Rewalsar Lake – त्रिवेणी of Love, Beauty & Dharma

We got down from the car and after descending some uneven stairs reached the PadamSambhav Gompa.  The Gompa was colorful and mystic.  It was huge with traditional depictionof various symbols of Buddhism.  We climbed the long stairs and reached the courtyard of the Gompa.

Rewalsar

Rewalsar

 

 

The  doors were closed and there was no one around.  We looked here and there and we saw a man and a woman stitching something.  I went upto them and enquired about the timings of the temple.  The budhist monk in broken hindi asked, if we liked to see inside the temple.  On our yes, he left his job and came with us to the Gompa…opened its artistic gates and ushered us in.

PadamSambhav Gompa

PadamSambhav Gompa

I asked him, if we can take fotos inside to which he readily agreed, saying it is not forbidden.   The main hall was big and colorfully decorated on all walls and ceiling. This was contrary to our temples where they do not allow any photography and all the photos are available outside shops for a prize.  I think this was initially done to avoid people crowding inside the temple, and be busy in photography but later it became a commercial practice.  Now when even photos with mobile phone can be shot, there is no logic in not allowing photography in temples.

Even in the Gurudwara of Rewalsar, they allowed photography.  Some temples in Uttrakhand also allow photography.

Colorful inside of Gompa

There was a brass statue of Lord Padam Sambhav in meditative pose.  We could feel the holy vibrations all around.  The management of the temple, the courtesy of priest and the overall cleanness of the temple put a question to me as to why we can not copy them in our temples..

 

Main temple

After spending some 30 minutes around the temple, we came out of the Gompa, thanked the Buddhist and started our journey downwards towards Rewalsar.

Yours truly before the Gompa

The Rewalsar Lake from the Gompa was beautiful, as if a green emerald has been fitted in lesser green emeralds.

Rewalsar Lake as seen from Gompa

We came down and sat at a small restaurant.  Laxman’s wife wanted to have some Thupka and momos.  I had earlier tasted these tibetan items at Majnu Ka Tila, during my university days… but could not develop taste for them, except for the Chhung, which we enjoyed and then used to sleep in the room of our friend in Ramjas hostel.  The cook cum owner of restaurant was a local himachali, and when he brought the thukpa and momos.. I took a bite and made an ugly face… same happened with Laxman’s wife who had been eating thupka and momos in Delhi on regular basis.  We left them half eaten and came out.  So remember – Never eat Thupka and momos etc from himachali shops.. there are one or two Tibetan shops who are having better quality.  After this bad experience with Himachali Thupka, we started our journey around the lake

Shiva temple, Rewalsar

First came the Shiva Mandir, shivalinga of which was supposedly fixed by Rishi Lomash.  The temple was very old, but looking beautiful.

Another view of Shiva temple

The womenfolks went inside for a ritualistic worship, whereas I stood out shooting the temple.  Beisdes Shiva temple was a small but equally beautiful temple of Vishnu.

Vishnu Temple, Rewalsar

 

After Vishnu Temple, the road opened into a big area where we could see the whole of lake, with the Gurudwara in background and temple of Lomash Rishi on the shores of lake.  Lomash Rishi, as I wrote earlier was the first settler in Rewalsar.

Lomash Rishi Temple on the bank of Rewalsar lake

 

A view of lake from Lomash temple

The Rewalsar lake was also full with fish, some as big as 3 to 4 feet and all were competing with each other to get maximum food.  We also purchased some small biscuits for fishes and enjoyed their fight for the food.  There were 3 old widows sitting nearby and when we passed them, they all stood up and asked for some money.  My wife opened her purse and gave 100 Rs. to them asking them to distribute.   The sort of blessings they showered on my wife for such a small amount was unheard of.

feeding fishes.. it is here that Bobby Deol fell into water in Kareeb

 

We were thoroughly enjoying the walk around the lake.  Every now and then, a group of buddhists would pass by us uttering some mantras.  It was later gathered that buddhists treat the lake as very sacred and it was a part of their daily meditation to encircle the lake in the morning and evening.

 

During March-April, thousands of floating candles are offered by people in the lake…. I can only imagine how beautiful it may look… however we can have a glimpse of that scene in the song of Kareeb (given in my last post).

