Before we start the story, let us get to know a bit about Yakshas (यक्ष), they are benevolent, humans cum demi Gods who take care of hidden natural treasures.
I find these stories amusing, hyped, and interesting at the same time. This time we will talk about the religious importance of Dev Kamrunag in the history of Hindu religion and how he could have changed our history.
Dev Kamrunag’s original name was Ratan Yaksh and he was a self learned warrior. He would practice by keeping Lord Vishnu’s idol in front of him and he considered it as his master, the Guru. He got to know about the story of Mahabharat being fought in some far corner of Bharat and decided to take part in it. Brave and courageous he was, he decided to fight with the weaker party, which meant he was going to join the army of Kaurav’s. Lord Krishan got to know about it and he decided to stop the self learned warrior before he could reach the battlefield. Disguised as a yogi, Lord Krishna appeared before the Yaksh. He asked him about his journey and told him about the hardships being experienced by wounded soldiers.
Ratan Yaksh was listened to the story and it strengthened his determination.
Lord Krishan gave him a tough test to find out the potency of his arrows and said, “I will be convinced if you can pierce every leaf of that enormous peepal tree with thy arrow.” When the Yaksh was preparing his arrow, the Lord plucked some leaves and hid them in his closed fists. To his surprise the arrow pierced even the leaves in his fists. Then Lord Krishan asked him about his guru, upon which the Yaksh replied it to be no one but the almighty himself. And there Lord Krishan spotted an opening, transformed into his actual formless eternal form, and asked the young man for Gurudakshina, fee for services he had never offered to his student. The yaksh could not resist and he had to offer what the Lord had asked for, his head. He gave away his head and asked the Lord to keep it alive until the Great War was over. The Lord immediately agreed and blessed him with the same, his head was brought to the Kamru Hill and today it is known as Kamrunag Temple.
Legend also says that the head was kept at the Nalsar Lake in Mandi district but because of climatic/physical/economical problems faced by the head, he was shifted on the top of the hill, from where he could see the greatest wars of all time, live and exclusive.
One can reach Kamrunag either from Rohanda, which is a two hour steep trek, or from the Jalpa Temple via Chailchowk. The Balh Valley, the Baggi canal, and the cloudy roads make the ride unforgettable. Reaching Jalpa Temple from Sundernagar is a matter of not more than three hours. The Jalpa Temple is located at the dead-end of the road. The temple is built in Pagoda Style and there is a strange story associated with it. In those parts of Himachal, construction work of any temple should be done without eating anything but fruits. Few years ago, when the temple was almost complete, the laborers worked on eat after they had their full course meal and the temple fell down the very next day. It was reconstructed again and today it is one of the most beautiful temples in Himachal Pradesh that I have seen.
The Jalpa Temple, trek starts from here, park your vehicles, no one would touch them even after you come after weeks.
Above the clouds, The Balh valley
The Baggi Canal, all the way it goes from Pandoh to Sundernagar and a major portion of it is underground.
From Jalpa temple, it takes four hours to reach the temple and the trek is quite difficult for the likes of me. I remember going through the same route few years ago when I was a teenager. My brother tried to chase away a leopard thinking it to be a dog. Anyways, there are not many landmarks on the way. One of the landmarks is Jhaur (झौर), which is a shallow hole that never runs out of water. The hole is not deeper than 50 cm and it remains covered with leaves, however the water coming out of it can be taken to any testing ab across the country and it will come 100 times purer than any brand of water.
झौर, the reservoir that never runs out of water
The second landmark is Khunda (खुंडा), which marks the start of the boundary of the Dev Kamrunag. Few years ago, taking shoes, leather items, and other prohibited things was not allowed beyond this point. People used to walk the last 500 meters barefoot. But religion changes with time, flexible rules were slipped in and now you can walk all the way to the top of the hill without leaving any of your stuff behind.
Do not expect the modern amenities to be present anywhere close to the Kamarunag Lake. It is one of the lakes in Himachal Pradesh where you can actually find yourself in the wild. It is believed that the lake contains gold and silver worth lakhs as Devta accepts donation only in the form of gold and silver and that too thrown in the lake.
Out of petrol. The Bajaj Chetak key cannot open the petrol tank though it can switch it on. Stranded outside a petrol pump waiting for the key