Rewalsar Lake – चोरी-चोरी जब…..

February 01, 2013 By:

 

I had fallen in love with Rewalsar Lake when I saw Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film “KAREEB”.   I had travelled on Manali route many times, but no one ever told me about this lake.  After seeing Kareed,  in 2004 I alongwith Laxman  visited this beautiful like, while coming back from Jwalaji   and were awestruck then.

Beautiful Rewalsar Lake

Beautiful and serene Rewalsar Lake

Rewalsar has been filmed so beautifully in the movie, that anyone seeing the song चोरी चोरी जब नज़रें मिलीं..चोरी चोरी फिर नींदे  उड़ी, is sure to fall in love with the beauty of Rewalsar

just check this video :

So this time, we had pre-planned our visit to this bewitching place.   We had started from Jwalaji and covering Kangra, Palampur and Baijnath we continued to Mandi.  20 Kms before Mandi, it was becoming dark, and when we reached Mandi, it was completely dark.  We reached the main square of Mandi and parked our car, had some refreshment and discussed about our next step.  We had earlier come to Mandi and stayed here for a night but that was near the high way, and we never knew that Mandi is such a beautiful little town.  We roamed around in the streets but could not see a good hotel, as most of them were above restaurants, a sort of rest rooms for locals.  Someone told us about a good hotel, but we were lost in the streets of Mandi and reached a market which had most of the shops owned by sikhs.

We finally decided to say good-bye to Mandi and reach Rewalasar, which was 25 Kms.  We asked a boy on bike about the way and that good samaritan told us the way like turn left, turn right, and go straight then turn left etc…. and after seeing our lost faces, he asked us to follow his bike.  We again ventured through Mandi behind him.  After about 2 Kms of turning lefts and rights, he finally left us at the road going straight to Rewalsar.  We thanked him and with hunger, fatigue and cursing from our womenfolk, we finally reached Rewalsar at around 9-30.  We straight away went into HPTDC hotel, who gave us  rooms saying it is only available for one day as they have bookings the next day.  We went to our rooms, had some fatigue-removing liquids and went straight to bed.

Next morning, we came out of hotel and saw the jaw dropping scenes all around.  Rewalsar had changed a lot since our last visit.  So many encroachments near the lake, a big statue of PadamSambhava in the back ground and lot of greenery were the immediate signs we noticed.

outside hotel

 

View of Rewalsar lake from hotel

Next day we decided to see the upper lakes first and then see Rewalsar….we started our journey and near the Rewalsar Gate a man came running to us and asked for Rs.25.  “Kis baat ke ” I barked.  He meekingly said – sir ji aap raat ko aaye thhe isliye maine disturb nahin kiya, par yahan aane ka panchayat shulk 25 Rs. hai..we paid the money and asked for way upwards.

Entry gate to Rewalsar

Guru Padamsambhava, who is called the second Buddha came here and started practicing Mahayan buddhism.  There is  a story of local king, infuriated by love affair between Padamsambhav and king’s daughter, tried to burn him alive, but the fire became water and Padamsambhave became lotus flower.  PadamSambhava was a great Tantra teacher and it is said that he used to fly to Tibet from here and spread Buddhism there.  The latest addition to Rewalsar is 123 feet statue of Lord Padamsabbhava, which looks magnificent.

123 feet high statue of PadamSambhava

123 feet high statue of PadamSambhava

 

Rewalsar lake is initially connected to Lomash Rishi,  who had been searching for a place for his tapasya, and who was told by Lord Shiva about Rewalsar, which is abode of gods and various gods reside there as flowers, trees, fishes and water bodies.  Rishi Lomash came to Rewalsar and did his penance.  There is an ancient temple of Lomash Rishi on the bank of the lake, and perahps the first ever temple here.

So we finally came out of Rewalsar and took the hilly small road going upwards.  The Rewalsar bus-stop cum main bazar was buzzing with people, but none of them was tourist as most of them were Himachalis.  About 80% tourists in Rewalsar are Buddhists coming from India, Bhutan, Thailand, Sikkim and Tibet.