Another view of Rewalsar…opposite shore is Gurudwara

 

Halfway, we were a little afraid to see a group of monkey following us.  We stopped by a Rehriwala selling tea, who drove the monkeys away.  We ordered tea and stood there gossiping and eating mungfalis from his rehri.  Then an old lady came running to us.    She had highest numbered specs and was walking with a stick.  She came to my wife and told – you gave money to all buddhis there, but I had gone home for some work… and now those buddhis are not giving me part of donation… she had tears in her eyes with choked voice she pleaded for some money.  My wife took out a 50 rs note and gave to her…and the torrents of blessing started coming out of her mouth.  Laxman laughed – let us move fast because now the other buddhis will come and fight as why they were not given 50 Rs. each… LOL.

 

We moved further and came on the other side of the lake.  We reached the third famous place of Rewalsar – The Gurudwara.  Rewalsar is famous among Hindus, Buddhists and sikhs equally.  The stairs of the gurudwara were long and steep and none of us was ready to climb that high.  In Kareeb, these stairs have been shot many times, as most of the shots of hero and heroine are filmed on these stairs.  Someone  told that there is a gate a little farther from where we can take the road going up the Gurudwara.

Gurudwara entrance

 

The Gurudwara was beautiful  and clean.  We entered inside.  Although it was not time for Kirtan, but the good sikh priest opened the temple and showed us around.  We bowed before Guru Granthh Sahib… paid some donations to the cashier and came out

Inside Gurudwara

 

This Gurudwara was built by Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi in respect of Guru GobindSinghji.  Guru Gobind Singh came to Himachal to seek support from the hill kings, for his fight against the muslim invaders.  He chose Rewalsar as his camp site and had his meeting with hill kings and chalked out plans for a joint strategy against the invading armies of muslims.  Guru Gobind Singh ji was so impressed by the holy vibrations of this place that he stayed here for more than a month and later Raja of Mandi built this Gurudwara in his memory.

 

Outside Gurudwara

 

The view of Rewalsar Lake from the Gurudwara was magnificent.  We just asked the priest about the timings of Langar.  He called someone and ordered him to feed us immediately.  The other sikh told us… there is no time fixed  for langar and we can have it anytime.  If the food is finished they would cook it afresh for us.  We were really moved by this kindness and good gesture.  We thanked him and despite his persuations to have some langar, moved forward.

A view of lake from Gurudwara

Main entrance to Gurudwara

The view of Rewalsar lake was again mind-blowing… the sun setting and the reflection falling on the water, with Shiva temple in background was something that has to be experienced not read in a log.

Sun setting over Rewalsar

 

Tibetan hospital

We passed by Tibetan hospital… the sun was setting and evening approaching.  The mixed sound of Shabad Kirtan from Gurudwara, the sound of bells from the temples, chirping of birds, and deep sounds of  trumpets and horns from the Buddhist monasteries…were so hypnotising that one will have vibrations in the body.

Our Himachal route map

Our Himachal route map

 

Rewalsar has everything to offer to all … be it a religious person, or a spiritualist, or a purely tourist… everyone can quench his thirst here.  The magnificent natural beauty all around, the Temple, monasteries , Gurudwara, the snow clad mountain peaks and lush green valleys and the green watered lake make Rewalsar a picture perfect place.

One can see Rewalsar on his way to Manali, with extra coverage of just 35 Kms.  From Ner Chowk one can turn left…go to Rewalsar 25 Kms from there and then from Rewalsar go to Mandi (25 Kms) and join the main Manali High way.  If my log has created a desire in you to see this beautiful place, then the purpose of writing this log is fulfilled.

Thanks for reading and in next and last part I will write my return journey from Rewalsar to Iceland…….

31 Comments

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Let me grab this opportunity to comment first:
    Again a well written post on less-known place. Definitely helpful for all travelers.
    This post can be called secular post, covering three religions i.e. Budhism, Hinduism & Sikhism. Truely awesome.
    May god be with you always.

  • Once again SS jee

    A brilliant post . Full marks for the presentation . Specially I liked the colors inside this post . You had met Nandan and Vibha when you came to Delhi . if you have pictures with them then please share them in your final post.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Vishalji thanks.. I was missing your kind comments for long. Thanks for liking the post. and Thank god that Nandan could revive Ghumakkar from clutches of hackers, otherwise we would have lost a treasure house of travel stories.

      We dont have photos of our meeting, and for some unknown reason none of us thought of snapping a few shots.

  • Gita AM says:

    Wonderful coverage of Rewalsar, Silent Soul. Reading this would make anyone want to visit.

    Enjoyed the anecdotes about the ‘buddhis’ and yes, it is illogical that some temples do not allow photography. Just makes no sense.

