Nepal, Trekking around Annapurna - the Manang sidePfeil gelb rechts Gif transp

Pfeil gleb Gif transp Annapurna Circuit:  on this page you will find information and pictures of Muktinath and Ranipauwa. and information how you can continue your trek after crossing the Thorong la


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NATT No.40 Muktinath & Ranipauwa

Muktinath has been a pilgrim site for about 3000 years. There are two main reasons. Firstly, from a small earth fissure water and natural gas pours out, the latter burning in a little flame. On this site all the four elements - earth, water, air and fire - are united in a natural way. You can listen to the gurgling water and see the tiny little flame still in the Dhola Mebar temple***.   Secondly,  many ammonites (called saligrams or salagrams by the locals) are found in the Mustang region. They are already described in the Hindu Vedic texts and are not seen as stones, but rather as a true and direct manifestation of the Hindu god Vishnu himself.

Desending from Thorong la you will first pass the Temple area of Muktinath which is now completely walled with a white wall.

Your lodge will be another 15-30 minutes further in the lodge settlement of Ranipauwa, depending on the section of Ranipauwa in which it is situated.


Tempelbezirk 1 y250

The temple area of Muktinath ***

The whole area is now surrounded by a big white wall. Coming from Ranipauwa you will pass the red arch and climb to the main gate of the temple area. Like many temples in Nepal, Buddhists and Hindus share the area and even many temples.



Just after the gate you pass by a huge prayer wheel (1). Ascend the path passing by at some little temples. In a small stand of trees you will reach the famous Vishnu Lokhesvara temple, donated by Queen Subarna Prabha in the 18th century. She also donated the big pilgrims’ house which gave the name Ranipauwa (Queen’s Pilgrim’s house) to the village.

The main purpose of the many Indian pilgrims, many coming from as far as south India, is to bathe in the two pools near the temple. They will also walk past the 108 holy fountains behind the temple(?) and often take some holy water back home in plastic bottles. The temple area inside the wall is restricted to Hindus and you are not allowed to take photos inside the shrine.

The Indian pilgrims are an experience in itself and worth seeing. They fly to Jomsom , often stay there first night, and then drive the next morning by jeep to the parking lot on the outskirts of Ranipauwa. After walking to the Muktinath shrines, many of them will be so tired that they choose to drive back on a motorcycle to the parking place. As a result there is a lot of motorcycle traffic in the morning. Many of the young guys of Ranipauwa make a fortune driving the Indian ladies back.

muktinath shrines x500


(1) the entrance gate and the big prayer wheel

Eingang y200große Gebetsmühle y200


Signs before the Shiva temple

Shiva Tempel 2 y200Shiva Tempel 1 y200

Bodenmalereien beim Shiva Tempel, die heilige Silbe OM und die Symbol der Swastika


The Vishnu Lokheswara Pagoda

Np01-004 Muktinath vishnu tempel x500

NP01-002 Muktinath vishnu temple x500

NP01-001 Vishnutempel Muktinath x500


Vishnu tempel  2007 1 y200Vishnu tempel 2 y200


NP05 -01 muktinath mirt Bach x500


Vishnu tempel 3 y200vishnu tempel glocken y200


vishnutempel Gebetsfahnen 1 y200vishnutempel Gebetsfahnen 2  y200

The PAgoda is dedicated to vishnu but also a holy site for the buddhists

NP01-005 Muktinath Nep Pilger x500


a wall is above the temple with 108 water fountains. 108 is a holy number for the buddhists.

NP98_99 Muktinath fountains 2 x500

NP98_99 Muktinath fountains x500


Wasserspeier 3 y200Wasserspeier 5 y200


Wasserspeier 1 y200qWasserspeier 9 y200qWasserspeier 12 y200qWasserspeier 7 y200qWasserspeier 4 y200qWasserspeier 11 y200qWasserspeier 6 y200qWasserspeier 2 y200qWasserspeier 10 y200q

The fountains

Teh fountains get theri water from a holy spring  and people take the wather obver their body and head even when it is freezing. Many Indian Pilgrims will collect some of the water in plastic bottles to bring it back home

Vishnu Tempel Pilger 2 y200Vishnu Tempel Pilger 1 y200

Vishnu Tempel Baden 3 y200vishnu tempel eiszapfen y200


On the north eastern end of the area is the  Marme Lhakang Gompa (4) gehen. Diese heißt auf der Seite Narsingh Gompa .inside is a big Statue of Phadmasambava /Guru Rinpoche

marme lha Gompa 3 y200marme lha Gompa 2 y200

marme lha Gompa 1 y200marme lha Gompa Welpen y200


Behind this little Gompa is a little door in the wall and behind you see a threes covered with the hair of pilgrims who cut it at the end of their pilgrimage

Baum mit haaren 1 y200Baum mit haaren 2 y200

Go back to the Vishnu temple and continue on a path with some chörten to the

chorten 1 y200chorten 2 y200

 Dolamebar Gompa ( 6) which is cared of by buddhist nuns..

