Damodar Kunda is a very important Hindu Pond located in the Mustang District of the Dhaulagiri Zone in the Western Development Region of Nepal. It belongs to Loghekar Damodar Kund village municipality. Located at an altitude of 5,400 meters above sea level in a very remote place of Mustang, this place is very difficult to travel but equally thrilling. Despite its difficulties, the panorama you get to see here is out of this world. Since it lies closer to Tibetan border, you can view the Tibetan Plateau. You can enjoy the jaw-dropping views of the Himalayas in Nepal like Damodar Himal, Annapurna, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri etc. You can also explore the restricted Upper Mustang, old Buddhist Kingdom of Lo.
Damodar Kunda is accessible only on flight and foot. You can’t reach the end of this peak by vehicle. However, because of the expensive charge of flight, Damodar Kunda by Helicopter is not affordable to everyone. So, a better option is to go there for trekking by foot as it is economical. To get a better experience, you will need at least 6 days. If you are short on time, then you can even complete it in less days, but it will not cover all the highlights of this beautiful Kund.
Damodar Kund, a famous religious site in Upper Mustang, is considered to be the head of the liberated area. According to the Puranas, Kubera’s sons bathed in Damodar Kund and washed away their sins. According to the Puranas, in the Dwapar era, Lord Krishna was tied to a tree by his mother Yashodha. When Lord Krishna used force, the trees fell. The trees cut down by Krishna were Kuber’s son Nal Kuber. Nal Kuber, who was rooted as a tree, was cursed by Narthi. It is written in the mythology that Narthi cursed him to be the root of the tree because he was ridiculed.
While Nal Kuber, who was rooted like a tree, prayed for salvation, Narthi said that only the touch of Lord Krishna of the Dwapar era would free him from the curse. Therefore, as Lord Krishna was dragging the rope tied by Yashodha Mata, Nal Kuber flew in the air as there were demons around him sitting in the form of a tree.
Similarly, he also prayed to God for salvation from sins even if he was free from the curse. After this, Lord Krishna told Nal Kuber to visit Damodar Kund as the dam of Kush thrown from Vrindavan used to fall into Damodar Kund. So, he went there to be saved. It is mentioned in the Puranas that Nal Kuber was saved by bathing in the same tank. Thus, because of the rope thrown by Krishna into this place from Vrindavan, it is known as Damodar and the origin of the reservoir in this place has named it as Damodar Kund.
Reservoirs in Damodar Kund
Damodar Kund has three reservoirs Chakra Kund, Dudh Kund and Tama Kund. The main of these is Chakra Kund. Chakra Kund and Dudh Kund are in one place whereas Tama Kunda is about 100 meters away. Pilgrims perform special worship and bath at Chakra Kunda. Eye-shaped rainbow images are seen in the Chakra Pool.
A special fair is held at Damodar Kund on Janai Purnima and ChaiteDashai. Visitors come not only from different districts of Nepal but also from India to attend this fair. It is also considered to be very important for Hindus due to the belief that water in this Kunda comes from Man Sarovar, one of the major pilgrimage sites of the Hindus.
Damodar Kund is considered as the place of origin of Shaligram. Priests and locals of Muktinath believe that after bathing in Damodar Kund, all sins will be destroyed. According to them, Kuber’s son Nal Kuber, who was cursed by Narthi, also attained salvation by bathing in the pool. Thus, you will get to enjoy the unique cultural environment here by interacting with the local people.
Damodar Kund is equally important for its natural beauty and biodiversity. Damodar Kund is home to wildlife including Noir, Rabbit and Wolf. Similarly, on the way to this place, one can get a glimpse of the beautiful Himalayan ranges of Nepal and vibrant Rhododendron. Likewise, the view of the local villages, lush green forests, cultivable lands etc. make this trip more interesting.
Requirements of Damodar Kund
Damodar Kund is part of Upper Mustang. So, you have to pass through the restricted region for which you must obtain the Special Restricted Area permit of Upper Mustang. Besides these, solo trek to Damodar Kund is banned by the Government of Nepal. Thus, you must hire a professional guide and plan your trip with a local trekking agency in Nepal. Likewise, your group must contain at least 2 people, excluding a guide and porter.
Damodar Kunda Trekking Route
There are two ways to reach Damodar Kund. After air travel from Pokhara to Jomsom, the entrance point to this Kunda opens. You can choose the route of Damodar Kund via Jomsom-Chhuksang-Tangwe-Dye, or you can even choose another route that goes through Jomsom-Ghami-Charang-Yara-Dhimdadhi.
Damodar Kunda Trek Difficulties
To reach this religious place in the mountainous district of Mustang and return to Jomsom, one has to make a journey of at least 3 days with the help of various means. Not every person can complete the journey in Damodar Kund as it is geographically very remote and risky. The pilgrims feel that they have conquered the world after completing the trip. The journey to Damodar Kund, which starts from Loghekar’s Charang, includes ups and downs, narrow roads and dry deserts.
Besides the rough and uneven trekking trail, the height of this Kunda also adds extra difficulties in this trip. There is a high chance of getting symptoms of altitude sickness like headaches, vomiting, anxiety etc. It is very hard to adjust the body with the high-altitude environment. So, it is recommended to all the travellers to be prepared beforehand by practicing hiking, taking strength and cardio training etc. Also, remember to keep yourself hydrated, acclimatize more and keep the slow pace.
Everyone who has returned from Damodar Kund has marked the journey as unforgettable. The trip to this wetland area will excite the travellers with its natural and cultural beauty. No place can be better than this Kund to experience religious salvation. It is expected that the Government will work on the road development from Yara to Damodar Kund as it has the huge capacity to bring the tourists in Nepal.
-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal