How To Reach Muktinath – An Alternate Route


This article is a travelogue written by Sri P. Kaushik based on his travel experience to Mukthinath earlier this year. Its a very useful guide for all those who are planning for a trip to Mukthinath. 

During a recent trip in April 2012, I had the great opportunity and pleasure of visiting the Muktinath temple located in Nepal. The temple is known as Thirusalagramam among Sri Vaishnavas. This travelogue will not focus on the history or the Pasurams in praise of the lord there. I want to discuss how one can reach such a place through alternate route, i.e., not by flight. I am a student and I could not spare enough money to make the expensive the flight trip. So I decided to take a chance and go by buses. I am currently living in Kharagpur and so my trip starts from Howrah (Kolkata).

Raxaul, India

Reaching the Nepal border is quite easy as there are plenty of trains and buses available in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to do so. Any the road journey to Muktinath begins from Pokhara, a city in Nepal located in central of Nepal. I would like to encourage the readers to use google maps in order to get an idea of the places. In order to reach Pokhara, one has to take buses from different points in the border. Pokhara is quite well connected as it is one of the larger cities of Nepal. The closest point in India from Pokhara is at the Bhairahawa border. There are plenty of buses connecting Bhairahawa and Butwal to Pokhara. There are no buses across the border as they have been banned for security reasons. So, one has to cross the border by share autos or rikshaws in order to enter Nepal and buses can be found immediately after entering Nepal. The route followed by me was to enter Nepal from Bihar through the border in Raxaul as it is more easily accessible border point for people travelling from the eastern part of India. Once reaching Raxaul border there are Tongas and share auto rickshaws right outside the station who take you into Nepal. The border post from Raxaul railway station is barely 750 meters to 1 km, a walk able distance. The Birgunj bus stand which is the destination however, is about 5 kms from the border inside Nepal. So the tongas and share auto rickshaws fare per person about Indian Rs. 30 to 40 for travelling from Raxaul railway station to Birgunj bus stand. There are plenty of buses direct from Birgunj to Pokhara, and last bus being at around 2 or 3pm. The fare of the bus from Birgunj to Pokhara is about Indian Rs. 300 per person. Most trains reach Raxaul in the morning, so taking a bus will not be a problem.

When travelling you might get people forcing you to change currency. As of today any denomination of Rs.100 and below of Indian currency is not banned. So one need not convert any notes below the Rs. 100 denomination.  The exchange rate between the currencies is Indian Re 1 = Nepali Rs 1.60.

On reaching Pokhara, one may need to halt overnight as most buses towards Jomsom direction leave in the morning only. There however, is no direct bus between Pokhara and Jomsom.  For stay overnight, usually good hotels in Pokhara are located close to Phewa lake area. From that area, one has to take the mini city bus to Baglung bus stand, from where buses are available for Jomsom direction. The cost of the ticket in Mini bus is about Nepali Rs. 15 per person from hotel to bus stands.  From Baglung bus stand one has to take a bus towards Beni, which are frequently available early in the morning. The cost of the ticket is about Indian Rs. 200 per person. The cost of the ticket varies with seat as well. The seats up front cost more than the seats in the back. One has to reach the place early in order to buy a ticket and get a good seat. The drive to Beni is about 5 hours. So, if you start early morning, you may expect to reach Beni by mid day. Beni is a very small town with nothing much to eat, therefore it is very important to carry your own food during the entire journey. However, Beni is the first point in the journey where one can have the darshan of the holy Gandaki River. It’s from here that the bus route will follow the path along the river.

The river will always be in sight next to the road. Also, just a few kilometers along the road from Beni towards Jomsom is a place where one can find the Muktinath Pravesh Dwar. It is probable that Thirumangai Azhwar proceeded towards the lord at Muktinath through this point. The road, however, from Beni all the way to Jomsom is a muddy and not tarred. So please be prepared for a jerky ride. The drivers are usually very slow, careful and very experienced in handling these roads. There is only one bus available from Beni direct to Jomsom, which leaves early in the morning at about 6.30 am. If you reach later in the day you might have to take a bus to Ghasa from Beni. Buses to Ghasa are quite frequent; there usually is a connecting bus to Ghasa from Beni, when the bus from Pokhara arrives at Beni. The drive to Ghasa takes about 4.5 to 5 hours and a ticket costs about Indian Rs. 350 for Indian nationals as opposed to Nepal Rs. 375 for Nepali nationals.

