Rewalsar: A Place Where 3 Religions Meet

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Fateh Veer Singh Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: Once upon a time, a great Buddhist spiritual leader, by the name of ‘Guru Rinpoche’ visited a place in the Himachal Himalayas. He fell in love with the daughter of the local ruler, and the ruler, upon coming to know about this, condemned the leader, who was also called the ‘Second Buddha’, to be burnt alive. But strangely, the pyre kept burning for 7 days, and after a week, a lake appeared at the spot where Guru Rinpoche was burnt. From within a lotus in the lake, Guru Rinpoche arose, in the form of a 16 year old boy, and the king, repenting his deed, married his daughter to the man fondly referred to as ‘Second Buddha.’ Grateful to the king, this spiritual leader went to Tibet and was instrumental in spreading Vajrayana Buddhism in the region.

Around 300 years ago, Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru of the Sikhs visited the same place, to hold consultations with the hill kings to stop the advance and thwart the Mughal Empire, under Aurangzeb. This consultation was to prove successful, as the Mughal Empire was greatly weakened by a combined force of the Sikhs and the hill states.

Mentioned in the Skanda Purana, this place was blessed by a Hindu sage named Lomas, who was searching for a place to worship in the Himalayas. Upon seeing a beautiful lake surrounded by trees, flowers and birds, he decided to meditate on its banks. Impressed by this, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati blessed.

This holy place, which is seen as the confluence of three major religions of the world, and of India, is located in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh.

This place is called Rewalsar.

Rewalsar Lake
Rewalsar Lake

Places to Visit:

Rewalsar Lake:

The sparkling blue waters of the Rewalsar Lake are a sight to behold. Located at a height of 1,360 metres, this lake is of immense value to Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhists call this lake Tso Lema (lotus lake), and there is a 12 metre high statue of Guru Rinpoche on the banks of the lake. Islands of floating reed on the Rewalsar Lake are also of great religious importance, as Buddhists believe that the spirit of Guru Rinpoche resides in those reeds.

Drikung Kagyu Gompa:

Belonging to the Nyingma School, it is a beautiful monastery lying on the banks of the Rewalsar Lake. The Nyingma School of Buddhism is the oldest school of Buddhism. Painted in red and purple colours, it also offers rooms where people visiting the town can stay.

Guru Gobind Singh Gurudwara:

This Gurudwara was built by Raja Joginder Singh, in 1930 in honour of the 10th Sikh Guru’s visit, who came to form an alliance with the hill states of Himachal to fight against the Mughals.

Tso-Pema Ogyen Heru-kai Nyingmapa Gompa:

One of the most famous monasteries of the region, it is located on the banks of the Rewalsar Lake and was built in the 19th century. Charming murals adorn and decorate the prayer hall and the museum of this monastery. A perfect place for meditation, people from all over the country come here to find peace within themselves.

Young monks socialize on the terrace of striking Drikung Kagyu Gompa, aka the Red Gompa, in Rewalsar
Young monks socialize on the terrace of striking Drikung Kagyu Gompa, aka the Red Gompa, in Rewalsar

Sarkidhar:

This small village is famous for being the spot where 7 holy lakes are present. While most of the lakes have now dried up, the main lake, Kunt Bhyog, is a popular tourist spot. The seven lakes are famous as being those which were used by the Pandavas to escape when the house of wax (mentioned in the Mahabharata) was on fire.

Best Time to Visit:

Since Rewalsar is located at a comfortable height, it can be visited throughout the year. There is a big fair that is organised around Baisakhi, in April, hence a lot of visitors visit the town during this time.

How to Reach:

The nearest airport to Rewalsar is located in Bhuntar, Himachal at a distance of 51 kilometres. The nearest railway station is located in Jogindernagar, which is 78 kilometres away.

Chandigarh and New Delhi are located at a distance of 190 kilometres and 437 kilometres, respectively.

Mandi, the district headquarters, is located at a distance of 25 kilometres from Rewalsar.

 

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