Jomsom, also known as Dzongsam or New Fort, is a town located at an altitude of 2800m in Mustang, Nepal. It extends over both the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. Along the banks of Kali Gandaki river there are rocks holy to the Hindus. The soaring peaks of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri form a backdrop. As the district headquarters, it is primarily an administrative and commercial center with government officials and merchants rubbing shoulders with the local residents of the region, known as Thakalis. A company of the Nepalese Army is stationed here. Nearby is Jomsom Airport from where there are regular flights.
A trail passes through the Lower Mustang region of Nepal, ending at the village of Kagbeni, a Tibetan influenced village filled with prayer wheels, shortens and a Buddhist monastery. The trail follows the Kali Gandaki River which forms the deepest ravine in the world; on one side lies the Annapurna mountain range and on the other side is Dhaulagiri. Between the two ranges, there are views of 8 of the 20 highest mountains in the world. The Kali Gandaki is a quarter of a mile wide river bed; during the winter the river will be dry, but during the summer and monsoon it fills with rain water and melting snow. The scenery of the trail ranges from forests of brilliant red rhododendrons to rocky cliffs and desert. The culture along the track is a rich mixture of Hindu and Tibetan Buddhism. The trail’s highest point is Muktinath at 3800 m, a holy site of temples sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus for centuries.
Short Hike/Walk in and around Jomsom
Marpha (2665 M)
Distance 7.5 km From Jomsom Duration: 2 hours walk
Marpha is huddled behind a ridge for protection from the wind and dust. This large Thakali village exhibits the typical Thak Khola architecture of flat roofs and narrow paved alleys and passageways. The low rainfall in this region makes these flat roofs
practical; they also serve as a drying place for grain and vegetables. In Marpha, an extensive drainage system flows under the flagstone-paved street in this clean and
pleasant village. There is a library (open from 5 to 7 P. M.) and impressive ‘kanis’ getaways mark both ends of town.
Distance 4 Km form Jomsom Duration: 1.30 Hours of Trek
A small sleepy town left aside through the ages, as it is perched high on a plateau, away from the route, it was left aside and this has been a boon in disguise. Though the surrounding villages have prospered and developed, as Shyang was left aside; it has maintained its century old tradition of living. It is worthwhile visit this forgotten village and marvel at the simplicity of life. A dramatic change in the vegetation, from pine and conifer forests to dry, desert-like country is visible in this stretch of land. Beside this agriculture rich area, the flow of air between the peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri create strong winds that howl up the valley. The breezes blow gently from the north during the early hours of the day, then shift to powerful gusts from the south throughout the late morning and afternoon.
Distance: 5.5 Km form Jomsom Duration: 2 hours of Trek
A sacred turquoise lake nestled in the lap of Mt. Nilgiri. Legend says this lake water turned red on its own and it was only after performing a long and devoted religious ceremony, the lake water slowly began to return to its natural turquoise color and since then it is considered a sacred lake. This lake today attracts people from surrounding areas in all their finery and bright colors in all shapes, sizes and ages. They throng this lake for prayers that similar changes for betterment may occur in their life.
Distance: 5 Km from Jomsom Duration: 2 Hours Treks
An outstanding village on the other side of Jomsom. Its strategic location overlooking the salt route still commands respect. Most of the traders and citizens scattered around kali Gandaki basin have their ancestral home in this fascinating and oldest village of Thini. Inhabited by elders while the young goes off to greener pasture, this village is worth visiting.
Eklo Bhatti (2730M)
Distance: 9.5 Km form Jomsom Duration 2.30 hours trek
Better known as Eklo bhatti (‘alone Hotel’). Despite its name, it is a substantial out post where the Hotel Hill Ton, Hotel Monal and Holiday Inn offer you a chance to get out of the wind. In the Kagbeni Lodhe you can shop for all kinds of Tibetan something and also a break to eat something. The direct route to Muktinath leads straight up hill behind the village.
Distance: 10.5 Km form Jomsom Duration: 3 hours of Trek
A green Oasis at the junction of the Jhong khola and Kali Gandaki river. Kagbeni looks like a town out of the medieval past, with closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleyways, imposing shorten and a large, ochre-colored Gompa perched above the town.
Many people still dress in typical Tibetan clothes, though the children have even in this faraway village, learned to beg, rather insistently for pencil a rare commodity. Their innocence and ever cheerful faces always brightens the drab surrounding.
Distance: 21.5 Km
The temple and the religious shrine of Muktinath are about 90m in elevation above Ranipauwa. There are no hotels and the temple committee does not allow camping. Muktinath is an important pilgrimage place for both Hindu & Buddhist. The holy shrine at Muktinath is in a grove of trees and includes a Buddhist Gompa and the pagoda style temple of Vishnu Mandir, Containing an Image of Vishnu. Around the temple is a wall from which 108 waterspouts, cast in the shape of cows’ heads, pour fourth-sacred water. Even more sacred is the water that issues from rock inside the ancient Tibetan style Jwala Mai Temple, a short distance below the pagoda. Inside this Gompa, behind a tattered curtain, are small natural gas jest that produce a perpetual holy flame alongside a spring that is the source of the religious importance of Muktinath. It is often possible to see Tibetan woman with elaborate turquoise embedded headdresses, engaged in devotion at these shrine.
We recommend to visit the place by local jeep which are available in Jomsom.
Suggested Itineraries (Ex-Pokhara)
Option I: Drive in fly out – 3 nights / 4 days
Day 01: Drive from Pokhara to Tatopani (6 hours drive) by 4X4 vehicle (maximum 5 pax in a jeep) & transfer to Dhaulagiri Lodge.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Drive to Jomsom (6 hours) & transfer to hotel.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 03: Excursion trip to Kagbeni by jeep. From jeep station clients will have to walk for about 30 minutes one way.
Later return to jeep station & drive to Muktinath Temple. Again here Jeep sation to Muktinath Temple is approximately 30 hours walk.
Return to Jomsom. Overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Early morning, fly back to Pokhara.
Option II: Fly in Fly out – 2 nights/3 days
Day 01: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom & tranfer to hotel.
Excursion trip to Kagbeni by jeep. From jeep station clients will have to walk for about 30 minutes one way.
Later return to jeep station & drive to Muktinath Temple. Again here Jeep station to Muktinath Temple is approximately 30 hours walk.
Return to Jomsom. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Free day in Jomsom. Optional day hiking in Jomsom.
Day 03: Early morning, fly back to Pokhara.
Please note that operation of Jomsom flight from Pokhara is completely depends on weather condition. There are several airlines that operate this flight early in the morning only. After 9.30 or 10 am there will be strong winds due to which aircrafts can not land and take off. We have experience that clients stranded in Jomsom for almost a week due to bad weather. As such we need to brief clients in advance so that they will be prepared accordingly