Dolamebar gompa 1jpg y200This is the famous temple with the natural  flame:

The empole has various names

Dolamebar Gompa from do mebar = burning stone, Salamebar Gompa from  sale mebar = burning soil , oder Mebhar  Lhakang Gompa. Hindus call it Jwala Mai Temple after their goddes  jwala Mai, a natural flame


NP98_99 191 muktinath Melabar Gompa aussen x500

Old pictures of Dola Mebar Gompa


NP098_99-192 Muktinath Mebar tempel innen x500


Dolamebar gompa 2 y200Dolamebar gompa 7 wächter y200

Dolamebar gompa 6 wächter y200Dolamebar gompa 5 y200

Nowadays the temple has been renovated and the statues are behind glas

NP01-006 butterlämpchen x500


Pilger  buddhistisch y200Pilger  buddhistisch 2 y200

Pilgrims from Dolpo or Mustang

Weitere Informationen

See also the muktinath website

how long will take a visit to Muktinath temple area?

If oyu are in ahurry you can visit the vishnu temple and the Dohle Mebar temple within half an hour and have seen the two most important places. I normally stay for one and a half hour there. In any case you should never miss a visit!



Ranipauwa view from muktinath y200

Ranipauwa seen from the Muktinath temple.

NP05-Ranipauwa mit Gompa x 550

all the lodges are further down in Ranipauwa (Photo 1999)

Vishnu temple the big pilgrim house which gave the name Ranipauwa (= Queen’s Pilgrim’s house) to the village. Actually it is a fast growing lodge settlement with many new big lodges under construction.

As already mentioned, the police check post is inside the old pilgrim house and the ACAP office is just before it. There are many lodges in Ranipauwa. In the last 25 years I have stayed in 5 different lodges and have all to be quite acceptable. So it does not make sense to recommend a particular one. Ranipauwa is stretched out over a kilometre and during the day many local women will on the edge of the main street weaving colourful scarfs with their traditional looms for the tourists. Besides some souvenir stalls there is not very much to see in Ranipauwa apart from the great views of Dhaulagiri.

NP98_99-179 Ranipauwa x 550

A Photo from 1999. on the right side you see the Pilgrims shelter  built by the queen (rani) therefor it is called Rani Pauwa and gave the settlement its name (1999 Photo)

NP01-009 Ranipauwa pilgerhaus x 550

NP 98_99 181 Ranipauwa Pilgerhaus 1 x 550

The Center Court of the pilgrims house


NP 98_99-182 Ranipuwa lodgen x 550


Ranipauwa Bob Marley y200ranipauwa paved y200

In many jof the lodges you will find “Yak” steaks on the menu card. ‘Well there are not enought Yaks for all the tourist and so you will normaly get either buffalo or cow meat ;-) .In Nepal it is forbidden to slaughter cows but the buddhist people dont mind so much.

Anyway, Muktinath Ranipuwa is a good place to recover from the hard crossing over Thorong la

Main souvenirs from Muktinath area are handwoven scarfs and ammonites.

Ranipauwa Webstuhl 1 y200Ranipauwa Webstuhl 4 y200Ranipauwa Webstuhl 2 y200Ranipauwa Webstuhl 3 y200


There is now a new big Gompa.

Ranipauwa new Gompa y200Ranipauwa Lama Prozession y200

Visit of a high Lama

At the end of the village is the Jeep station. The Jeeps are driving to jomsom and are alway completely packed. Make sur oyu get a front seat if you have long western legs!

Ranipauwa jeep counter y200Ranipauwa 4 season y200Ranipauwa Jeep y200Ranipauwa Jeep 2 y200


Ranipauwa September y200Ranipauwa y200

in September                                                              in November

how to continue?

Pic 15 trails around muktinath small 500 Pix

1. Stay one day in Muktinath. This is absolutely not a bad idea. You can relax, have all the time for a visit of the Muktinath Temple area, wash your clothes and make a wonderfull daytrip to Jharkot passing by Purang (NATT 43) or by Chongur and Jhong.. (NATT 44)  The later trip is most recommendable if you will not continue to Kagbeni showing you three very interesting and beautiful villages.

2. Taking the jeep to Jomsom. When in 2008 the road had reached Muktinath many trekkers wrote in the internet that it is not worth anymore to continue trekking after Muktinath. Knowing that there were still beautiful treks I started to think about the NATT project. And still trekking marvel await you on the Kali Gandaki side so if your plane is not leaving from Kathmandu the next five  days you should not even consider to take the jeep down to Jomsom. You would miss a lot and get a rather bumpy and uncomfortable journey in a very full jeep.

3. Going to Lubra (Lupra) and then to Jomsom. Lubra is a very interesting little village and has the only Bon Gompa in this area. You can directly take a trail after the jeep station in Ranipauwa (NATT 41) or first visit Jharkot and then continue from there (NATT 47). jharkot is definitively worth a visit. You can reach Jomsom in a day going by Lupra, but you will have hard wind in your face in the afternoon.

4. Walking down the road to Kagbeni or Jomsom. This would be the fastes Walking possibility. be prepared to a rather dusty journey. You can reach Jomsom in half a day.

5. My personal recomendation: Walk to Kagbeni by the northern trail goning by Chongur, Jhong and Putak. This will be one of the highlights of the whole Circuit! You will pass beautiful village with tibentan bhuddist culture, have excellent mountain views and see the thorong la in all its splendour (See NATT 50). 


Overview Annapurna region

 Annapurna overview 

   Crossing Thorong la Pfeil gleb Gif transp

  Pfeil gelb rechts Gif transp Lupra

Pfeil gelb rechts Gif transp Purang and Jharkot

Pfeil gelb rechts Gif transp NATT 50/1 Chongur, (trail to Kagbeni)

Link to the old pages





Annapurna NATT-Guide bookMap NA 503 Annapurna circuit NATTTo the page

NATT- guidebook and maps