AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE By Rashi Madane
Ever had that dream where you are walking along the banks of a mystical lake, surrounded by lush green trees and the magnificent rays of the sun cast a serene glow over the crystal-clear waters? The sound of numerous birds chirping merrily take you to another world, and you feel distant from the daily chaos faced in a hectic urban life.
If you crave this kind of salvation which is indeed a herculean task to seek, we have the perfect avenue which will convert your blissful dream to sweet reality, The Khecheopalri Lake of Gangtok.
A gateway to wish-fulfilment
Nestled in the dense forest cover surrounding the sacred Khecheopalri hill, is a lake which is nearly 3500 years old and has a renowned status in local folklore. It has gained immense popularity as a wish-fulfilment lake, as Lord Shiva is believed to have meditated in the Dupukney Cave overlooking the lake. Trupti, an avid traveller and adventurer says, “The local community of the village believes that all wishes made are fulfilled here.” So why not try and you might get lucky?
The lake gifted with a rich ecosystem
The most peculiar feature of the Khecheopalri Lake is the crystal-clear surface of the water. This feat is attributed to the rich avifauna of the lake which never let any dirt or impurity surface the water and pick it up as soon as anything falls on it. And true to its essence, you would never find even a single leaf floating on the surface. Consequently, it goes without saying that this lake is a birdwatchers’ paradise with species ranging from local to exotic Himalayan birds as well. It has rich intertwined vegetation of broad-leaved trees and bamboo clusters deeming it fit to be called a heavenly abode. Apart from the aerial diversity, the lake also boasts of rich marine life inhabiting the pristine waters.
Explore the unexplored
Being one of the less-explored gems of Gangtok, this offbeat destination has a lot to offer. The best time to visit is October-February, owing to the optimum weather conditions. Simple hikes around the lake also amount to immense pleasure with spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset. Who wouldn’t love to trod over the hills, earning a magnificent view of the pristine lake of Khecheopalri, just the way Kapil Rawat, an adventurous traveller all the way from Delhi, beautifully captures in this photograph.
Another interesting fact about the lake is that it looks like a footmark of Lord Shiva from an elevated point. So, if you are a nature enthusiast and possess a keen interest in the cultural and religious fabric of Sikkim, make sure to include Khecheopalri lake in your travel plans. A leisurely 1-hour scenic drive from The Elgin Mount Pandim, this destination promises a memorable experience which will leave you spellbound!