Phewa Lake, Pokhara, early in the morning

During the ride from Beni to Ghasa you will find that there is quite a steep altitude climb and you may require keeping your woolens handy. The entire scenery is very beautiful and changes from ranges change from lower Himalaya in Beni to middle Himalaya in Ghasa.  From Ghasa buses to Jomsom are available upto about 4pm in the evening. It is very important that you reach Ghasa before that as there are no decent places to stay in Ghasa as it is a tiny village. Again from Ghasa the ticket cost to Jomsonm is about Indian Rs. 350 for Indian nationals and lesser for Nepali nationals.  The ride takes about 3 to 3.5 hours. The terrain now changes from middle Himalayas to the upper Himalayas. You may also see quite a lot of clouds, it is here that the last bit of rain falls and the mountains reach much above the clouds and do not let it penetrate and enter Tibet.  It is a clear sight to see of how the Himalayan Mountains ensure that monsoon clouds remain in Bharat varsha and not move out. After passing the cloudy region, comes a rain shadow region, a region similar in scenery to Leh and Ladakh. This region is the abode of the lord. Jomsom is present in this region and there usually is acute water shortage in Jomsom. On reaching Jomsom, you may find that hotels do not allow people to stay unless they eat there. So you may have to end up paying for food even if you don’t eat. Dormitories are available at costs as low as Indian Rs. 400 per head with food. You may choose to stay in a hotel as well. As a student, I preferred a dormitory.  There are no buses from Jomsom to Muktinath, only Jeeps (Sumos) are available, because the terrain is quite harsh for buses and moreover buses cannot cross a bridge on the Gandaki to reach the other side of the river.

So, only jeeps ply between Jomsom and Muktinath. One may inquire with the hotel people or locals as to where the jeep stand is, it is walk able from any hotel in the small town of Jomsom. It is best to leave for Muktinath from Jomsom early in the morning.  The jeeps are share jeeps and take about 12 people on board and charge about Indian Rs. 400 per head for Indian nationals.  The only problem one may face going in a small party is that they have to wait for more passengers so that the jeep gets filled up. You may end up getting more passengers once the flight from Pokhara lands in Jomson at around 7.30 am or so.  It is better to go early and stand in the queue so that you can get into the first jeep out. Jeeps on the return journey also work in the similar way. Last jeep may be available till evening 4pm. It takes about 2 hours from Jomsom to Ranipuhawa, which is the last stop about 1.5 Km short of Muktinath temple. I suggest that travelers keep some medicines for altitude sickness; the height climb is quite steep. From Ranipuhawa, the pilgrims have to walk the 1.5 Km distance to the temple. The walk may be difficult for elderly people as the air is quite thin in the high altitude and the last reach to temple has about 80 steps, climb which may prove harder.

There are motor bikes available for hire which take elders to the entrance of the temple.  There you are at the temple. My suggestion is that, one need not take bath in the morning in Jomsom as the place is very cold in the morning and there is acute water scarcity. It is better to reach the temple and take your holy bath in 108 gangas, which is there in temple. Place is quite warm during the day after 9 am and the holy bath is quite refreshing.  One may spend quite enough time at the temple. For, people interested, there is also a Shakti Peeth temple located about 200 meters from the Perumal Kovil. One may also take a holy dip in the Gandaki river down below near the temple. Apart from Srimoorthy Perumal, one may visit the Narasimhar sanadhi a little away from the main temple. In case you miss the last jeep out, there is a Dharamshala for stay at Ranipuhawa; Prasadam is also provided there. One may donate something as compensation.

