Down in lower altitude, the nights are significantly warmer, especially when the walls aren’t seeping wind through. Staring out the window, the moon hangs brightly above the peaks of Nilgiri. It was barely 6am, but we were all getting ready to head up to the Muktinath Temple, the city’s namesake and a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus. The main temple was forbidden for non-Hindus, but it was rather small in stature and housed a deity that resembled that of Tibetan Buddhism. It is interesting how in Nepal, both Hinduism and Buddhism coexist harmoniously. Within the massive Muktinath complex, there was another temple with an ‘eternal flame’ which burns from the waters, making it a sacred site once again. That being said, when you kneel down to see the flickering flame housed behind a box a strong odour of natural gas comes up. Mystery solved!
Breakfast menu was the same so I ordered some muesli with milk. While we were chatting in the hotel dining hall, out of nowhere some cows started to mingle outside of our hotel and before we knew it, the hotel owner comes in hauling a small bucket of milk. WHOAH, fresh milk!! Awesome….
Not wanting to our next destination and waste 5 dusty hours downhill, we took a jeep down into the city (a REAL city, not a town!) of Jomsom. Despite having ridden through some horrible rides, this may have been the worst. Sitting in the back trunk perpendicularly, knee-to-knee, the dusty swirls through the air and bumpy like a mofo. First time through these 4 months of travelling did we want to throw up on any vehicle… We were glad we got off after a torturous 2 hours, but made it safely in one piece. Follow it up with a 1hr hike through the howling winds of Jomsom, we felt like crossing a desert before finally making it into the quaint village of Marpha.
The town was built in a valley where the howling winds somehow just stop once you enter the Marpha village gate. Lonely Planet recommends this place as it has the “most luxurious” guesthouses in the whole Annapurna trek, we love this place mostly for the way the city is setup, and how ‘homey’ it was compared to all the other places throughout the circuit. The coolest part though, was definitely seeing meat on the menu, and to top it off the food is DELICIOUS! Yayyy. Still sore from yesterday’s descent, good food is always the best cure.