Saturday 2 September 2023

Places to Visit in Sikkim - Khecheopalri Lake

Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim

Khecheopalri Lake, also known as Khechuperi Lake is located in West Sikkim at a distance of about 32 km from Pelling. In Pelling I was staying at Rufina Palm Bliss Hotel and from there it takes about one and a half hours of drive to reach the lake from Pelling town amidst forests and multiple waterfalls.

View of Khecheopalri Lake at the ground level

The lake, situated at 5938 feet altitude, is surrounded by dense forests and forms like a bowl to accumulate the water of the surrounding Ramam Mountains. 

A walk on the periphery of the Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim

From the last vehicle point, the walk towards the lake is serene and easy next to the wetland area and one can hear the chirping of a lot of birds. The Buddhist (and Hindus) revere the site and one can see many Buddhist prayer flags next to the lake. Since the local consider the lake as sacred so bathing in the lake is not permitted.

Buddhist Prayer Flags in the wetland of Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim

At the path at the lake level, you cannot see the full form of the lake. To see the complete lake and the nearby forests one should make an effort and go up a steep climb of about 15 minutes and then at the top all of a sudden the full view of the lake and the surrounding areas is beautiful and mesmerizing. 

A cave used by Buddhist monks for solitary meditation 

While going on this climb just a few meters from the top is a small cave which is used by the Buddhist monks for prayers in isolation (quite common among the Buddhist monks to stay alone in a cave or room away from others meditating where there is no contact with the outside world.  (For sustenance, their food is kept outside by other monks, who then leave without meeting the monk).

Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim

The area has dense forest around the lake. I had earlier visited West Sikkim nearly 34 years back (that time I had done the Kanchenjunga Base winter snow trek in this region) but after such a long gap also I did not see much deforestation. Maybe this is due to the very environment friendly campaign of the Sikkim government of planting 100 saplings for each birth.  

A complete view of the Khecheopalri Lake and its surrounding Ramam mountains

If you want to reach directly to Pelling then the nearest Airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal at a distance of about 145 kms. Pakyong airport in Sikkim is closer but has lesser flight options.