KHECHUPERI LAKE, West Sikkim
Located at a distance of 31 km from Pelling in West Sikkim, the Khechuperi or Khecheopalri Lake is a sacred place of worship for Buddhists as well as for the Hindus. Khecheopalri means 'Heaven of Padmasambhava', an 8th century Buddhist Master; and the lake is believed to be a wish-fulfilling lake. The legend has it, if someone prays and sprinkles the water on oneself, his wishes are likely to come true.
The serene lake has references in Buddhist and Hindu mythologies. A common belief that goes around it is that Lord Shiva meditated in a cave above the lake. From an elevation, the lake appears to be in shape of a foot. It is, therefore, believed to be a footprint of Lord Shiva by the Hindus, and of the goddess Tara by the Buddhists.
Associated with many myths and lore, the lake has amusing stories and tales. It is believed that the birds of the region never let any dirt or impurity surface the water and pick it up as soon as anything falls on it. And truly, you would never find even a single leaf floating on the surface.
The lake premises can be reached by walking for a short distance from the entrance. A small Buddhist shrine and a Stupa, with numerous prayer flags around, can be visited in the lake premises. A wooden boardwalk leads to the lake and visitors must remove their footwear before walking on it. Numerous prayer wheels are lined up along the boardwalk.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
October through May is an ideal time to visit most parts of Sikkim including Khechuperi. This region gets heavy rainfall during monsoons, therefore, are avoided by travellers.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airways: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, West Bengal about 5 hrs drive from Gangtok, 12 km west of Siliguri and about 161 km from Khechuperi Lake. Sikkim also has got its first commercial airport at Pakyong, East Sikkim but weather hampers the operation of this airport most of the time. If you are lucky enough you can get a flight directly to Pakyong.
Railways: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal which is about 157 km from Khechuperi Lake. You can take a taxi to reach Khechuperi Lake via Pelling, which takes about 6 hours.
Roadways: Khechuperi Lake is about 32 km from Gyalshing, the West District Headquarter and about 144 km from Gangtok, the capital city.