Day X. Still not knowing where we will get today, we’ve started early in the morning to avoid the strong wind from Kali Gandaki river and pilgrim traffic.
Muktinath is an ancient temple which is sacred for both Hindu and Buddhists, located on the altitude od 3800 m above sea level and surrounded with gorgeous Annapurna range and Dhaulagiri. Muktinath bazar, or Old Ranipauwa, is also the first big settlement after Tholong La pass of popular Annapurna circuit trek.
We’ve been in this area 10 years ago, when we did this trek ourselves. The road that we’ve ridden this time on a bike was under construction and Muktinath was reachable only by foot or by horse. At that time we’ve seen only one motorbike, some Chinese brand cross bike, and we were surprised how he got there.
10 years ago Muktinath was a paradise for us, after the coldest nigh in a base camp, early wake up and 8 hours of harsh accent and descent with snow and 1 m visibility on the pass. Last time we’ve stopped in Bob Marley guest house, as it was one of the two “OK looking” places and the name was quite attractive. We were not disappointed for sure. We were very excited about its restaurant, bar, decoration and the whole atmosphere and friendly staff. This time we had no second thought on a place to stay, we’ve even promised ourselves that the first yak steak meal in Nepal we will get in Bob Marley restaurant in Muktinath, so it was another good motivation.
Surprisingly after a steep accent from Kagbeni, the second part of the road was quite in a good condition with just couple of wet and muddy places. We’ve arrived in one piece after 2.5 hours of driving and were very excited to reach the first goal of the journey. The second one will be getting back down to Beni.
Ten years ago Ranipauwa was a one street village with just a couple of places to sleep and eat. Now it is quite a large settlement with souvenirs stalls, new hotels, restaurant and lots of construction around.
Bob Marley is still where it was. Upon our arrival we’ve got a good cup of coffee and a nice room.
We’ve spent the day visiting the temple. Following the Tibetian tradition we’ve hang Tibetian prayer flags on top of the hill above the temple, and, following Hindu tradition we’ve touched the water from 108 sacred streams and lighted the incense sticks for the Hindu gods.
There are couple of pleasant walks around Muktinath bazar to some small villages. There is also a Lubra village which can be visited on a day hike or on the way back to Jomsom by foot.
Sunny day gave us some great views towards Annapurna range and Dhaulagiri, including Thorong La pass. But when the sun was gone, the temperature dropped down to minus 11 at night. Brrr, freezing…