Jomsom to Kagbeni     Kagbeni to Jharkot        Mukhtinath        Tukuche

My horse grazing outside the walls of Mukhtinath. A complex of shrines, temples and pagodas, Mukhtinath attracts both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.

At 3800 meters (12,467 feet), this was the highest point I reached in my trek.


My guide/porter Bishnu, praying next to huge Buddhist prayer wheels outside the main temple complex at Mukhtinath

Although Bishnu is a Hindu from the lowlands, like many Nepalis he often also spins Buddhist prayer wheels and observes other forms of Buddhist religious practice when the occasion presents itself.

Very persistent, very persuasive traders wait for you outside the gates of the temple complex.

Bishnu and the horse-tender boy at the Vishnu temple at Mukhtinath. The semicircular courtyard features 108 brass water spouts in the form of a bull.

The number of names and forms of god, 108 is a highly auspicious number for Hindus. It is good luck to bathe in all 108 streams--or at least stick your head in the cold trickle, as these two did the instant we arrived.

Close-up of one of 108 bull-shaped brass water spouts in the form of a bull in the courtyard of the Vishnu temple at Mukhtinath.

Water rushing from a spout beneath the Jwala Main temple in Mukhtinath, one of the holiest sites in Nepal for both Buddhists and Hindus.

This temple's fame derives from a natural spring which emits a small amount of natural gas, burning for centuries, an eternal flame. In this one spot, therefore, "one can observe the union of fire, earth. air and water." Picture-taking is not allowed inside the temple.

Looking down a notched ladder carved from the side of a tree trunk from the roof of the Marme Lakhang temple in Mukhtinath, Nepal.

Strings of Buddhist prayer flags endlessly repeat the sequence:  yellow for the land, green for the forests, red for the mountains at sunset, white for the clouds, blue for the sky.

More pictures and information about Muktinath can be found at the excellent and rich site of the Mukhtinath Foundation International.


Porter carrying a huge, heavy beam up the valley. As we walked down from Mukhtinath toward Tukuche, piece by piece most of an entire house went by the other way on someone's back.

In the tourist off seasons, Bishnu carries such loads for a living. I had been feeling bad about keeping him away from his wife and son for so long, but for him getting $8 a day plus meals to carry something as "light" as my pack is comparatively easy work.

Sunset on Nilgiri North (M7061), from Tukuche. In the foreground are the late fall seed pods of a flower growing on a stone wall.

Take enough pictures and sooner or later you'll get a really nice one...


Jomsom to Kagbeni     Kagbeni to Jharkot        Mukhtinath       Tukuche

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