As staggering and stunning are those Himalayas, the distant settlement nestled in its foothills is equally appealing. They are culturally rich and geographically enticing, and Jomsom is one of such high altitude settlements, which is embarked by thousands to unravel its exclusive beauty.
Jomsom, Nepal is one of the most beautiful and intriguing places to be in Nepal. Located at an altitude of 2,743 meters, Jomsom extends over both the banks of raging Kali Gandaki River with the backdrop of mighty peaks of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri.
Jomsom is popularly walked by the trekkers of Jomsom Muktinath trek; however, recently, the journey alone to Jomsom has gravitated a lot. It is a Himalayan village, which is popularly located en route to Annapurna Circuit trek. It lies in the Trans-Himalayan rain shadow zone, causing dry climate with the desert-like landscape.
The name of Jomsom is derived from the Tibetan word, Dzong Sampa, meaning “New Fort.” The fort was established by a three-eyed king named Thang Mig Chen to monitor the movement of north-south trade.
From an administrative point of view as well, Jomsom is a prominent place. Since the early 1970s, it has remained the headquarters of Mustang with all the government offices. During ancient times, the Tibet-India salt trade route went through Jomsom.
Jomsom, Nepal is equally rich from a natural and cultural point of view. In the jungles near Jomsom, several wildlife can be spotted including blue sheep, musk deer, and rabbits. And the view of magnificent range of mountains of Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Tilicho Peak, Yak Kawa, and Mesokanto La is just too captivating.
The wind that blows in Jomsom is another interesting aspect of the town, as the valley is fluttered with rush of wind up the valley every day from late morning onwards. You can see the layout of the village and design of houses are unique so to remain protected from the wind.
So here are few things places you can visit in Jomsom, which pays you perfectly as a day hiking.
Places to visit in Jomsom
Thini Village is a picturesque settlement against the desert-like barren hills. The village is only 30 minutes walk away from Jomsom, Nepal at 2,860 meters, making it an excellent short hike. Thini is the oldest Thakali village in Thak Khola region, where, historically, King Thang Mig Chen used to rule. Thus, every village pay tribute to Thini in their way.
Kot Ghar (arsenal) in Thini Villages preserves all the artilleries. It also serves as the gateway towards Tilicho Village.
Thini Bonpa Gompa, Thini Bhadra Festival and Bhomo Amma Festival are some of the major attractions of Thini festivals. Thini Bonpa Gompa has affliction with Lubra Gompa and is currently looked after by monks of Kuchep Terenga Gompa of Nyingma-Pa sect.
In just an hour walk, you can reach the glaring lake of Dhumba Lake from Jomsom. The lake lies at an elevation of 2,900 meters in a most serene and enticing location alongside the Himalayas.
It is a sacred Buddhist lake with religious attachment with Kuchup Terenga Gompa. The water of the lake is considered holy and used for initial offering to the monastery before starting any ritual. Even the fish of the lake aren’t eaten but raised for religious purposes. It is believed that Syanba Rimpoche II has buried a bottle comprising grains and valuable metals under the lake with a spiritual offering.
As per the popular local legend, the lake once turned red on its own and only after a long time, when religious ceremonies were performed by Tibetan Buddhists did the lake turned in its natural color. Since then, it has been highly revered and worshipped.
Kuchup Terenga Gompa
Kuchup Terenga Gompa is located at around 3,000 meters elevation that takes only 15 minutes of uphill walk from Dhumba Lake. Every religious ceremonies and ritual are performed using the sacred water of Dhumba Lake. It also serves as an awesome vantage point for viewing Marpha, Thini, Syang, and Jomsom.
The gompa is a Nyingma-Pa sect monastery founded by Lama Lhungjing Urgen Palsang during the 17th century to extend Buddhism and maintain peace and harmony. It is one of the highly revered monasteries of the Mustang region.
Kuchup Terenga holds several ancient artifacts including idols of Guru Rimpoche/Padmasambhava, Hopang Me/Amitabha, Phapa Jhempal and Chengresi and several wall paintings.
However, visiting the monastery during October and November, you can witness Dhekep (masked dance performance).
You will reach Gharab Dzong within just 45 minutes of walk from Jomsom via Thini Village on the opposite side of Lung-puhyun Kola. Although now there are only ruins, it used to be the fort of ancient King Thing Michen. It is beyond the Gharab Dzong, where lies Dhumba Lake and Kuchup Terenga Gompa.
According to the research and survey, its existence dates back to the 16th century and was inhabited till the 19th century. Along with the historical essence, Gharab Dzong is also known for the wonderful view of Dhaulagiri, Mesokanto La, Nilgiri, Tilicho Peak, Yak Kawa and villages including Jomsom, Puthang, Thini, Samle, and Syang.
With only 30 minutes of walking from Jomsom, Nepal, you can reach Syang Village, which is located at an elevation of 2,780 meters. You will find two tiers of settlement in Syang Village; one alongside the road down below and another, on elevated land, which is the original and main settlement of Syang Village.
Syang Village shares quite a similarity with Marpha with almost all the houses painted in white except for the two monasteries.
There is an interesting belief in this village; the more the wooden logs on top of your houses, the richer you are, so watching the wood logs on top of the houses, you can figure out their financial hold.
It is one of two main monasteries of Syang Village, which is also known as Tashi La Khanga. It is a Nyingma-Pa sect monastery with three huge images of Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava), Chengresi and Toma. Same as Kuchup Terenga Gompa, you can witness Dhepkep here too.
Also known as Dhi Che Ling, Ani Gompa is another important monastery of Syang Village of Jomsom, Nepal and of the whole region as well. It is one of the famous nunneries in Mustang, where Ani means for a nun. Although the Buddhist nuns maintain the gompa, people of all religion and faith are welcomed.
Ani Gompa homes a considerable number of nuns compared to other nunneries in Kali Gandaki valley with only a handful of nuns.
The monastery is up-keep and well maintained which is evident from the sight of the main prayer room, which is neat and has several idols of Buddha in a different posture, including Guru Padmasambhava.
There are holy books called Tengyur and wall paintings of Nyingmapa gods and goddesses including the wrathful deity of Padma Dragpo, Avalokiteshvara and Padmasambhava.
It takes only about 15-minutes to walk from Jomsom Airport to reach Mustang Eco-Museum. The museum is an incredible insight into the ancient history and culture of Mustang Valley through musical instruments, costumes, and traditionally dresses mannequins,
It takes only a few hours to observe all the observations of the museum including a fascinating collection of ceramic vessels, bones, beads and pendants which are recovered from the ancient burial of Mustang caves, most of them dating back to 800 BC.
The museum opens daily from 8 AM to 11 AM and again between 2 PM to 5 PM.
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