Dev Kamrunag: The Spiritual Oasis Amidst the Himalayan Beauty

Himachal Pradesh, a revered region known as the "land of gods," boasts a wealth of spiritual destinations. Among them, Kamrunag stands out, known for its historical significance during the Mahabharata period. Kamrunag Lake, located in the Karsog Valley, is a prominent attraction in the region, renowned for its natural beauty and cultural significance. As the third largest lake in Mandi Valley, it attracts visitors from various parts of India.

Located in the captivating Mandi district, Kamrunag Lake is an impressive example of the region's natural beauty and cultural heritage. At an altitude of 3,334 meters (10,938 feet) above sea level, Kamrunag Lake is situated amidst the captivating valleys of Balh and the Dhauladhar range, where visitors can experience the tranquility of nature. The lake serves as a central sanctuary for both culture and spirituality, attracting visitors from far and wide.

Biodiversity Heritage Recognition: A Testament to Nature's Abundance

In a landmark announcement in July 2020, The Himachal Pradesh State Biodiversity Board bestowed the title of Biodiversity Heritage Site upon Kamrunag Lake and its surrounding area. The declaration as a biodiversity heritage site comes with a set of comprehensive conservation measures. These measures aim not only to protect the pristine beauty of Kamrunag Lake but also to ensure the survival and flourishing of the unique trees that dot the landscape. The inclusion of medicinal plants in this protective umbrella further highlights the holistic approach toward preserving the ecological balance of this sacred site.

Biodiversity heritage sites embody well-defined areas that stand as unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems. These areas, both terrestrial and aquatic, boast a wealth of biodiversity, encompassing a diverse array of wild and domesticated species or intra-specific categories. Characterized by high endemism and the presence of rare and threatened species, these sites play a crucial role in preserving our natural heritage.

Dev Kamrunag: A Spiritual Presence Amidst Nature

Lord Kamrunag is also known as Bada Dev and is considered to be the God of Rain. In times of drought, people come from places like Kullu, Chachyot, Mandi, Balh, and Karsog to offer prayers for good rainfall.Local folklore weaves a captivating narrative around Dev Kamrunag, believed to manifest annually in the month of June. Devotees flock to the lake, offering flowers, coins, and paper currency as tokens of devotion.Only when the deity feels Kaleva i.e. the offering is made, only then the offering is thrown into the lake. 

An ancient temple of Kamrunag deity built in Pahari style stands near a lake with a stone idol of Dev Kamrunag. Thousands attend the grand fair in June to seek blessings and participate in vibrant celebrations.

Guardians of Wealth: Legends and Offerings

Legends speak of Kamrunag Lake harboring untold riches, a treasure trove of gold, silver, and currency notes offered by visitors seeking prosperity and wish fulfillment.  According to local residents, there are billions of dollars worth of jewelry lying at the bottom of the lake. Surprisingly, there are no special security arrangements to protect this wealth. In fact, the security here is not as tight as it would be in other similar situations. However, locals believe that the treasure is protected by Kamrunag, who is the biggest deity of the Mandi district. This is evident from the fact that the International Shivratri Fair begins only after his arrival in Mandi Nagar.The accumulation of wealth at the lake's bottom remains a fascinating enigma, mirroring the secrecy of the Vault B in the Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Trivandrum.

Kamrunag Fair

There is also an ancient temple of Lord Kamrunag here, where a huge fair is organized in the month of June.

This Fair held in June showcases the vibrant local culture in all its glory. Participants from the Shikari Devi valley to Kamrunag valley undertake a mesmerizing trek, contributing to the festival's grandeur. Traditional practices, such as throwing gold and silver coins into the lake in reverence to God Shiva, highlight the unique blend of spirituality and culture.

Preserving Traditions: Evolution of Kamrunag Fair

While traditions like cutting down hundreds of Bakras (sheep and goats) were once integral to the fair, recent orders and government rules have brought a halt to such practices. Nevertheless, the Kamrunag Fair continues to attract salesmen and Vayaparis from various regions of India and Himachal Pradesh, adding a commercial dimension to the cultural celebration.

Word origin of Kamrunag Lake

The nomenclature of this pristine lake finds its roots in a tale from the Mahabharata. According to the legend, Barbarika, the son of Ghatotkacha, expressed his desire to participate in the war and sought permission from his mother. In a strategic counsel, his mother advised him to align with the faction destined to face defeat.

Upon learning of this, Lord Krishna, cognizant of the impending outcome favoring the Pandavas, decided to test Barbarika. Assuming the guise of a Brahman, Krishna presented a challenge to Barbarika: to pierce all the leaves of a nearby Peepal tree. In a clever maneuver, Krishna placed one leaf beneath his foot as Barbarika took aim with his arrow. As the arrow successfully traversed every leaf, it headed towards the last one beneath Krishna's foot. Krishna deftly evaded the arrow, setting the stage for a pivotal turn of events.Seizing the moment, Krishna sought alms from Barbarika, who, bound by his earlier promise, consented to grant any request. Revealing his true form, Lord Krishna made a profound request for Barbarika's head. In an unwavering display of devotion, Barbarika acceded to Krishna's request and, in turn, beseeched Krishna to permit him to witness the Mahabharata.

Taking Barbarika's severed head to the battlefield, Lord Krishna fulfilled his promise, allowing Barbarika to witness the epic battle. In divine benediction, Lord Krishna proclaimed that Barbarika would be venerated as Khatu Shyam in Rajasthan, while his body would be revered as Kamru.

This etymological narrative encapsulates the profound confluence of devotion, strategy, and divine foresight within the annals of Mahabharata lore.

The Journey to Kamrunag: A Trek Through Tranquility

Embarking on a journey to Kamrunag Lake unveils an immersive experience, starting with an on-foot route from Rohanda to Kamrunag. The trek spans approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), winding through steep mountain terrain that challenges and rewards adventurers alike. The 3–4 hour trek is a pilgrimage in itself, offering breathtaking views and a sense of connection with the natural beauty that surrounds the path.

ALSO READ ABOUT: Prashar Lake, Mandi

In Conclusion

Kamrunag Lake, with its blend of natural beauty, cultural significance, and spiritual allure, stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of tradition and biodiversity. As the guardians of the lake protect its treasures, visitors continue to embark on the journey to Kamrunag, seeking not just material wealth but a connection with the mystical forces that define this enchanting locale.

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