand beneath each of the spouts.

After the prayer and adore at the Muktinath temple numerous pilgrims, both Hindu and Buddhist, visit Mebar Lha Gomba, the small monastery of `miraculous fire', which is located near the entry gate of the temple. This monastery, devoted to Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) and containing a statue of the Buddhist deity Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) is well-known for its endlessly burning natural gas fire, which Hindus worship as Jwala Mai, the Goddess of Fire.