    By the way, how is Rewalsar pronounced – waal or saar or something else? Thanks and look forward to your next post.

  • Vipin says:

    Nice extension of the previous post, lovely photos! The golden dome of the gurudwara reminded me of The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem…The golden domes not only look similar but also convey the same philosophy of co-existence of several religious entity at the same place…waiting for the closing chapter of this series…

  • SilentSoul says:

    tks Vipinji… yes it seems dome has some spiritual significance

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Another beautiful post on Rewalsar, SS. The description was very vivid and so were the pictures. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you so much.

    It is amazing how Buddhists and Sikhs never turn away visitors, does not matter when they come or where they come from. Hindu temples, on the contrary, are least welcoming, especially the more affluent ones. The priests behave like sarkari karmacharis (work-to-rule) and behave as though they are doing us a huge favour. They will always say no when they can say yes. The attitude towards photography is totally unreasonable. I do not see how photography can in any way detract from the spirituality of a place. Well, what cannot be changed, must be endured.

    I found a couple of things remarkable about the Hindu temple. One is that the idol of Nandi is not seated, as is the norm, but standing. I wonder if there is any specific reason for this. Another is the presence of an idol of Ganesh at the entrance of the Lakshminarayan temple. In the South, the Vaishnavites are very sectarian and they do not have Ganesh idols in the precincts of the temple. They invoke Vishwaksena instead of Ganesha and at the entrance, the dwara palaks are Jaya and Vijaya.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks DL for your valuable comments. This very behavior of the priests turned away people to other religions. but sadly no other religion ever removed the scars of caste except Buddhism which is the only religion where caste and creed is not cared…otherwise sikhs have separate gurudwaras for lower castes, Kerala has many churches for dalits and muslims continue to call derorgatory names to dalits even after conversion and do not marry their wards into their families.

      I think the reason for the arrogance of priestly class is that these big temples were constructed/renovated/maintained by kings and nobles and the priests only cared about their mentors. Although the situation has changed now, but we hindus normally remain happy with status-quo and refuse to change easily. Smaller temples (like Chanderbadni, Kali Mathh, Jwalapa Devi, Naina Devi of Rewalsar) always care for visitors. Once in Chanderbadni temple I could see the sacred and secret Yantra kept inside the temple, because I happened to be the first visitor on a particular pious day.

      The more the visitors to the temple, the more is arrogance of priests… hence I have almost stopped going to BIG temples and focus on smaller/ancient temples with lesser publicity..and they always welcome me with open arms.

      You will also agree that the division of Vaishnava-Shaiva is completely wrong as per sanatan dharma…unfortunately many people in South still hold on to this. In my opinion, those who have shallow knowledge of our philosophy will only practice such divisions and hate each other. This division of Shiva-vaishnava is not there in rest of India…luckily (even though they have other follies in the name of religion…LOL)

      Your observation about Nandi is interesting and I was also surprised on this…even a man holding to the tail of Nandi is seen for the first time… I tried to get some explanation from priest..but he too was clueless… hope you will able to find some answer to this mystery. Someone told me that Nandi’s idol in Thiruchangodu (check spellings)…is also in standing posture…donno if it is correct

    • Gita AM says:

      @DLN

      I too noticed in HP that all the Gods are in all the temples. Temples dedicated to Shiva in whatever form, also had Hanuman present and as you observed temples dedicated toVishnu had Ganeshas. Almost as though whoever built those temples whether old or new, does not want to risk omitting any of the deities!

      • Gita AM says:

        Cant edit! Forgot to add a thank you for pointing out the standing Nandi, very interesting indeed.

        • D.L.Narayan says:

          @ SS: You are right about the standing Nandi at Tiruchengode. The legend is that Nandi was so moved by a devotional song sung by a devotee that it stood up and remained standing ever since. Thanks for bringing it to my notice.

          @ Gita: No need for thanks, Ma’am. One of the great pleasures of this forum is the lively and enriching interaction with fellow ghumakkars. I think that in the North,the challenge of Islam had united Hindus there whereas in the deep South, due to the minimal influence of Islam, the sectarian divide persisted among the Hindus,something that prevails to this day.

