Serene and Beautiful Rewalsar Lake
“Sar” in Pahari dialect means small floating mounds having grass reeds, specific to the water area, on it—this is how my mother-in-law told me about the naming of the place Rewalsar! The local people, in large numbers, would go to Rewalsar to take bath in the holy water of the lake.
The annual holy expedition would be eagerly awaited by all—from young children to the elderly because of its religious importance for the simple village people. I was always intrigued by the simple faith of the people who valued simple religious practices above all other things in their life. There was nothing like religious fanatism in their concept of religion and all of them would pay obeisance not only at the Rishi Lomash temple at Rewalsar but with equal devotion would pay respects at the Buddhist monasteries and the gurudwara at Rewalsar. Situated at an altitude of 1350 meters from the sea level, Rewalsar is at a distance of 25 kms. from Mandi and 60 kms. from Hamirpur.
We started from Hamirpur and the road to Rewalsar made me forget all the worldly problems as I felt like being transported to a different world—a world of yore! No wonders that the movie “Kareeb”, released in 1988, starring Bobby Deol and Neha, shot at this picturesque surroundings is remembered for the striking scenic beauty, if not for anything else. The pristine beauty of the valley and the idealistic dwellings therein made me crave for the idyllic life of the village folks. The lush green valley, sprouted with slate roofed houses with maize corns being dried in the sun, looked like a scene out of a glossy magazine.
Ah! I could make out a huge imposing structure gazing benevolently at the inhabitants of the valley—it was a statue of a Rishi sitting, deep in meditation!
The Lake below and the coloured cloth flags hanging around the meandering path around the lake, mesmerized me. The sacred water of the lake was clean and shining in the rays of the Sun. The sacred lake of Rewalsar is revered by the followers of Hindu, Bodhs and Sikhs as each faith has some important connection with the place. The Buddhist monastery dedicated to guru Padmasambhava has a legend about the lake Rewalsar. According to this legend the daughter of Raja Arshdhar of Mandi wanted to be initiated as a disciple of guru Padmasambhava, a Tantric guru. The King and his courtier didn’t want the princess to be initiated in such tantrik practice. The king ordered the burning of the guru Padmasambhava on a pyre but the burning pyre turned into water lake and the guru survived by transforming himself into a lotus flower. It is believed that the tiny islands of the floating reed in the Rewalsar lake have the spirit of guru Padmasambhava. The Hindus believe guru Padmasambhava to be a manifestation of Lomash rishi and consider this lake a holy pilgrimage place for paying obeisance to Rishi lomash. Every Baisakhi day is a celebration day for Hindus who assemble in large numbers at rewalsar Lake.The Sikh gurudwara situated a little up in the surroundings of lake Rewalsar is dedicated to Sikh faith. It is believed that Guru Gurugobind Singh Ji stayed at this place.Rewalsar lake signifies the unity and love among people having faith is different religions and this belief aims at the universal dharma of humanity that must be followed. It is not only the picturesque beauty of the place that provides relief to eyes but the deeper beauty signified by the real message of the sacred lake cleanses the minds and souls of visitors.