This Trekking in Jomsom and Kaligandaki valley between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs upto Jomsom, through the famous Thakali land and flying back to KTM by STOL aircraft. Jomsom (sometimes known as Dzongsam or the New Fort) spreads over both the banks of the Kali Gandaki River and the towering peaks of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri form an attractive backdrop. Being the district headquarters it is primarily an administrative and commercial centre with government officials and merchants rubbing shoulders with the local inhabitants of the region, known as the Thakalis, who are known for their trading skills.
The views from Jomsom are enchanting as the Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri ranges reflect the golden rays of the rising and the setting sun. The entire panorama is filled with a golden, glittering light, which forms a dramatic contrast to the barren, black and dry mountains of the surrounding Kali Gandaki valley.
The mountain views are spectacular and the route actually crosses over to the other side of the main Himalayan range for some unusual views of the northern flanks. Most of the route remains below 3000 metres but the trek is strenuous enough to be satisfying (see the Route Profile for the trek around Annapurna). This is a good trek if you wish to avoid high altitudes.
Muktinath, situated at a height of 3,660m, is an important pilgrimage centre for both Hindus and Buddhists. The most prominent shrine is a Vishnu temple where 108 spouts, fashioned in the shape of a cows head, pours forth water that is considered to be holy. This water is channelled from a stream running above the temple which is built in a Tibetan style and contains huge brass idols of Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, and Kali. There is also a Buddhist Gompa (monastery) and a pagoda-type temple dedicated to Jwala Mayi (Goddess of Fire). In this temple, shielded by curtains, are the outlets for the natural gas that oozes from the rock and feeds the temple flame.