- Sushant Lama
Situated in the north of Annapurna range between Kagbeni and Muktinath in Upper Mustang, at an altitude of 5,400 meters, Damodar Kunda is one of the sacred Hindu pilgrimages with immense beauty and rich religious significance.
This place is also considered sacred by Buddhists. So Hindu and Buddhist devotees from all over Nepal and India come over here to take a bath in the holy ponds of Damodar Kunda.
Damodar Kunda is the combination of three ponds named Chakra Kunda, Sun Kunda and Tamra Kunda which has its specific importance.
The religious significance has been mentioned in various Puranas of Hindu mythology. In Barah Puran, it is mentioned that river Kaligandaki has its origin in Damodar Kunda and carries the manifestation of resting Lord Vishnu throughout its flow with Damodar Kunda jeweled as his head, Muktinath as mouth, Shaligram chakra as chest, Ru Ru area of Palpa as the waist, Devghat as the Knee and finally Gajendra Moksha Dham as his feet.
In the second column of Barah Puran; Lord Krishna has said that, whoever pays a visit to Damodar Kunda and takes a deep-bath, will be freed from all their sin. It is also mentioned that the Lord Krishna suggested two sons of Kuber, who were suffering from their sins and wrongdoing, to take a bath in this holy pond and immediately after taking a bath in the pond they were released from all of their sins. Due to this reason, many devotees from all over the world visit Damodar Kunda to be free from their sins and wrongdoing.
It is believed that no matter which religion people belong, taking a bath here will make them free from all their sins.
Along with an important religious significance, nature has given Damodar Kunda with immense natural beauty. Due to its location on a rain- shadow area of the Himalayas, the views seen from here are truly amazing.
Snowcapped peaks like Damodar Himal, Bhrikuti Himal, Muktinath Himal, and Tibetan plateau can be seen up close with mesmerizing views of the Annapurna range. Desert like valleys, towering hills, clear water of the lake and little ducks floating around it is going to give you a heaven-like feeling.
Damodar Kunda: Photo- Amrit Kaji Gurung
Though this place is cold and windy, picturesque scenes it provides are worth watching.
It is also considered as the origin place of Saligrams, the iconic symbol of Lord Vishnu. They are considered one of the rarest stones in the world and are very beautiful in Nature. Saligrams found here and around Kaligandaki are only considered sacred. So, peoples from another place come here to collect the Saligrams and take it with them.
You can also understand the remote lifestyles, cultures, and traditions of the peoples living in this remote part of the world if you visit Damodar Kunda.
How to get to Damodar Kunda?
You can fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then take a flight to Jomsom. From Jomsom, you can take a Helicopter or a jeep up to Yara, Mustang. From Yara village, Damodar Kunda is a two days walk. You are also able to go up to Kunda in Horse which will probably cost you around NRs 7,000 including the ride back to Yara village.
The way to Damodar Kunda is tough but the feeling you get after reaching there is worth dying for.
If you want to do a trekking from Jomsom, then it will take you about 14 days to reach Damodar Kunda because of its tough landscapes.
Best time to visit
Damodar Kunda is open to the visitor from April to September but the best time to visit Damodar Kunda would be during the full moon of August when huge festivals take place. Lots of devotees can be seen during this time.
Since this holy pond lies in the restricted zone of upper Mustang, a special permit is required which costs around US 500$ per person for SAARC nationals and US 700 $ for peoples from other countries. You are also required to pay ACAP fees of NRs 200 for SAARC nationals and NRs 2000 for others.
There is a presence of a hut at Ghuma Thati with some blankets, mattresses, and two or three people as a volunteer to help the devotees coming to visit the pond. Volunteers only stay there from July to September. A similar hut can be found near the lake and there is always someone to help the pilgrims. However, camping and carrying own food supply would be better and safer for you.
Shoubhagya Bhattarai who recently visited Damodar Kunda says,” A very famous and must go place for Hindus though the journey is too tough.”
Mammoi Appu describes the place to be lovely and an important place to visit once in a lifetime.
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