Nepal: Day trip to Manakamana
The effects of tourism can be seen and felt throughout Nepal, but shrewd travelers can still chance upon a handful of villages that have remained more or less untouched by the encroaching hands of commercialism. The temple and small village of Manakamana is one such place.
Manakamana one of the most popular temples in Nepal for animal sacrifices. The ruling goddess, Bhagwati is believed to grant wishes in exchange for prayer and animal sacrifices. People try at least once in their lifetime, if not more often to make the pilgrimage to Manakanama and make a sacrifice to the goddess.
Situated atop a 1300-meter hill, visitors can take their time walking up the gentle slopes or they can take a cable car that runs from the cable station of Cheres, (about 5 kilometers east of Mugling) to Manakamana in only 15 minutes. It is an exhilarating ride as you pass the river and up two ridges to the top. If the thought of walking all the up and back seems like a bit much, why not take the cable car on the way up and enjoy the walk downhill on your return.
The cable car operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and briefly closing for lunch from 12.00 p.m. to 13.30 p.m. The cost is a hefty 10 U.S. Dollars plus 14% tax for foreigners, and R250 plus tax for Nepalese citizens. This is a return fare. Single fares only apply to a sacrificial goat (R140). Hindu devotees believe that a visit to this temple will bring good luck, so expect to see many animal sacrifices at the temple entrance.
There are many simple hotels and lodges in the village, all charging about R100 to R400 per room. Some hotels boast hot water with separate bathrooms. The arrival of the cable car in 1998 has cut down on the number of hotels that operate in the area, as many visitors do Manakamana as a day trip without spending the night. You can easily do both — take the cable car and spend the night in one of Nepal’s most interesting and historical towns. In the off-season, many of the restaurants in the village are closed, with only street vendors on hand offering fast food. Whatever you decide to do, check the accommodations link on Nepal.com for more information on hotels and motels.
Manakamana lies northeast of the town of Mugling, some three and a half hours by bus east from Pokhara, or about the same time traveling west by bus from Kathmandu.