The return journey may also be done in a similar route. Again the bus timings are quite tight upto Beni. From Beni onwards, one may find more frequent buses as the roads are not so dangerous and it caters to larger population. If you leave early in the morning from Jomsom, you may be able to catch the direct bus to Beni, or else you have to do the same way as mentioned earlier; Jomsom to Ghasa and Ghasa to Beni. From Beni, again buses are available to Pokhara. From Pokhara buses are available to Kathmandu and other places including the border towns of Bhairahawa and Birgunj. Hope it will of help to other fellow devotees of lord Narayana.

Landscape between Pokhara and Beni


Landscape between Beni and Jomsom
Holy Gandaki river at Ghasa
A view of the road between Beni and Jomsom
Jomsom jeep stand and view of Jomsom terrain
View of Ranipuhawa village from temple entrance
View of Ranipuhawa village from temple entrance
Theerthams from the 108 Divya Desams
Abode of the lord
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  1. very useful last year i went up to pokra stayed for 3 days the weather was bad with rain and winds no flight / buses . returned via kathmandu with great disappointment. i am 74 years old waiting to go with my wife 65 again
    iam planning hope lord narayana will be kind to enough to give darshan / tell me the best season to travel from chennai stchari

    • If Lord Narayana Wills it all his devotees will get the darshan of the lord at Muktinath. At the older age it may be difficult to travel by bus on those roads in Nepal. Flight may be better. Adiyen wishes that you and your wife are able to travel as easily as possible.

    • yes the best time is to travel during September to November is the best climate and weather is good. thanks for sharing about Muktinath.. which is 3800 m in altitude and is situated in Mustang district of Nepal. now a days road is often good than before..

  2. Wonderful. We got the bhagyam of Badarinath yatra this year. adiyen has mentally travelled to Muktinath due to your above write up. We also cannot afford plane so this information is very useful. Thank you so much.

    • Adiyen. Nice to know that you had been Badrinath this year. It would also be nice if you can share with the readers some useful tips and accommodation details etc, if possible. dAsan

    • There are many good times to visit. But the best times are pre monsoon time or the post monsoon time. The pre-monsoon time is basically the time between 15th of March to 15th of May, which is a really good time to escape the heat of the plains and also the moutains have a warm day time weather. The problem with the monsoon time is that the non-tarred roads are not safe and may cause problems during the rainy season. There may be disruption of flights also, as cloud bursts are common in the Himalayas. Post monsoon season maybe good, is what I have heard from the locals. The time of that is usually after 15th of September and before Deepawali. It usually starts snowing after Deepawali. My visit was during first week of April 2012. Hope the information was helpful.

  3. you seem to explore routes to temples at far off places. Can you enlighten us about lakshminarasimha temple at rakshobhuwan referred in bhavishyotara purana, location, details how to reach etc.,
    P Vijayaraghavan

  4. Namo Narayana, very pleased to read your experience.I want to visit muktinath by grace of lord hari…my main motive is to get saligrams from gandaki. I ve few queries regarding this 1.(is it allowed to get saligrams from gandaki to India). 2.(AT WHICH place onwards I should look for saligram).please reply …..if possible I d like to talk over phone to get clearification..any contact details.thanks in advance

    • Namo Narayana. As I traveled both ways by road, there was no problem in carrying the Saligramams to India. I just kept the Saligramams in a bag I had got and just carried them back. There are saligramams available outside the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. I am not sure about the authenticity of those (some other person who knows may be able to tell about the Kathmandu Saligramams better), but the ones available outside Muktinath temple on the road between Ranipuhawa and Muktinath (Walking track) seem authentic and good. In fact I purchased a Dozen Saligramams for about Rs.500(Indian Rs), they were absolutely wonderful.

  5. I am planning to visit holy places MUKTI NATH and PASHUPATINATH . I want to organise this in a group from Bahadurgarh ( Haryana ) near New Delhi. May I request to all interested for the holy journey during June 2013.

    Regards My contact No is 9034919123

  6. A wonderful and very informative website sir, could you please tell me about the charges for a jeep if I book it exclusively. and one more thing, can I take my 4 yrs old son and my mother who is around 60 yrs?

