Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka (Ashok Vatika)

Nuwara Eliya was previously known as Seetha Eliya and Hakgala Gardens is the place where Ashoka Vatika used to be located ( Ashoka Vatika is the place where Ravana had kept Sita Devi in Lanka according to the Ramayana epic).

Hakgala Botanical Gardens

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns. It shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby, is the Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, decorated with religious figures.

Little England

Nuwara Eliya is a hill station unlike Kandy and the temperature here is cool and cold in the night. It is also called 'Little England'.

One of the distinctive features of Nuwara Eliya's countryside is the widespread growing of vegetables, fruit and flowers usually associated with Europe. This "Little England" is covered with terraces growing potatoes, carrots, leeks, and roses interspersed with tea bushes on the steeper slopes.

The slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world's finest orange pekoe tea. Several tea factories around Nuwara Eliya offer guided tours along with an opportunity of tea tasting as well as to purchase their products.

The main attractions here are:

  • The Golf course
  • Victoria Park
  • boating/fishing on Lake Gregory.

The Karni Mata Rat Temple

Karni Mata Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Karni Devi and it is popularly known as the Rat Temple.

It is located at Deshnok,Rajasthan, India. Deshnok is approximately 30 kms away from Bikaner and enroute to Jodhpur.

There are thousands of black rats in the temple along with a few white ones; which are considered to be holy and sighting them is a special blessing.

 

Muktinath Temple in Nepal

Muktinath Temple is one of the most ancient Hindu temples of God Vishnu and is located at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass of the Himalayas in the Mustang district of Nepal.
Muktinath is a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. The Hindus call this place as Mukti Kshetra which means “the place of salvation” whereas the Buddhists call it Chumig Gyatsa which means in Tibetan “Hundred Waters”. The shrine is predominant among all 108 Hindu Sri Vaishnava Divyadesam stalas and is considered one of the eight most sacred shrines called the Svayam Vyakta Kshetras of Vaishnavas whereas the other seven being Srirangam, Srimushnam and Totadri Mutt in Tamil Nadu, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Naimisharanyam in Uttar Pradesh, Pushkar in Rajasthan and Badrinath in Uttarakhand.
The temple’s outer courtyard has 108 bull faced dhara’s (water holes) as it is said to be very auspicious to take bath on all the dhara’s as you never know which dhara is related to your zodiac sign or birth star.
According to Hindu astrology, there are 12 zodiac signs or rashi’s and 9 planets or grahas giving a combination of 108. Also there are 27 lunar houses or birth stars which are divided into 4 quarters or padas each giving a combination of 108.
Muktinath Temple

 

Muktinath Temple

 

Kali Gandaki River

 

View of Snow peaked mountains from Jomsom

 

Way to Muktinath Temple from Jomsom

 

Stairs leading to Muktinath Temple

 

Muktinath Temple another view

 

Shiva Temple in Muktinath

 

Snow peaked mountains from flight

 

Snow peaked mountains in Jomsom

 

Mountains in closeup

 

Agni Air flight from Pokhara to Jomsom

 

Flights to Jomsom

 

Jomsom Airport

 

Mountains from Jomsom

 

Sunrise view from Jomsom

 

Sunrise View

 

Other mountains from Jomsom

 

Views from Jomsom

 

Views from Jomsom

 

Pokhara Airport

 

Tara Air flight

 

Views from Muktinath

 

Kali Gandaki River from flight

 

Kali Gandaki River

 

Jomsom City
The waterway downstream from Muktinath is the Kali Gandaki River which is the source of all Silas or Saligramams (a representation of Lord Vishnu). The entire river bed has Saligramams stones which are used to worship Lord Vishnu. If you are fortunate you might get a Saligramam embossed with the Sudharshan chakra or Conch shell.  

 

The best time to visit Muktinath is between April and June due to unpredictable weather conditions.  It is always suggested to stay for a night or two in Jomsom for acclimatization as the weather might not be favorable for many because of the risk of acute mountain sickness.
Access is very difficult because of tough and varying weather conditions. However one can fly or travel by road from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then fly from Pokhara to Jomsom Airport. From Jomsom airport one has to walk till the jeep point which might be approx. 1 km. The tourists can then take a jeep to Muktinath which is approx. 22 kms, 1-1½ hrs drive. On arrival at the jeep point, the guests have to walk for a km and then they have an option to climb the hill to reach the Muktinath temple by foot or take a bike.


The dornier flights from Pokhara to Jomsom and vice versa operate only in the morning hours each day, particularly from 7am to 10:30am. Post 11am, the flight does not operate due to strong winds.