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Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim

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by Ian Marshall (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on or
Published December 2nd 2017
Wish-fullfilling lake in West Sikkim
In West Sikkim, not far from the small town of Pelling and the trekkers hub of Yuksom is a beautiful lake which is sacred for both Hindus and Buddhists.

There are numerous stories that add to the mysticism of this place but the primary source is the shape of the lake which, when viewed from above, resembles a footprint.

Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim, Yuksom, Pelling, Tara, footprint
Footprint shape of lake, seen from the viewpoint

Local Buddhists have a story that this comes from the goddess Tara and the lake is her footprint, although there is also a suggestion it is the print of the Buddha himself.
Hindus meanwhile associate this with Shiva's foot.

Whichever footprint it may be, the lake is considered a blessing and a wish-fullfilling place so it is treated in a most holy way.

Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim, Yuksom, Pelling, Tara, footprint
Walkway and monk

The pleasant walk down to its shore through a forest lined with prayer flags may see you pass several monks from the nearby monastery or other pilgrims come to pay their respects.

The jetty to the water is surrounded by prayer wheels and ends with a small shrine. Hundreds of fish gather by the end of the pontoon, waiting to be fed by visitors, creating a living layer of movement as they slither and slide around each other.

Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim, Yuksom, Pelling, Tara, footprint
Prayer flags by the water

There is another story that says this land was originally a fertile ground where locals would collect nettles for their cooking pots. One day a couple were collecting the bark and suddenly saw two conch shells in the air and entering into the ground. From this a great spring emerged and the lake engulfed the current area it covers.

There are a few little stores selling chai and snacks before you descend to the lake and a monastery which had a group of visiting nuns doing Puja while we were visiting.

Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim, Yuksom, Pelling, Tara, footprint, Monks, Chai
Monks taking Chai

There is also a huge prayer wheel in it's little house just as you walk down to the lake.

Khecheopalri Lake, Prayer wheel, Sikkim, Yuksom, Pelling, Tara, footprint
Prayer wheel
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Why? Sacred lake
Cost: 10 rupees entry fee
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