Dainkund is an enchanting mountain destination and one of the foremost sightseeing places in and around Dalhousie. Apart from the misty clouds and meandering trails, the hamlets around Dainkund offer exciting stories.
The folklores of Dainkund that the people here share are as interesting and intriguing as the vistas, that this must-visit place in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, offers to nature lovers.
Conquering the untameable is often seen as the will of the mighty. And, this holds true when we hear the innumerable folklore that sings the praise of the conquerors, making them immortal among the mortals.
Come with me, as I take you on a virtual walk through the pristine and unexplored parts of Dainkund, often called the Singing Hills. Let me share with you the local folklores and some heartwarming experiences as well as some spooky encounters.
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Dainkund – A place that should be on your Dalhousie Itinerary
The mountains are often full of such mystic folklore and the mountain people always have their own set of beliefs and traditions, isn’t it? Dainkund and its people are no different.
A secluded hut in a corner, an eerie rock formation on the way, lakes and ponds out of nowhere, exotic flora and fauna scattered all around — unseen and unheard of in the claustrophobic cities, all this and more, contribute to the overall charm and mysticism of Dainkund as well as the hill-station of Dalhousie.
Add to this the unending floating clouds, ineffable greenery, and woods, unused forest paths, and a temple revered by the villagers and you get a scenic place like DK aka Dainkund, near Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh, India.
But, first things first.
Where is Dainkund?
Dainkund is around 10-12kms from the hill station of Dalhousie. It is at a much higher altitude than Dalhousie or its surrounding hills, and one can literally experience a 360-degree view of the Dhauladhars, Chamba valley, and the plains of Punjab from here.
Having stayed in the pristine hill-station of Dalhousie for close to 2 years, with weekly up-hill drives to Dainkund, I sort of know the place in and out. At least, that’s what I would like to believe!
The first time I heard about this beautiful place, Dainkund, someone had mispronounced it as ‘Daynkund’.
However, like any other travel enthusiast, when I am visiting a place, I am intrigued to know the etymology of the place name and its history.
So, I tried enquiring from the local people who live in the upscale Mall-roads of Dalhousie but never got a satisfying answer. However, upon interacting with a shop-keeper on Dainkund, I got to know that the place is actually known as ‘DainKund’ in which dain (in Hindi) is for witch and kund is for a pond.
Dalhousie folklore: The pond of witches
The Dalhousie folklore says that there lived a witch(maybe more than one) in these mountains, who was troubling the villagers and suddenly decided to reside in a pond in these hills.
The presence of the witch in the pond became an inconvenience to the villagers. Because they couldn’t use the waters of the pond any longer, the villagers were forced to walk and trudge long distances to quench the thirst of their cattle, fearing the witch.
So, the villagers collectively decided to pray to the forest deity of ‘Pohlani/Pauloni Mata’.
The goddess was pleased by their religious fervour and vanquished the witch, thus giving back the pond to its rightful owners- the villagers. Since then it has been known as ‘Dainkund’.
The distance between the temple of Pouloni and Dainkund is roughly around 6-7kms (varies with the path you take in the hills). The two are separated by an Airforce station.
The kund area is not easily accessible as it falls inside the military establishment. Only the military, shepherds, and the villagers are allowed to traverse this path. Also, the folklore has imparted an eerie feel to this area, making it a secluded and forbidden place!
A trip to demystify the Dalhousie Folklore
Being part of the armed forces, one day, a group of us, did try to visit the Kund area in the evening after our trek to Pouloni mandir.
However, we could not stay for long as the local people advised us to get back to our base before sunset, as the area is prone to the occasional wanderings of the bears and snow leopards.
When we visited the pond area, it was completely dry. Maybe, it gets filled during the monsoons.
But what caught our attention was the scenic beauty of the place, untampered and intact, brimming with a carpet of white flowers. From afar, it looked like a sheet of snow!
By the time we actually reached the edge of the mountain, it was almost dusk and the crimson hue of the sun was gracing the rocks and barks of the trees.
The waters of the River Ravi flowing across the plains of Punjab were glittering and its banks could be vaguely seen under the twilight. The entire landscape looked surreal in saffron.
The sun returning back to its abode after a hard day’s work was indeed a sight to behold. The various colours it imparted the sky with, made mother nature look blissful!
Spooky or smitten?
We were a little disappointed that we could not capture the infamous pond of the witches, in our cameras. After all , the pond plays a major role in our Dalhousie folklore, isn’t it?
Something held us back from taking a photo. Were we scared or the pond looked pale in front of the setting sun? I am still unable to recollect why none of us have a photo of the pond.
I would like to believe that the reason was the setting saffron ball and how we were smitten with the charm of it.
Thanks to the Dalhousie folklore, Dainkund as a place is unexplored, serene, clean, and neat.
I hope it remains the same or else it might become too commercialized. With these thoughts, we returned back to our base with excitement, as if we had indeed conquered and vanquished the witches of Dainkund!
If the so-called terrain of the witch can be so surreal and mesmerizing though spooky, how would the landscape look on the trail to goodness?! Read about this and more in The enchanting trek across Dainkund