We can clearly see the impact of buddhist culture all over Rewalsar.

Tibetan inscript near the entry gate

 

Main bus stop of Rewalsar

 

we turned right after the bus stop and put our car on to steep little road.  This road goes upto the top of the hill from where a magnificent view of Himalays can be enjoyed.  As per mythology Pandavas stayed here for some time and when Kunti, their mother felt thirst, Arjuna hit the mountains with his arrow, which pierced 7 times and thus seven lakes were formed.  Out of these seven lakes only 3 are left and the other 4 have dried up.  After continuous ascending we reached at the level of 1600 feet and we were before a beautiful lake, called Kunti lake.

Kunti Lake..1600 meters above msl

Kunti Lake..1600 meters above msl

By the side of the lake there was a small temple of Kunti…perhaps the only temple of Kunti in the world.  There was an old priestess sitting in the temple whom I asked about the temple.  She didnt reply and I took it as rudeness…when my wife again asked in loud voice, she opened her little box, put on the hearing aid and said – why are you shouting… I am going to tell …hmmm this is Kunti temple, and that is kunti lake… and thus we were told the story.  Surprisingly all the temples here have women priests, which is quite rare

Kunti temple

Kunti lake is full of fishes, because angling in Rewalsar is forbidden and Himachalis here treat fishes as sacred, hence are not captured from the sacred ponds.  We purchased some food for fishes and went down the lake.  Surprisingly the fishes noticed us coming down, and from all over the lake they started gathering exactly at the place, where we were going to land.

Fishes gathering for feed

feeding the fishes

So after filling the belly of always hungry fishes, we continued our ascend towards the top.   In the way we saw one of the lakes which was drying, but would be full during monsoons.

The dried lake

Finally we reached the top.  The view from the top was mind blowing…on one side the mighty Dhauladhar range and on the other side Kinner Kailash and surrounding mountains, alongwith valleys were a treat to the eyes.

Kalpa snow clad peaks in background

 

There was a temple complex on the top, one Naina Devi temple and some other small temples of Durga, Krishna and Hanuman ji.   The good thing about these temples were that they were very neat and clean without any chaos or garbage.  Another unique thing was that all the temples had women priests ( women lib party workers must be happy and can use this as their victory).  We went into all the temples, prayed, paid some donation and came out.

Raj Rajeshwari temple complex

 

A woman priest in NainaDevi temple

A woman priest in NainaDevi temple

At this height (about 6000 feet), the air was cold, devoid of any pollution and enjoyable.  After spending some time and clicking some photos, we came down and in the middle way there was a beautiful small restaurant, managed by a retired Fauji.  The balcony of the restaurant was facing the valley and the view was jaws dropping.

view from restaurant

We took some refreshment and discussed about places to see.  There was a Foreigner sitting next to us…. a chat with him and we came to know that he has come from Norway and is staying here for the last two months.  The room rent in this restaurant was Rs.350 per day and it was  as good as free for him.  He liked the place very much and did many rounds of trekking to and fro to Rewalsar lake, a feat which seemed impossible to us at this age.

on the right side is the Norwegian gentleman

The Norwegian was well versed with Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and I felt pity for my countrymen, many of whom either did not know our great philosophy or they mock at it.  We had a heartful chat about various aspect of Hinduism, Sikhism and buddhism and then he asked us if we have seen the caves above, where Padamsambhava did his penance.  We cut a sorry figure and told that we were not aware of such caves.  He then indicated the place, which we had left 30 mnts ago, and requested us to go there as the place was not to be missed.

Lo and again, we turned our car back and ascended 3 Kms towards the caves.  We had earlier passed from here but did not know of any such caves.  The parking was full with foreigner’s cars who had come to see the ancient magical caves.  We also parked our car and climbed some 50 steps upwards and reached the cave.

Ancient buddhist caves

Surprisingly, here also two Buddhist lady priestess were incharge and they ushered us to the cave.

