Sacred Khecheopalri Lake in West Sikkim

This picture has a story with a happy ending but that which starts with an unpleasant experience. Read on.

During my 1.5 month-long backpacking in Sikkim – a beautiful state in Northeast India, I volunteered with a free school in the remote pockets of West Sikkim, walked through nondescript villages, made some chirpy, junior friends, tasted local alcohol, trekked in the colorful Kanchenjunga National Park – on Goechala trek, visited the wonderful, and out-of-world places in North Sikkim including the stunning Gurudongmar Lake, amongst the many other things I did and experienced.

Suggested read: Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim

When I was in Pelling, a small town near the foothills of Mount Khangchendzonga, I befriended a local who happened to have lived in my city for many years, for his higher education. He was the son of the owner of the hotel I was staying in. Conversation struck up, ranging from food to places to books to travel and more. He offered to drive me around to some of the serene and a few locals-only spots around the town. Khecheopalri Lake was one of the spots he suggested.

Khecheopalri Lake – maintain silence at the holy lake

Khecheopalri Lake is located in West Sikkim near a village with the same name. The tranquil lake is surrounded by lush greens, that look even prettier in the monsoon, which is when I had visited. It is shaped like a foot, reinforcing the local and religious belief that it represents the footprint blessing of the Goddess Tara. Read the details in the below picture.

This view had costed me (read it as unwillingly donating) my blood to the several leeches that I wasn’t prepared to meet 😐 What more? I was wearing floaters that day as it was a sunny, no-trek day. I was simply going to drive around with a local friend and do all the regular, touristy sightseeing stuff.

Aerial view of the sacred Khecheopalri Lake.

When we reached this quiet lake – we are actually supposed to maintain silence so as to respect the sacred lake which has a greater religious/spiritual significance. My companion told me about a viewpoint that can be reached with a short and easy hike up the sloping mound. I agreed, oblivious to the fact that the path was through a bushy grassy, loaded-with-trees-and-shrubs stretch that was infested with leeches! I had the worst experience that day, that I’m in no mood to describe today and to spare you the horrible details

So, anyway, in spite of freaking out and considering turning back midway from the uphill hike to this viewpoint, I did manage to brave (with a lot of cursing, crying, and being jumpy throughout) my way through the jungle infested with those slimy bloodsuckers and up to the viewpoint. It was only after the several minutes I took to calm down and breathe normally, was I truly able to appreciate the beauty that surrounded, this spot and this view.

2 thoughts on “Sacred Khecheopalri Lake in West Sikkim

  1. Aah Leeches! My first introduction to them was on the famous Kumara Parvata trek of Karnataka in the thick of monsoons. With heavy rainfall and not so thick forest, I was spared from the worst case scenarios. However, that led me to lowering my guard and bearing the brunt of it in my next trek- Thadiyandimol!
    Much like you, I am happier not recounting the experience but I can relate to what you went through that impromptu hike to the viewpoint.
    But as they say, if you have something pleasant to take away from an experience, it’s not entirely futile and this splendid lake and the untouched beauty of Sikkim more than makes up for that bloody encounter! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I think you can totally relate then ☺ I’ve cancelled Kumar Parvat and Kudremukh for this very reason so many times in the past. Maybe I’ll be brave enough one day to overcome this phobia and make it there in monsoon 🤞🏽😊

      Liked by 1 person

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