  • Stone says:

    Beautiful post, it definitely invoked a strong urge to visit it soon.
    Lovely description, lovelier photographs, they almost brought back the memories of Neha… oops I mean Kareeb :-)

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Bhaskar ji…

      you are right Neha (Shabana Reza)….the Dilli ki kudi looked very innocent and beautiful in Kareeb… she appeared in many other films later but failed miserably and finally settled down as wife of Manoj Bajpai….there is no need for ooooops..LOL

  • chicobello says:

    well rewalsar has been deeply, thoroughly and completely post mortem by you this post is in my opinion is strong enough to create an interest in the mind and compelling one to go there…unfortunately this lake is also facing danger as its depth is on a continous decline only 4 meters go through this news item appeard in Tribune Chandigarh: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130204/himachal.htm#2 ….telling about the current plight of rewalsar lake….

    and yes great to know about majnu ka tila “chhang pura” (its no more sold there), momo and thupka i have been there many times first time in my life i tasted momos and delicious thupka there only….

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thakurji tks for your time to read and comment. Yes Majnu ka tila is no more selling Chhang, DU students must be missing this.

      Humans have been destroying environments for long. Dal lake in Mclodgunj has been dried… Khajiar lake has become a pit of muddy water and I will be really sad to see Rewalsar drying up.

      Government should remove the silt from the lake and keep its beauty intact… but politicians have no time for environment..Alas

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    S.S. Ji…
    ???? ??? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ???…| ??? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??, ???? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??….| ??? ?? ???? ?? ???????? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ?? ????????? ???? ???…|
    ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???? ????? ???….
    ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??????? …|

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Wow SS ji,
    It was really a great post. Rewalsar seems to be really a beautiful place and your writing and photography skills enhanced its beauty. Pictures were really breathtaking and the first one ……..Mashaallah.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • SilentSoul says:

    ???? ??? ?? ..
    ??????? ??? ???

    ???????? ??????? ???? ????? ?? ????….???? ??? ?? ????? ? ??? ?? ???? ??

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    SS ji,
    ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ???? ????? ??? ?? ?? ??, ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ????? ??? ???? ?????????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??, ??? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ????

  • Saurabh Gupta says:

    SS Ji………. You can be appointed brand ambassador of Rewalsar lake tourism. After seeing the pictures & reading the post I have decided to go there once.

    Excellent post & pictures……………

    Waiting for the last part.

    Regards.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Ha Ha Ha Saurabhji…. if you read my Iceland series then you would plan to visit Iceland too..

      tks for your comments

  • Enjoyed thoroughly and moved by the gestured of the people at Gompha and Gurdwara. Wonderful.
    Nice post, nice series.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Chhang is no longer avail at MKT but I heard that one needs to have the right access. I was at MKT as recent as 6 months back :-). It is an interesting place.

    With all the much deserved accolades, let me say something which I personally try to avoid and that is feeding fish/duck. Guess it doesn’t do good to them or the lake.

    The log is so thoroughly described that now it would be a shame to not stop at Rewalsar on the way to Manali and beyond. And as I said sometime back that it indeed is very strategically located for Leh/Manali drives so thank you SS. Gita’s and DL’s and everyone else’s comment continue to educate us more.

  • Dear SilentSoul,

    Came to ghumakkar today with a view to catch up whatever I missed during the last fortnight, while I am in Indore. Thanks to my hotel for the WiFi network which permits me some reading and writing here on my laptop.

    Rewalsar has been presented by you very nicely. It is very true that all famous Hindu temples smell a lot of arrogance and I also have lost my appetite for them. Hope God Ji would understand my deep devotion for Him, even if I stay away from these buildings. As far as refusal of allow photography is concerned, there can be two reasons only – the photographer who has paid for one year contract must have insisted for Exclusive Rights during currency of the contract. If the tourists / devotees take their own photos and don’t feel a need to buy from the local photo shop, why would anyone invest in buying a contract? I don’t know who is to be blamed for it – the temple management for their greed or the local studio owner for his sense of business! But it is great that most of the gurudwaras, churches and Buddhist temples do not object to photography.

    As regards Shaiv and Vaishnav conflict, the highly detailed episode in Ram Charit Manas of Rameshwaram was a great attempt of Goswami Tulsidas to bridge the gap between these two sects of Hindus. Rama, Lakshman and Sita worshipping Shiva and on the other hand, Shiva and Parvati worshipping Rama and Sita – what a great idea, Sir Ji !!! When gods are not fighting among them and have great reverence for each other, why should their followers feed a need to establish their supremacy?

    Rewalsar is definitely on my wish list now. Thank you for introducing this great place to us.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Sushantji, I had replied to your comments but these are lost in the chaos of re-building the site (poor Nandan).

      tks for your generous comments

  • very well written, many thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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