The cave had a small entry, but opened into a big hall followed by another smaller hall.

entry to the cave

 

The main cave had the images of various buddhist deities and fotos of Dalai Lama.  On the altar there were currency notes of various countries like Bhutan, China, Thailand, Nepal denoting buddhists coming from all over the world to this wonderful place.

varaious idols inside cave

There were many foreigners sitting in meditative poses in the hall.  There was complete silence in the caves and one could feel immense joy while being here.

Idol of PadamSambhava in meditative posture

It is said that Padam Sambhava did his meditation here and it was here that he got Nirvana.  The next smaller cave was also magical.  It had a small statue of PadamSambhava.  I sat there to rest for a while and within seconds my eyes closed and I started going to a trance like stage.  I did not want to get up and continue my meditation here for ever…. While Laxman shook me 2/3 times that I woke up and stood up to move further.  Such was the energy and vibrations in the cave.

 

Trying to meditate in the magical cave

 

Appo Deepa Bhava

Energised and peaceful we came out of the Buddhist caves.  On way back on stairs, a man started persuading us to see a small cave nearby which was supposed to have footprint of Arjuna.  We went near the cave, but its mouth was so small, we didnt feel like going inside.  The man became a little angry and said that we have gone to buddhist caves but not seeing hindu caves….now who would tell him there is no budhism or hinduism.. both are dharmic religions.  Laxman gave him a 10 Re note, and he was happy.  In the parking the tea-wali told us that yesterday a cobra came out of that cave… we were relieved and patted ourselves for not going inside.

 

On our return journey we got down near the Buddhist Gompa which is having the big statue of Padam Sambhava.  We decided that instead of climbing up from Rewalsar, we would see the gompa and descend from there to Rewalsar, as that would be easier.  We went to the gompa.  It was a magnanimous, colorful temple which was really a treat to the eyes.

Buddhist Gompa with PadamSambhava’s statue on its roof

Well you must need a break now… rest of Gompa and main Rewalsar in next post…

 

 

 

 

About SilentSoul

Silent Soul has written 40 posts at Ghumakkar.

_/\_ Namaskar. I am a Dilli-walla & a globe trotter I love Himalayas and do not leave any chance to be there, whenever I am in India .

40 Responses to “Rewalsar Lake – चोरी-चोरी जब…..”


  1. Wow! Great post accompanied with great pictures. I only heard the name of Rewalsar but never knew much about it so now it comes in the list of places to see before you die.

    Sikhs in Mandi are Naamdharis (Kookas). They all wear white clothes and turbans. The main difference between Namdhari Sikhs and mainstream Sikhs is their belief in their living Guru (as opposed to the Guru Granth Sahib, the present Guru of Sikhs).

    Other differences include being: strict vegetarians; placing equal importance between the Guru Granth Sahib and the Dasam Granth, the holy book written by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

    They claim that Guru Gobind Singh made Balak Singh as next guru so their tradition of having gurus still continues.

    Their recent guru Jagjit Singh expired at December 13 2012.

    Namdhari headquarter is at Bhaini Sahib in Ludhiana, Punjab. It is a very serene place and they strictly sing and teach purest of the music. I visited there in last January and was stunned to listen the religious music there.

    Bhaini Sahib is a worth visiting place.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Praveen Wadhwaji. The Dasham Granth was compiled by Guru Gobind Singhji and it contains prayers for Shakti and Shiva… that is why Khalistanis oppose this granth and say anyone believing in Dasham Granth is not true sikh.

  2. Rakesh Bawa says:

    Dear Silentsoul,
    very good writeup indeed. You are right in your observation that many tourists do not come to Rewalsar but the place is a refreshing one. Your write up is SONE PE SUHAGA

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Bawaji… I am sure after reading my log many more tourists will go there..

      tks for your encouraging comments

  3. vinaymusafir says:

    Again a hit story from you.
    I never heard about Padam Sambhava. Always great know to such informations.
    Travelling really teaches us well.
    Keep travelling keep teaching us.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Vinay.. yes travelling is one of the best teachers.. we become wiser and have more understanding and patience after travelling…

      keep commenting and encouraging us

  4. Nandan Jha says:

    SS – One of the highly detailed, full of information and beautiful (pics) post. Vipin has written about Rewlasar and he did mention a few things but I guess this post does a complete justice to this place.

    Mandi is very strategically located from the perspective of a traveler beginning from Delhi and going to Manali and beyond (and the other way round). We had always wanted to stay for a night at Mandi but it appeared like another town (and almost no hills). Once we did stay there, while returning from Manali. We stayed at Visco Resorts, a neat and clean place, right on the highway. I think this 25 KM detour is a brilliant stop-over place. I know a lot of people who stay at Chandigarh on the way to Lahaul. So many many thanks for presenting this detailed write-up because now I am clear on where to halt for the night.

    If possible, please try to include info about the HPTDC hotel (tariff, pics, review note) in your next log.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Nandan… yes vipin’s post was also one of the masterpieces. I tried to first cover those places which vipin missed.

      Mandi too is a beautiful town and I now plan and stay in Mandi for a day and discover the ancient temples there.

      In my last part I will try to put a foto of HPTDC and other info… tks for the advice

  5. बुद्धं शरणं गच्छामि…बहुत खूब, बहुत ही सुन्दर पोस्ट, धन्यवाद, वन्देमातरम…

    • SilentSoul says:

      गु्प्ताजी धन्यवाद… जय श्री राम

      आपकी अगली पोस्ट कब आ रही है

  6. D.L.Narayan says:

    Fantastic post, SS, about Rewalsar and Padmasambhava, one of the foremost teachers of Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism. You have beautifully captured the spiritually charged ambience of this place with your words and your camera too.

    As you have observed, we need foreigners to remind us of the greatness of our spiritual heritage because the modern generation seems to be completely ignorant of it. Posts like this will help in increasing spiritual awareness in our younger readers.

    Regarding the profusion of female priests, do you think this has something to do with the Shakti worship which is the dominant spiritual tradition in this area?

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Narayanji for your kind comments.

      All over Himachal and UKhand, shakti is worshipped but only in this area we find the women priests. In garhwal the women folks are excessively burdened with fields work and domestic responsibilities whereas men smoke hukka and drink…

  7. chicobello says:

    kunti temple, female priests, beautiful lake, buddhism, caves meditation, vibrations… the way you described the place tells a lot that how immensly you enjoyed being there, had it not been hindusim it would have been buddhism surely….buddha is everywhere…..mean to say statues, culture, monasteries i have been to rumtec monastery sikkim once and there i realized the widespread approach of buddhism….monasteries are so different….feel like visit rewalsar right now…thanks for sharing…

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thakur saheb Thanks for your kind comments. There is no difference between both the religions. Sanatan dharma is mother of all Dharmic religions. Budhism & Jainism are based upon the Sankhya Yoga philosophy of Sanatan Dharma and sikhism is a Bhakti Yoga branch.

      Our temples must learn many lessons from monasteries and gurudwaras.

      Pls read next part on Monday

  8. Gita AM says:

    Lovely post and pics yet again, Silent Soul.
    I can see what we missed and I certainly regret not taking in Mandi and Rewalsar when we were in HP.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks gitaji. It is good that we always miss something and have a good reason to go again to see the missing part. I just read your log on Barot and have felt the same… I missed Barot but that is the reason that I will visit there as soon as I reach India.

  9. Tarun Talwar says:

    SS Ji,

    Another gem of a post from you. I go for Darshan every year to Chintpurni-Jwalaji-Kangra Devi and Chamunda Devi. My own experience is, farther you are from plains, better managed the temples are. My favourite is Chamunda Devi which is always very clean and has few shops.

    I have been planning a trip to Revalsar ever since I saw Kareeb but only God knows when it will materialize. The Padmasambhav connection will probably prompt me to go there this time. Thanks a lot for such a detailed and wonderful write-up supported by great pictures.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tarunji Thanks for your comments…. Long time no see ??

      Yes I like Chamunda temple very much due to its natural beauty, the beautiful water stream behind and open and pure atmosphere. This time we did not go there but in next journey…sure

  10. Tim says:

    Hi, I really enjoyed this post. I spent one night here in 2000, on our way from Shimla to Dharamsala, although I never realised there was so much more to see in the area. Thanks for enlightening us. Tim UK.

  11. Vipin says:

    Wow, this is what I call ‘law of attraction’, I was thinking about writing on my visit to Kunt Bhayo and and other nearby lakes (Sukhsar & Kalsar) yesterday (I missed these lakes during my first visit and explored them last August) and here it came through this wonderful post…you are true when you say “It is good that we always miss something and have a good reason to go again to see the missing part”…I try to miss something at such places for the same reason…:)….this time I missed Naina Devi, another reason to revisit Rewalsar…have also gathered some information on some short treks nearby…do you know any, will be very helpful for us?…

    Thanks for bringing this magical place to us through your blog and lovely photos, SS Ji….waiting for the next episode…

    • SilentSoul says:

      Vipin… thanks for your comments. When you went to Rewalsar, it was full of water but during our visit I saw the water level just touching the railings.

      Dont forget to see next part on Monday

      Once again congrats for the selection of your story as featured… soon you will be FA too.

      Can you confirm that the last lake shown in the song – is it Parashar??

  12. This looks like a beautiful unexplored place… The statue of Padmasambhav is very impressive. Need to read other posts in the series.

    thanks

  13. Ritesh Gupta says:

    S.S. Ji….
    As always your describes are wonderful and full of information. I don’t know earlier this Lake & Temples. Now ! I knew more about this beautiful place through your log and think that Rewalsar Lake is a Wonderful place for visit.
    Your every clicks are very nice and brighter. first Picture and One picture of fishes is very nice.
    Thanks for Sharing and inform us….

  14. A fantastic post on Rewalsar . Superb pictures and nice narration. I just don’t want this journey to end.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Vishal ji tks.. all things have to have an end… good or bad :)

      Tks for your time.. seems you were quite busy during last days

  15. Nirdesh says:

    Dear SS,

    Its a wonderful series of Himachal posts with beautiful photos. Kangra Fort is truly unassailable – in DL’s words. Barring the walls, inside most of it is in ruins.

    Thanks again for helping revisit some places and seeing other places for the first time.

  16. Saurabh Gupta says:

    Thanks for the very well described post. I have never heared about Rewalsar but now i will try to go there in my next visit of Manali.

    Most of the informations are new for me and all the photos are excellent.

    Regards.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Saurabhji..because of good readers like you, the authors here try to give more and more…

      thanks for your time to read and comment…hope you will read next parts too

  17. saroj sharma says:

    mindblowing post

  18. Again a very nice post, as expected from you.
    The entire series is going to be a useful guidebook for anyone who will plan for a trip at these places…so, thank you for this.

  19. Dear SS,

    As usual, a detailed, highly captivating account with colourful pictures as are expected from your end. I was away from ghumakkar on account of illness so now I have to catch up the posts missed by me. Also read some comments today about attack on this site of ours by some hacker! Hope everything is where it should be.

    • SilentSoul says:

      उरे … जभी तो मैं कहूं सुसान्त भाई कहां गायब हो गये चानचक

      Hope you are ok now and ready for the interview. Yes Ghumakkar was attacked at least 3 times by hackers… and Nandan had to burn his midnight oil to bring it back.

      tks for your comments

  20. Giriraj Shekhawat says:

    Mind blowing post Silent Soul Sahab …
    saw the video of kareeb again — childhood memories revisited … Wonderful descriptions .. never seen or heard about a kunti temple before ..Nice revelation for me … Pandavas have their stories wherever they have revered …. Nice post ..i even liked the legend of Padmasambhava … Thank u for sharing this wonderful place with us
    u get 1000 marks /100 here and a jadu ki jhappi from me ..he he he he

    Regards and Salute



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