    • Dear Sir,

      As I mentioned charges for a jeep is about 400 Indian Rs per person. So to book an exlusive jeep for yourself you might have to end up paying for about 10 to 12 people depending on size of the jeep. So it may work out to be around 3500 Indian Rs or more. I have seen many old ladies and gentlemen going and visiting. So your 60 year old mother should not face much problem. I am however unsure about altitute related problems among small children. You may have to consult a physician regarding that.

  7. Last year in Oct’2012 I with my wife & my brother and his wife visit Sri Kedarnath & Sri Badrinarayan, This year in oct’13 we plan to visit Muktinath, Those who plan to go to Muktinath, may my Prabhu (Sri Narayan – Jagat ke Palanhar ) Bless them for his Darshan & Pujan

  8. Hi I’m Nalini from Malaysia. There are four of us visiting Muktinath in June 2014. Can u assist me on my trip? What are the things that we’ve to prepare for the visit. Is it safe for us to travel in June? can u add me as one of your friend? Thanks

  9. Hari omm-Dear Koshik, Last time in 2011 I went & I stayed 3 daysin Pokra due to Very bad weather even jeep also stoped for few days,, I came back this time I would like to go through Bus only I am from Bangalore – Karnataka, any body want to shre for this Narayana yatra ! Pl inform me – & Mr Koshik Pl sare your other Temple Visit,,, Hands of to you,,,Good Luck,,,Keep it Up – Raju

  10. I will not recommend travelling after 1st week of June. Because of landslides common in middle Himalayas due to monsoon. It would be wiser to ensure you return to the plains before 12th of June or so. Please plan that way.

  11. Is it possible to visit Muktinath in February? Will the road from Jomsom be closed due to snow? Does the jeep go right upto the temple these days- how to cover the last 1.5 kms if someone cannot walk that much? Your comments will be greatly appreciated.Thanks.

    • Dear Mr. Banerjee sir,

      It is quite possible to reach Muktinath in February as far as I know. But it may be extremely cold for general Indians who belong to the plains. Last 1.5 Km may be covered using motorbikes available for hire for those who cannot walk much.

  12. Dear Kaushik ji, I wish to travel to Muktinaath around September October 2014. You you reckon this is a good time? How can I go from Delhi by road and cross the boarder and what will be the maximum cost per person by road and taking the jeep from jomsom? Also I would like to personally collect Sri Shaligram Shila from the gandaki river. Where can I collect this? I want to personally get the mercy of The Lord by getting his mercy in the form if the shaligram than buying it.How to go to Damodar Kund and where to stay as you said it will take around two days. Are there accommodation? Also what papers will be required at the border.Please let me know of your answer.

  13. Dear Nila Madhava ji,

    September-October is a time when northern India receives monsoon. So you may face problem on the way to Jomsom. Close to Muktinath, there is hardly any rain. So the choice to travel totally depends on your personal preferences.
    The Shaligram Shilas on the Gandaki river near Muktinath temple have gotten exhausted. So to get Shilas, one must travel to Damodar Kund with the help of local travellers or Sherpas. I asked Sherpas, they said that it would take 2 days travel by trekking in 1 direction. I would say for Sherpas it might be a 2 day trekking, for usual Indians from Plains it may take more time. The oxygen content is a bit low and it is difficult for many of us to adjust. You will need to stay longer if you want to travel to Damodar Kund and you may have to speak to locals regarding travel to Damodar Kund.
    Accomodation is available in Jomsom and there is a Dharmashala in Muktinath. However, I am unaware of information regarding availability of accomodation in Damodar Kund.
    As far as papers are concerned. Please carry any ID that proves your Indian identity. Indians are allowed free entry into Nepal, however that is subject to proof that we are Indians. So you could carry your Indian Passport/Indian voter ID, etc to prove your identity if asked for.

  14. Hii,

    We are planning to visit Muktinath temple in end may 2014.
    Is it a good time to visit? And are we allowed to carry Saligramji to india by flight?

  15. We need information on the charges from Pokara to muktinath by road. Pls. specify for individaul & also a group of 30 persons.

    Pls. confirm

    • Veena Ji,

      I have given information about individual bus charges from Pokhara to Mutkinath. I am not sure about whether as a group of 30, you could hire a full bus for your own group. You will have to find that information out locally.

