Like most pilgrim centres in other parts of India, Parashuram Kund in Arunachal Pradesh, situated on the Brahmaputra plateau in the lower reaches of the north of Tezu in Lohit District, has been a source of spiritual inspiration of a multitude of devotees since time immemorial.
The origin of the kund is associated with Parashuram’s matricide described in the Srimad Bhagvat, Kalikapurana and in the Mahabharata. One day, Renuka, mother of Parashuram, went to fetch water. While returning, she felt drawn towards King Chitranatha playing with celestial nymphs. Consequently, she was late in returning to the ashram. Jamadagni, her husband, worried over her delay as it was getting late for the midday worship.
On perceiving through his divine power the reason for her delay, Jamadagni was so enraged that, on her arrival, he asked his sons to kill her. None of his six sons except Parashuram could oblige. He immediately beheaded his mother. The handle of the axe which he used, however, clung to his hand.
Pleased with his son, Jamadagni desired Parashuram to ask for any boon. Parashuram asked six boons and one was for the immediate recovery of his mother. However, this did not wipe out his sin. He was told that the only way to wash off his sin was by taking a dip in the Brahma Kund. Only then would the axe stuck to his hand drop.
Parashuram ultimately came to the Brahma Kund in present Lohit District and made a passage for the kund to come out by digging the bank of Brahma Kund. The spot where the axe dropped from his hand came to be known as Parashuram Kund. The Kalika Puram states that a mere bath in the kund leads to emancipation. The waters of the kund are considered as sacred as the waters of the River Ganga.
The site of the Parashuram Kund as established by the sadhu was in existence till 1950 when the old site was completely changed by the earthquake that shook the whole of the North-East and the kund was completely covered. A very strong current is now flowing over the original site of the kund but massive boulders have in a mysterious way embedded themselves in a circular formation in the river bed thus forming another kund in place of the old.
On Paush, Makarsankranti day which normally falls in Mid-January every year, an endless stream of pilgrims come to take a dip in the kund in spite of the biting cold wind. At midnight, the auspicious ceremony of Makarsankranti begins and devotees start bathing in the kund.
Though there is scarcity of accommodation pilgrims bear the hardships bravely and spend the nigh around the temple, wherever they can find space to rest their tired bodies and spend the night. Sadhus of different sects from as far off as the hills of Uttar Pradesh remain at the kund for two nights after their holy bath singing devotional songs. There is also some recreation in the form of a mela (fair) organized on the bank of the River Lohit.
From the data available it is clear that regular approach routes to the kund were in existence for centuries but in 1826 when the British Administration took over this area, and introduced Inner Line regulations, pilgrims could not move into the interior at liberty. Even today one has to obtain entry permit to cross the inner line check posts. The office of the Deputy Commissioner Lohit District issues these permits for pilgrimages on the occasion of Makarsankranti. Arrangements are also made to issue entry permits for pilgrims at Dirak and Sunpura check posts during this period.
The kund is 165 kilometres form Tinsukia, the nearest railway station, 97 kilometres via Tezu. A fleet of the State Transport Department of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh make elaborate arrangements for playing buses form Tinsukia to Namsai, Wakro and Tezu.