There is so much beauty in the off beat track but very few of us dare to take the path less travelled. Himachal is known for its picturesque hill stations like Simla, Kulu-Manali and Dharamshala. There are not many people who know that nestled atop a mountain spur is a spectacular lake that not only mesmerises with its beauty but also awes with the fact it is a place revered by three faiths- Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. Rewalsar- a small town about 25 kms from Mandi, borders a square shaped lake which bears the same name. Here, you get an eyeful of a lake, the hills and the forest in one single frame.
Rewalsar is also known as Tri-Sangam(confluence of three) by the locals due to the peaceful co-existence of places of worship of three different religions around the lake. There are three monasteries in close vicinity and a 123 feet high statue of Padmasambhava adorns a raised platform. Padmasambhava was a Buddhist master in the 8th century. Legend has it that he taught tantras to the local princess at Rewalsar and the king tried to burn him alive when he learnt about it. It is said that Padmasambhava was untouched by the fire and sat meditating calmly through it all. The same pose has been depicted in the sculpture. The golden statue glistens in the sunlight and seems surreal. It is widely believed that Padmasambhava’s soul resides in the reeds of the lake. Enigmatic? You bet!
There is a cave by the name of Padmasambhava’s cave and if you are up for a daunting 40 minute trek, you can check it out as well.
Three temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Krishna and Lomas are also situated near the lake. It is said that Sage Lomas prayed to Lord Shiva for his penance at this sacred place.
A gurdwara also rests at the banks of the river. The tenth guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, stayed in Rewalsar for almost a month while he was visiting to meet the local leaders for alliance against Aurangzeb.
Nyingma Gompa is the name of the oldest and the most popular monastery in Rewalsar. This monastry is famous for its huge Peace Bell which is rung twice a day, around 6am and 8:30 pm. It is believed that standing near the bell when it rings rids the body and mind of all negativity and anxiety and brings inner peace and tranquility. Be sure to experience it when you visit!
It is a custom to take a walk around the lake, in a clockwise direction. So do it for faith, for fun or just to take in as much of nature’s beauty as you can. You can even feed the fish that abound there.
The vibrant prayer flags, chanting from the temples and the serenity of the white of the gurdwara embrace the essence of our nation- the unity in its diversity! The symbols of three faiths co-exist peacefully in the lap of nature, surrounded by lush greens and sparkling water, sheltered by rising mountains, away from differences that prevail… what is this place if not a slice of paradise?
This blog was originally published on 'The Solitary Saunter'