Muktinath : This Sanskrit name itself has religious overtone and a sort of emotional ring to it for the devout Hindus. The name is synthesis of two words Mukti and Nath. Mukti means Salvation or Nirvana and Nath mean god or Master. Mukti Holds grate significance for all spiritual people in the south Asian sub continent. Muktinath (the provider of salvation) has been one such holy site, where thousands of devotees flock for attaining the much sought after moksha (Freedom) from the cycle of birth and rebirth. It is an ardent wish or a dream if you may say, of every Hindu to get Mukti-Nirvana from this cycle taking births over and over again. It is belief of the Hindus that this world is “MAYA” (an illusion) and the earliest one gets out of it the better and a visit to Muktinath will help them achieve that goal. Since then it called Muktinath.
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 Temple, Containing an Image of Vishnu.
The Hindus call it Muktichhetra (Place of salvation) is one of the four religious sites. Many Shaligrams (Ammonite) found here are considered by Hindu as incarnation of lord Vishnu and worship them. According to Hindu Myth lord Vishnu turned into Shaligram because of Brinda’s Curse.
Similarly Buddhist calls this valley the Chumig Gyatsa (place of 108 waterspouts). It is believed thatGuru Rimpoche (Padmasambha) the scholar founder of Tibetan Buddhism once meditated and gained lifetime achievement of spiritual knowledge here while on his way to Tibet on 12th century. The valley has seven historic village: Putak, Jhong, Chhyonkhar, Purang, Jharkot and khinga. Ranipauwa (lit.queen’s pilgrim hostel, named after queen Subarna Prabha Devi) is a new settlement founded by people of Purang. The main ethnic group of the valley is Bhotias. This place is opened through out the year but especially in Rishitarpani, Ram Nawami, and Bijay Dashami thousands of pilgrims gather here to celebrate the festival.