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Muktinath - A religious and sacred place for Hindu and Buddhist

By Gaurav Manandhar at
Muktinath, one of the holy places for Hindu people, is home for various Hindus and Buddhist temples and these temples have its own history and legend to pass on to the next generation.
Muktinath stone

Muktinath is one of the sacred places for both Hindu and Buddhist and is located in the Muktinath valley at an altitude of 3710 meters lies at the foot of Thorong La pass, Mustang, Nepal. Although Muktinath has more influence for the Hindu people, Muktinath is respected as a holy place by Buddhist. Muktinath is a fine example that shows how the two religions, Hindu and Buddhist people, share this famous sacred site with mutual understanding.

Muktinath is also a sacred place of Hindu and Muktinath is also called as “Mukti Ksetra” and considered as 105th among the 108 Divya Desam (also refer as 108 Vishnu Temple). In Hinduism, Mukti Ksetra literally means the place of liberation or a place to attain Mokshya. It is one of the most ancient temples of Lord Vishnu and the Vaishnava tradition and is believed to exist even before the birth of Buddhism and its ancient name is Thiru Saligramam and is one of the 8 sacred sites of Svayam Vyakta Ksetras.

Muktinath, one of the holy places for Hindu people, is home for various Hindus and Buddhist temples and these temples have its own history and legend to pass on to the next generation. Let’s see some of these sacred temples:

  1. The Central Temple of Muktinath
    The central temple of Muktinath is one of the most famous temples in Mustang region, Nepal. The temple has much importance from religion and tourism point of view. The temple is very small yet holds much history in terms of Hinduism and Buddhism.
    In Vaishnava tradition, there are 8 most sacred shrines to respect Lord Vishnu and they are called “Svayam Vyakta Kstras”. Muktinath temple is one of them and other shrines are Srirangam, Srimushnam, Tirupati, Naimisharaya, Thotadri, Pushkar, and Badrinath.
    The murti in Muktinath temple is made of gold and is as big as a man. There are 108 bull faces or popularly called as 108 water pipes. Even the water is of freezing temperature, the devotees take the sacred bath in those 108 water pipes.
    The Central temple of Muktinath also consists of a Buddhist Monk statue and is very old and is worshipped and respected by Buddhists. That’s why Hindu and Buddhist people have a mutual understanding on this sacred site.
  2. Shakti Peetha
    All Hindu knows the legend of Goddess Sati how she sacrifice her body when her father spoke ill of Lord Shiva, in the fire. She was also known as other of half Shakti and due to her immense power, the fire couldn’t destroy her body. And the rampage of Lord Shiva grieving on her death lead to fell off her body parts. It was believed there are about 51 Shakti peetha revered by Shaktism and her 51 peethas are connected to 51 alphabets of Sanskrit.
    Mutkinath is one of those 51 Shakti Peethas and it is addressed as “Gandaki Chandi” and “Chakrapani”.
  3. Sri Murthy Mahatmyam
    There are 5 elements i.e. fire, water, sky, Earth and air according to Hinduism and Buddhism philosophies. And Sri Murthy Mahatmyam in Muktinath is the only place on the earth where you can find all those 5 elements. They are found in their distinct form in the same place together.
    The entire river near Sri Murthy Mahatmyam consists of Shaligram stones which are believed to be used in order to worship Lord Vishnu.
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Muktinath – A sacred place for Buddhist

Mutkinath is a sacred place for followers of Buddhism. The Buddhist with mutual understanding shares this holy site with followers of Hindu. In the temple of Muktinath, there is an old statue of Buddhist Monk and is worshipped by Buddhists.

Chumig Gyatsa in Muktinath, is one of the 24 Buddhist Tantric places. It means “Hundred Waters”. The traditional caretakers of Chumig Gyatsa are Tibetan Buddhist.