Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
Best time to visit: Summer (March to October)
Elevation: 1,360 m
Altitude: Mid altitude lake
Vast, apparently unending and sparking blue, the Rewalsar lake on a sunny day is a rare beauty. The lake remains calm all year round and truly comes to life when the mercury rises during the stifling summer. Surrounded by rugged mountains on all sides, this scenic lake is located at an altitude of 1,360 m above sea level and around 22.5 kilometres away from Mandi. The lake is square in shape and is sprawls over an area of 735 m.
Considered as one of the most sacred lakes of Himachal Pradesh, Rewalsar Lake is revered by the people of different religions- Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist. Tibetan Buddhist calls it by the name of Tso-Pema, the lotus lake. Legend has it that the king of Mandi tried to kill Guru Padmasambhava when he got to know that his daughter Mandarava is running off with him. The king tried to ruin their love by cursing them to die in a fire. By using his supernatural powers, Padmasambhava transformed the funeral pyre into a lake of sesame oil, surrounded by a ring of fire. In the middle of the fire bloomed a huge lotus flower on which Guru Padmasambhava was seated surrounded by rainbows and clouds. People even say that the Guru Padmasambhava’s (Guru Rinpoche) spirit resides in this lake in the form of a tiny reed flowing in the river.
Overlooking the lake, there is a 12 m-high statue of Padmasambhava, which is the main attraction of the place. Next to the lake there are three temples which are dedicated to Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and the sage Lomas. The lake is also home to the Drikung Kagyu Gompa which is an academy for Buddhist studies and houses a Sakyamuni statue. Beyond that there is a Gurudwara dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikhism. The Guru Gobind Singh Gurudwara was built in 1930 to honor Guru Gobind Singh ji’s visit in 1738 to Rewalsar.
Other important pilgrimage sites nearby the lake are Padmasambhava Cave, Naina Devi Temple, Zigar Drukpa Kagyud Institute, Drikung Kagyud Gompa, Jigar Monastery, Kunt Bhyog and six other lakes which are associated with an epic episode of Mahabharata where an attempt was made to kill ‘Pandavas’ in the palace of wax. Every year, the place shrugs off its calm during the months of the Sisu and Baisakhi festival. If a tourist wants to step away from the city for a quiet getaway, then they must include Rewalsar Lake in their Himachal tour guide.
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