I quietly follow the people walking before me. A prayer flag is seen somewhere while an unnamed
stupa peeks in from the bushes.I am not much inquiring about whose stupa it is, rather I am absolutely in bliss with the serenity it lends to the surrounding.I see some writings engraved on stone at regular intervals,probably some Buddhist mantras. Stacked stones are seen all along the way and I am yet to interpret their underlying significance .
And then appears the lake.
Prayer wheels along the jetty lead us to the front of the lake.We stand in silence watching people
feed the fishes .The only sound that is heard is that of the chirping birds and the occasional ding of
the bells at the lakeside.We gaze speechlessly at the edges of the lake lined by prayer flags as Sikkim
continues to entrance us endlessly by its magical beauty .The lake is not a very big one in terms of its
size but the legends associated with it are many.
THE LEGEND BEHIND THE LAKE
The shape of the Khecheopalri Lake is in form of a footprint which is believed to be the footprint
of Goddess Tara,Lord Shiva or even Lord Buddha.Legend has it that a lepcha couple once found a pair of conch shells in the lake ,following which a spring arose from the ground thus forming the
lake.The lake is considered sacred for this and many more reasons ,hence it is worshiped in Nag
Panchami and Maghe Purne (April and May).Needless to say,the lake is a wish fulfilling lake for the
Buddhist and the Hindu community.
So sacred is the place that not even a leaf is seen floating on the lake.Every time a leaf falls on
the lake ,it is picked up by a bird immediately.
In an effort to conserve the sanctity of the lake and the ecology around it ,local authorities have
strictly prohibited fishing,any recreational activity or boating on the lake.
Yumthang Valley, (North Sikkim) . A Place I Would Love to go Back to Someday
My experiences at the Gurudongmar Lake,North Sikkim
Back in the car ,I find myself engrossed in my thoughts. For once I forget to gaze out of the window and I contemplate on the lake.Did I miss the boating on the lake for once ? Or did I look around for the fancy eateries and rue over their absence? Instead I had felt it rejuvenating to spend sometime and soak in the nonchalant vibes of the lakeside.Was it only religion that the authorities had in mind when they barred so many activities around the lake? Was it religion and its beliefs or elemental rationality , I pondered.
|A shrine by the lakeside|
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HOW TO REACH
Pelling is a small hill town in the district of West Sikkim .
The Khecheopalri Lake is at a distance of 34 km from Sikkim.
There are few homestays and other stay options near the lake,but it is better to stay in Pelling to get a wider choice.
The Khecheopalri Lake is best visited on a day tour from Pelling.
Though the lakeside does not have any shops or eateries,there are few stalls serving very basic Sikkimese food near the parking area.
|A monastery near the lake.|
|A stupa on the way to the lake|