The Muktinath Diaries : On the Road with Rajan Babu Shrestha

Travelogue     0
The Muktinath Diaries : On the Road with Rajan Babu Shrestha

Rajan Babu Shrestha, CEO of Sipradi Trading Pvt Ltd is a frequent business traveller. Tamish Giri of New Business Age sat down with Shrestha as he recounted his 2012 Muktinath trip.   

I have visited many destinations worldwide but the landscape and nature here in Nepal is something I am proud of and greatly admire. Nepal is a beautiful destination with lots of tourism prospects. We must focus on promoting these beautiful destinations to boost our economy.

Muktinath, Inviting For Businesses
My work involves a lot of travelling but I hardly have the time to go on a personal leisure trip. In October of 2012, an opportunity to explore the beauty of Nepal arrived at my doorstep. It was a business trip. We needed a high-altitude location to establish a TATA service centre. References flooded us, most of them suggested Muktinath as the ideal location. We knew it was a popular destination, and we decided to go for it. On our way we observed the heavy movement of vehicles; the track was packed with vehicles even though it lacked a service centre. So we thought of it as an ideal location for our service centre. The construction of the service centre is ongoing and it will be ready to operate in the next three months.

TATA Safari, Our Ideal Travel Companion
The rain on the day meant the roads were slippery, we knew the road up from Beni Bazar to Muktinath was a difficult one and the choice of vehicle was crucial. We chose TATA Safari, a four-wheel-drive vehicle for our journey. It was a fantastic vehicle that took us up to Muktinath safely and crossed the slippery rocky terrain and the raging rivers with ease. 

Point of Attraction 
After Benighat the journey gets difficult, the way is narrow up there but the natural landscape accompanying the route is amazing. The clouds, mountains, rivers, villages and waterfalls are all elegantly beautiful. The route is lush with beautiful greenery on one side and the awe-inspiring force of the river on the other. Watching the apple farm and houses crafted with raw tree logs at Marpha was a delight to our eyes. The view of the Tibetan Plateau makes you lost in its beauty. The scenic beauty of the place is appealing and makes you wonder if you’ve crossed over to heaven.

Landslide and Crossing the River Track 
Since the tour was an off-road drive, we had some difficulties but our journey was remarkable nonetheless. I find difficult terrains adventurous. The rain on that day caused a landslide on the route, which halted our trip by two hours. The landslide and a damaged vehicle blocked the narrow road up there. 

We had to cross the river while entering Kagbeni. The path was completely underwater and the only way to cross it was to follow the track of the vehicles moving ahead of us. If we had missed the track slightly, we could well have been swept away. Our driver was good. Thanks to his experience, we crossed over safely.  

Defying Expectation 
The hotels on the trail and their menus were not something we were expecting. I saw a restaurant named ‘Bob Marley’ in Jomsom, which shocked me, I never expected the place to have a restaurant named as such. We saw the menus of the restaurants; they offered European and American cuisine. The route was difficult, but the destination was quite amazing and exceptional. 

A Moment to Remember
At first, our trip was a business-only one, but as we crossed Jomsom, we visited the Muktinath temple to perform prayers as well. According to Hindu rituals, bathing in the springs at Muktinath purifies your sins, so we didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Bathing in the freezing spring water at Muktinath is something I will wear as a badge of honour! In October, the temperature there is quite cold and bathing in the freezing spring water at such temperatures is obviously difficult. The water was extremely chilly but I am happy I ultimately went through with it.

Tidy Hospitality
The hospitality of the locals was also a highlight of the journey. Locals warmly welcome you everywhere. The people and even the owners were welcoming; they gave us their personal care and their time to describe to us the history and culture of the place. The people were friendly and open and we loved being there. The hotel that we stayed in, in Jomsom was small but tidily maintained.      

Necessities 
Medical facilities are hard to find in such remote areas, carrying a proper first aid kit is an essential requirement. Conducting a pre-check of the vehicle before leaving will ensure your trip is safe. Another thing to consider will be the expenses; the place is comparatively expensive compared to major cities. So planning your budget is also crucial.

Suggestions 
Muktinath is a lovely place, and it is an ideal destination for adventure seekers. Travelling to Muktinath will give you lifelong memories. For bikers, it is a convenient trail. It is a beautiful destination and one I highly recommend. However, travelling to Muktinath in the monsoon can be a taxing affair; the chances of landslides and obstruction of the road are high. Touring in September-October and March-April is highly recommended. 

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