The Spring of Enlightenment
To the west of the Kathmandu valley, beyond the winding roads and valleys of the endless Pahari hillscape, lies a realm in which Guru Padmasambhava’s efforts to tame the wild spirits of the land are etched into the stones themselves. The Great Guru passed this way on his journey to Tibet and displayed incredible feats to bring these haughty demons to the Dharma. This is where he was known as Kyechok Tsulzang, Bestower of Wealth and Siddhis, and this outpouring of the Guru’s power and blessings remains available to all. The spring itself is at the heart of this sacred site, as its name Chumik Changchup, Spring of Enlightenment, attests.
Words from the Masters
The significance of this site is captured in the following works:
Barche Lamsel - Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa
How to get there
Daman lies on the Tribhuvan Highway, 100 km southwest of Kathmandu, about halfway to Hetauda. It is approximately a four-hour drive from Kathmandu, in the district of Makwanpur.
By Jeep: We recommend that you travel by jeep in a small group. Jeep taxis to Daman are offered by the various travel organizations in Kathmandu. A jeep taxi can hold 5-6 people comfortably, and the ride will take about 4–5 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic. Thus, if you leave early in the morning, it is possible to go from Kathmandu to Chumik Changchup and back again in one day, albeit a full one. You can also stay overnight in Daman.
By bus: Adventurous low-budget travelers can also reach Chumik Changchup by bus. These leave for Palung from the Balaju bus station in Kathmandu. Microbuses also run to Daman and Hetauda. Please be aware that the ride will be long, uncomfortable, and possibly dangerous – due to a unique driving style common in Nepal and India.
By bicycle: As this is considered to be one of the most spectacular (but not particularly easy) mountain-bike trails in Nepal, you can also get to Chumik Changchup by bicycle. Please check with a travel agent in Kathmandu for more information.
food and accommodation
Daman village offers hotels, guesthouses and the Mountain Resort – to suit different budgets. Food is readily available wherever you stay, as well as in the shops and local tea-houses.
When to go
We recommend visiting Chumik Changchup between February and April, since this is when the rhododendrons are in bloom. Another good time is September – November, once the monsoon has stopped and before the winter begins. Visiting in autumn may also give you panoramic views of the entire Himalaya. Please be aware that in the winter months of December and January, temperatures can drop below freezing and it may snow.
Entrance to ChumiK ChangchuP: 27°36'05.3"N 85°05'10.8"E
This is the start of the path, the trailhead which leads to the spring. The sign announces it to be the entrance to “Shree Rikeshwar”, the name by which it is known to non-Buddhist Nepalis.
ChumiK ChangchuP - The Spring: 27°35'59.2"N 85°04'52.9"E
The spring itself is located at ground level, in the corner of a stone platform. A glass wall has recently been erected for its protection. The water is clean and pure. To the left of the spring is a stupa, and several stone statues and images of Avalokiteshvara, Buddha Shakyamuni, and Guru Rinpoche. To the right, above the spring, is another stone platform where one can sit and meditate. Here, Guru Rinpoche’s face is visible in a rock. Some say it’s naturally arisen, others believe it’s carved.
The resident yogi Lama Rigdzin advises that, while visiting this place, one should recite Guru Rinpoche prayers, such as the Barché Lamsel, and also his mantra:
om ah hung benza guru pema siddhi hung.
In addition, he advises reciting the mantra of Buddha Shakyamuni:
teyatha om muné muné mahamuné shakyamunayé soha.
Himalaya Viewing Tower and Trekking Trails: 27°35'50.9"N 85°05'26.7"E
There is a viewing tower located inside the Daman Mountain Resort (where food and accommodation are also available). From here, it takes approximately 30 minutes to walk to Chumik Changchup. If you are interested in exploring the area further, and perhaps going trekking, please ask at your guesthouse for information.