Parshuram kund located in Lohit district on the banks of the lower level of Lohit river (a tributary of the Brahmaputra river) is one of the most sacrosanct places not only in Arunachal Pradesh but also in India. This holy place finds mention in Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana and is dedicated to Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
It is said that Renuka Devi, mother of the mighty Parashurama was devoted to her husband Jamadagni Brahmarshi and such was her chastity that she would collect water from the nearby pond in unbaked pots and bring them to the ashram without spilling a drop. One day, when she went to fetch water, she saw the reflection of a handsome Gandharva flying in the sky along with his wife on the water. Her concentration was broken for a second and she was unable to fill water in the unbaked pot. Disappointed, she returned to the ashram but much to her horror, Jamadagni Brahmarshi already knew the events that had transpired through his divine powers. Angered by her conduct, the Sage ordered his sons to chop off the head of their mother. Parashurama came forward and obeyed the command of his father by beheading his mother with his prized axe.
Jamadagni Brahmarshi became pleased and offered him a boon. Parashurama requested that his mother be brought to life again. The request was accepted but much to the amazement of all, the handle of the axe remained firmly attached to the hand of Parashurama. The rishis who came there to witness this wonderous incident told him to absolve himself of matricide.
Parashurama immediately set off on a pilgrimage to all the sacred places but to his disappointment, the axe remained and the blood did not get washed away. Finally, he reached Mahendragiri mountain where he made a passage for the water to flow from the kund by digging the bank and took a dip in the water that gushed out. The axe immediately fell from his hand and Parashurama washed his hands in this divine water. This Brahma kund where the axe dropped from his hand came to known as Parshuram kund.
The water of this kund is considered to be as sacred as that of the Ganga. Locals say that in the 18th century, a sadhu who came from Chowkham was driven out of his village as they thought him to be a swindler. The sadhu lived in a cave near the kund and slowly reestablished the site of Parshuram kund. Meanwhile, the villagers became afflicted with some unknown disease and regretting their actions, went in search of the sadhu and sought forgiveness. The sadhu forgave them and continued to spend his time in meditation near the kund. This site developed by the sadhu was in existence till 1950 but went into the bottom of the river and was covered up completely when an earthquake shook the North Eastern states.
Thereafter, massive boulders have embedded themselves in a circular formation in the river bed forming another kund in place of the old. One can still see a rock in the shape of an axe located in the middle of the river. There are 150 odd steps that take you down to the newly formed kund.
There is an ancient Parashurameswara temple at the entrance and the priest is most forthcoming with the legends associated with this place. Thousands of devotees visit this place on the occasion of Makara Sankranti to expiate for their sins. Kalika Purana states that a mere bath in the kund will give you emancipation.
This mesmerizing place of immense historical, religious and spiritual importance is seated in the midst of stunning natural beauty of lush green forests and the eastern Himalayan range. One can lose all sense of time staring at the crystal clear pure waters of the river and enjoy the silence and solitude this place offers.
This shrine requires an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit which is provided for with minimum inconvenience by the authorities.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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