  16. Excellent report of the trip. We were in Mukhthinath recently adopting a more comfortable but expensive air route from Pokara to JOmsom. It would would have been really thrilling to travel by road though less suited for elderly people.

  17. Hi Mr.Kaushik……we are planning to go on a Muktinath Trip on September 5th 2014 from our temple.We are a group of 85 people….in which almost 50 are Senior citizens.

    I needed some more details personally…could you please pass on your Phone no or the E-Mail address…It would Be of great help to us… Thanking You…

  18. namo narayana ya !

    avan arulaalae avan thaazh paninthu ! Shri Koushik ! lord has decided on you to carry out the mission of “enlightening the deserving ones” of reaching mukthinath by road. EXCELLENT !!!! I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ONE SUCH …., THANKS TO LORD FOR ALLOWING KAUSHIK TO EXTEND TIMELY HELP .. I REQUEST THE FUTURE VISITORS OF LORD MUKTHINATH TO LOCATE SPOTS FOR 01. FILTER COFFEE 02. RICE VARIETIES 03. SOUTHERN HELP SPOTS FOR ELDERLY POOR PEOPLE UNABLE TO AFFORD A TRIP BY AIR etc.,


    • You are welcome sir, please do write about the points that people have asked in comments which I was unable to answer. It will be of great help. May your trip bring you closer to Srimoorthy.

  19. Dear MR Kaushik,

    I am planning to visit Muktinath in the middle of January 2015, Roads will be in operation ? Can I book/get direct Jeep from Pokhra to Muktinath? Idea about the flight Pokhra to Jomsom will be in place? Road condition Jomsom to Muktinath ? Hotels will be available in Jan 2015?
    I visited Muktinath in 1986 trekking from Pokhra to Muktinath. Now onece again I like to try by flight / road. If possible please forward the info.

    • I think January might be a bit too cold, but I have not heard of roads being closed in Muktinath like Badrinath for winter. However, I do recommend not travelling in winter as even in hot month of April, the shivering cold of the night is much too hard to bear.

  20. dear Kaushik,

    Wonderful travellogue……my journey has been further crytallized. Just one question….I am planning to go by motorcycle from Pokhara to muktinath and hope that there are no natural barriers for a continuous journey?

    • Motorcycle ride is possible, there are bikes available on hire at Pokhara. However, the roads are a bit narrow and not tarred. So you will have to be a extra bit careful while riding the bike. I assure you that bike trip is quite possible. I have seen bikes plying on the road between Pokhara and Jomsom.

    • Saligramas are not even available in Muktinath anymore. They have more or less been exhausted, so one must go further up stream close to the origin of the Gandaki river at a place called Damodar Kund in order to get Saligramas.

  21. To visit Muktinath, better between October and November. During this time of the year rainfall is not heavy and so danger of landslide is less. After month of November the temperature starts to go down rapidly and the wind-blow gets harsher after 12 midday everyday.
    May you all be blessed by holy place Muktinath. This is a place one must visit in his or her lifetime.

  22. I visited Muktinath on 19.09.2014 in a group of 40 pilgrims . It was a sunny day. I had darshan to my entire satisfaction by the grace of Lord Muktinath. I’m The information provided by Sri Kousik was quite useful.I thank him a lot.

  23. I went to Mukthinath on 10th October 2014. by flights from Chennai(8th Oct.14). chennai to Kathmandu,from kathmandu toPokra,from Pokra to Jomsom and from Jomsom to Mukthinath by Jeep and motor bike.ButI could not enjoy the scenaries of Himalayas. Is tempo travellars (mini van) are allowed from Pokra/ Jomsom to Mukthinath directly?(12 people)

    • Tempos and buses do ply from Pokhara to Jomsom. Direct and connecting buses are available. But I do not know of any other transport besides Jeep from Jomsom to Muktinath.

