Damodar Kund Yatra, from Gorakhpur

Description

  • Region: India / Nepal.
  • Tour Activity Type: Group Tour.
  • Group Size: Any.
  • Duration: 12 days.
  • Difficulty Level: Medium, Challenging.
  • Best time to Travel: May to September.
  • Trip Begins and Ends at: Gorakhpur (UP, India).
  • Maximum Altitude Gain: 5, 450 meters /  17, 881 feet (Batsyak La Mountain Pass).
  • Border Entry and Exit for Nepal: Sunauli / Bhairahawa.
  • Type of Accommodation: Hotel / Guest House / Tent.

Damodar Kund Yatra is a dream come true for thousands of Hindus, such is the reverence of this holy site! While the sacred destination is on the bucket list of many, thousands of Hindus take up the yatra every year besides the fact that it is quite a complicated one. Damodar Kund located at an altitude of 5, 400 meters, holiest and dedicated to Lord Vishnu is situated in the Upper Mustang region in Nepal. You can reach the place after a trek of 10 to 11 days from Muktinath or a 4 days trek from Yara. For the same reason, many pilgrims also believe in combining the Muktinath Darshan with the Damodar Kund Yatra.

The high religious significance of Damodar Kund is not without a reason. The place also finds a mention in Barah Puran where it is considered a decisive place to wash off one’s sins both for the present and previous birth. It also states how the two sons of Kuber also made it to the Lake to wash off their sins on the advice of Lord Krishna. Damodar Kund is also known as the source of the Kali Gandaki River, one of the holiest rivers to flow through the Himalayas.
Remember you do not necessarily have to be religious to visit the place. Damodar Kund Yatra has some spectacular views, serene spots, and calming ambiance for those who believe in spending time with nature. The place is also a paradise for those making a mark in photography or out on a journey to discover or re-discover themselves all over again!

It takes up to 12 days if you combine the Muktinath Tour with the Damodar Kund Yatra and choose to trek it. However, both the trips can also be completed in a matter of 4 days if one chooses to travel to the destinations via helicopter. It is a great option for those who are old in age, have a physical disability, or do not have much time. But is also an expensive option when compared to the trek.

Itinerary

After spending a night at Pokhara, you will travel to Jomsom by road. This journey will be one of the best parts of your itinerary since the views en route are simply amazing and spectacular. What makes it even more exciting is that a major part of the route passes through the Annapurna National Park. The spectacular views are made of snow-capped mountains, gushing waterfalls, and the holy Kaligandaki River flowing alongside. The Machhapuchchhre or the fishtail mountain is the closest to Pokhara and clearly visible from the city.

On the other hand, Jomsom, a small town in Lower Mustang is regarded as the gateway to the very popular Muktinath Temple and to a divine destination, the Damodar Kund. The magnificent Nilgiri Mountains can be clearly sighted from Jomsom. We stay overnight at the hotel.

After a night's stay at Jomsom, the next morning, we will start our journey to Muktinath, visit the famous Muktinath Temple, and have a pleasant darshan there. This will include having the holy bath and performing other rituals. Muktinath is 26 kilometers from Jomsom by road. The road is well maintained and in good shape and the views are majestic that makes the journey quite an experience. You get to view Buddhist villages, small mountains, snow-covered mountains, rows of trees, and hanging bridges. Once you reach Muktinath, you can also see Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri mountains clearly.

After having darshan at the temple, we stay at Ranipurwa market that is quite close to the temple. We stay overnight at the hotel.

After a night stay at Muktinath, we will return to Jomsom and travel to Yara, a small village from there on a local jeep. It will take about 6 to 7 hours to reach Yara from Jomsom. It falls en route to Langtang, capital of Upper Mustang. On the way, you can experience the treeless Himalayan cold desert which is a site unique in itself. Since we need to enter Upper Mustang which is a restricted zone, we will be asked to furnish a special entry permit at one of the check posts near Yara. The special entry permit is called the restricted zone permit. The guide with the group will help with all the necessary formalities and paperwork. The night stay will be at a basic lodge.

Day 5 is used as a rest day at Yara for acclimatization to high altitudes before moving any further. After having breakfast, we will first visit a 400-year-old monastery that is quite close by. We will also enjoy a short hiking session on the small mountains nearby to have a glimpse of the Tibetan Plateau and Upper Mustang Zone. After the hiking session gets over, return to the lodge and rest or enjoy the time to yourself. Stay overnight at Yara.

Day 6 is the first day of the trek. After having breakfast, we start the trek to Ghuma on foot with a complete support system and our guide taking the lead. We can have our packed lunches while on the way and rest for a while before we move any further. The hike is not too difficult and inclines gradually towards Ghuma. Ghuma is our final destination for the day and we need to reach there before the sunset. The place is a stopover for pilgrims traveling to Damodar Kund. We stay in a tent for the night.

This day will be a little more challenging when compared to the other days of our journey since we need to trek a high mountain pass before we can finally reach the Damodar Kund. We start the day early and after having breakfast, we start with our journey to Batsyak La Mountain Pass at 5450 meters. We will have lunch on the way and rest a while before we go further. We will resume our journey to reach the pass. Once we reach the high pass, we will be treated to delightful views of the Tibetan Plateau and some of the high mountains of the region. We will then move ahead for Damodar Kund. Once we reach there, we will pitch our tents for the night near the lake. If you are lucky to spend a night beside the lake on a full moon night, your experience will be simply divine. We will stay overnight in the tent at Damodar Kund.

We will spend the day at Damodar Kund and perform all the required rituals and take the holy bath at the lake. After performing pooja, havan, and taking the holy bath, we will have lunch. Post lunch, we will start the return journey and stay overnight in a tent.

We trek back to Yara. The trek is relatively simpler and fast since we are going downhill. After reaching Yara, we stay in a mountain lodge for the night.

We start from Yara to Jomsom on a local Jeep. This takes about 6 to 7 hours. After reaching Jomsom, stay at the hotel overnight.

After a night at Jomsom, we return to Pokhara. After breakfast, we start with the return journey to Pokhara by road. This takes about 8 to 9 hours.

Day 12 is the final day in the itinerary and you will be dropped at Gorakhpur from where our journey began.

Inclusions

  • 2 nights stay at Pokhara in a standard hotel with breakfast.
  • 2 nights stay at Jomsom in a standard hotel with breakfast.
  • 1 night stay at Muktinath in a standard hotel with breakfast.
  • Tea house / Tent accommodation in Yara.
  • All meals during the trek, Yara to Yara.
  • Tented accommodation in trekking zone.
  • Certified Guide.
  • Porters.
  • Cook.
  • Helper.
  • Annapurna zone permit.
  • Taan Permit.
  • Upper Mustang Special Zone Permit.
  • Muktinath darshan with guide.
  • Jomsom Yara return transport.
  • Pokhara Jomsom return transport in an SUV (Scorpio or similar)
  • Gorakhpur to Gorakhpur transport.

Exclusions

  • Travel expenses to reach and return from Gorakhpur.
  • Food and beverages not mentioned in inclusions.
  • Additional accommodation and food expenses if trek gets delayed due to weather, flight cancellation, health, or any other reason.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Any type of entry fee to temples, museums, etc.
  • Health Insurance, Personal Insurance, and other travel insurance.
  • Expenses for evacuation and rescue operations due to natural calamity, mishaps, injury, or any health problem.
  • Nepalese visa fee (not required for Indian Nationals).
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusions.