Bhairav Kunda Trek

Bhairav KundBhairav Kunda, certainly a great trek, which is located northeast of Kathmandu, is one such site. ‘Bhairav’ is the destructive manifestation of Lord Shiva, while ‘Kunda’ means pond. Due to its tantric connotations, Bhairav Kunda is a favored pilgrimage site for the dhami-jhnakris of Nepal, they are referred to as shamans who are said to communicate with spirits of the netherworld, and especially in August every year (during the Janai Purnima festival) they congregate in their hundreds here.

Bhairav Kunda is also one of the newly opened trekking destinations in Nepal, so now you too can go on a 10-day trek to this mysterious ‘kunda’, that’s situated at quite a height, that is, 4,364 meters above sea level. This means you’ll be climbing quite a bit from Kathmandu, which is at an altitude of 1,350 meters above sea level. Nearby Bhairav Kunda is Panch Pokhari (Five Ponds), another sacred site that has similarly been opened for trekking in the recent past. Before proceeding further, here’s something on Rasuwa district where Bhairav Kunda is located: it is the smallest of the 16 Himalayan districts, with its center, Dhunche, being about 120 akm from Kathmandu.

Shamans of Nepal

Shamans (Dhami Jhakri)

There are more than 100 ponds/lakes in and around the region, with the most famous being Gosainkunda, which is another popular destination for pilgrims and trekkers alike. However, your Bhairav Kunda trek will mostly take you through Sindhupalchok district on an ancient Nepal-Tibet trading route. You’ll get up-close and personal with the lifestyle and culture of the Tamang and Sherpa communities who inhabit this region. Now, the trek: first you drive down the Arniko Highway to a place called Jalbire (1,040 m), which takes around five to six hours. It’s a drive you’ll not find boring, since the scenery along the way is quite lovely; lots of hulking mountains, terraced paddy fields, compact little villages, et al. Jalbire has a predominantly Newari culture, but once you start your hike from there the next day, everything changes, and you’re in Tamang and Sherpa territory. You’ll be coming across numerous chortens (stupas) on the route thereon, Buddhism being the prevalent religion here.

Your first day’s hike takes you to Chanauti (1,350 m), an easy walk for some five hours or so. After a night’s halt, the next morning, you start off for Khanigaon (2,000 m). It’s a gradually ascending hike for about six to seven hours, and you’ll enjoying bedding down for a good night of rest. In fact, you’ll be spending the next day here as well; acclimatization, you know.

Explore the beautiful countryside at your leisure; you’ll surely have an enjoyable time. Day five will find you on the trail once again, and this time you’ll be hiking for another six to seven hours to reach a place known as Forest Camp (3,150 m). The mountain views are getting better and better now, with peaks like Madiya (6,275 m), Phurbi Ghhyachu (6,637 m), and Dorje Lakpa (6,966 m) in easy sight. The climb has been steady, the air is much cooler, and it’s best you set up camp and enjoy dinner around a campfire. The following morning, your destination is Pati (3,765 m), which you’ll arrive at in about six hours or so.

Come day seven, and now you’ll be hiking to Bhairav Kunda (4,364 m), which you’ll reach in about four hours, leaving you plenty of time to discover all there is to be discovered in and around this sacred site. And, while you are there, you might as well take a dip in the cold waters of Bhairav Kunda—sure to be pretty refreshing!

Next morning, you’ll be hiking back, first to Sherpagaon (2,536 m), where you spend a night, and then to Larcha (1,500m), where there is a hot spring that will provide a good healing soak. The following day, you drive down to Kathmandu, which you’ll reach in five to six hours. Thus ends your Bhairav Kunda trek; hope you met some dhami-jhankris out there!

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