  24. Hari om,
    Thanks for the excellent information.
    We are planning to visit muktinath in december end.
    There are some opinions that it is possible but the cold will be extreme.
    There are other opinions that temple or path will be closed and dharshan will not be possible.
    Pl advise your views.
    We are a group of 4 in midtwenties. We are ready for the cold but dharshan is very important for us.


    • It will definitely be cold. Also, there may be lots of snow making it hard to reach. Definitely not impossible. By the grace of Bhagwan, it will happen. Good luck!

      Govinda Govinda

  25. We are a group of 3 planning to visit Muktinath next Oct btwn 18th to 20th oct , via road (jeep) from kathmandu. Mr kaushik plz advice on the weather conditions during the 3rd week of October to travel and reaching Muktinath.TQ!

  26. Hello,
    Does any body has experience of visiting muktinath in end of December? Could you pls share & give ur advice on that?
    1st Jan 2015 being auspicious vaikunta Ekadashi, I would like to have darshan of lord. I saw the temperatures are close to zero these days.
    I want to know, Are people visiting these days? Dharshan is possible ?
    How to get ready for it?

    • I have heard from people in Muktinath that December and January months become difficult for travel due to snow. It does not snow often, but when it does, the snow is very thick.

  27. The cost of jeep all the way from Pokhara could be quite high. If all 6 of you share it might work out quite economically. Its been 3 years since my visit, the prices might have gone up. There are details about the costs in the article. You may see for your reference.

  28. adiyen dasan with the grace of perumal we plan to visit mukthinath your article is very useful and its a divine message. while we reading the article , we start to imagine the natural scenery and the grace of lord moorthi we r thankful to u ..

  29. Adiyen Dhasan…. We 7 members(2F/4M) started to Mukthinath by Swamy’s grace on 10/03/2015 from chennai central to Gorakhpur jn in rapthi sagar exp… we reached by thursday eveng(12/03/15) to gorakhpur and we reached Johmson by saturday by route buses.. we started our divine yatra to Mukthinath next day.. we had darshan by 3pm but its heavy snow fall and we return by 4pm but now its heavy snow fall anyhow swami grace we had great darshan and return to chennai again by train . thanks for ur guideness . dasan……

    • Namaskaram. Very informative page. I have a query. I am engaging (4 adults) an SUV Xylo from Varanasi for our trip to Mukthinath and Kathmandu – from May 22 to May 28, 2015. Can I go by this (Indian) car from Pokhara to Jomsom and engage a jeep from Jomsom to Mukthinath or should I engage a jeep from Pokhara itself. Can anyone guide me please. If I have to book a jeep from Pokhara if available contacts please.

      • Indian registered vehicles need a temporary Nepal registration which can be obtained at the border for a fee. Jeeps are available at Jomsom itself, one can engage jeeps from Jomsom to Muktinath. There is no need to engage one from Pokhara itself. Jai Muktinath!

    • Dear Shri.Sabari,
      I am also from Chennai & intend to travel to Mukthinath alone by train.

      I intend to collect more details from you like Boarding,Lodging,climate,Tariff,clothing reqd,whether the trip would be strenuous for a 67yr old man by road,how long it would take to complete including kathmandu,etc besides some finer points.

      Is it possible to meet u at Chennai to collect these details.
      My contact no 9444796829.

      Before i conclude,my compliments & thanks to Shri.Kaushik for this wonderful blog sharing lot of informations for the journey.
      Best Blog i have across for Mukthinath pilgrimage for young & old.

      Compliments all the participants also for the guidance provided.

      I am more confident & eqipped to undertake the journey now.

    • Adiyen Dasan! Very glad to hear of your successful journey. Snow is common in March. Devarirs have enjoyed the Darshan of Bhagwan amidst the snow which is wonderful. Jai Muktinath!

  30. From Pokra to Jomsom, are Helicopter services easily available or one has to book in advance. If so, is it on-line or could be done on spot also.Are we to go thro agents? How much does it cost.

    Thanks in advance.

    • I think one can avail helicopter directly from Pokhara itself. I think there is a helicopter service to Muktinath from Jomsom, but I am not sure about their timings, availability and cost. From Jomsom, the journey by road takes less than 2 hours, so it should not be very uncomfortable.