Rewalsar

Ontul RinpocheRewalsar is a small ancient village situated about 25 km from Mandi, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Northern India. It sits 4200' above sea level between the Himalayan mountain ranges of Sikandera and Barkot. In the heart of the village is a one and half kilometre lake and there are seven other lakes in the area, the largest being Kuntabhiyo, Kalasar and Peelasar. However, Rewalsar lake is the most popular and religiously relevant of all the lakes, and has been mentioned in several folk tales, legends and folk lores throughout the years. About 300 years ago the banks of the lake had no human settlement and was covered by dense vegetation. There were however two Hindu temples. The mountains surrounding the village are covered in pine and deodar forests, which only adds to the natural beauty of the area.


The lake brings together three religions, namely Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, in religious integration and unity. This is what makes Rewalsar an ideal place for religious seekers, pilgrims and practitioners alike. Every year thousands of pilgrims visit Rewalsar to pay their respects to the lake and its many temples and monasteries.


Ontul RinpocheThe followers of Hinduism consider the lake to be sacred because it has been a place of meditation of Maharishi Lomash. He was famous amongst the people as a great saint and meditator. He was attracted to the area by its breathtaking panoramic beauty and he made it a land of meditation. He became a great Yogi and ascetic, spending his life discovering real truth. There are several temples around the lake with the temple of Mahadevji (known as Shiva) being the oldest.


Rewalsar is a sacred place for Sikhs because Guru Gobind Singh visited the area in the 8th century. At that time he had a meeting with twenty two Kings of the area and convinced them to unite against the tyranny of the Mughal Emperor, Aurangjeb. On the site of the meeting there is now a beautiful Gurudwara (Sikh Temple).


Buddhists believe Rewalsar to be the place of Guru Rinpoche. When he arrived in the area to do meditation he met the Princess from Mandi. She wanted to give her life over to the study and practice of Dharma. The King was not happy and wanted her to marry. He tried to burn Guru Rinpoche and the fire burnt for a week. When the King visited the fire he found that a lake had appeared and floating on a lotus was Guru Rinpoche. For a more detailed explanation please see Tso Pema (Lotus Lake) page.


Ontul RinpocheThere are now three monasteries around the lake and hundreds of Buddhists visit the lake every year for pilgrimage. On the hillside overlooking the lake is the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated and taught the Dharma to the Princess.


Whether you are religious or not Rewalsar and its many temples and monasteries are well worth a visit. The Drikung Kagyu Monastery has a guest house and retreat centre. If you require help in making a booking, or any further information regarding your visit to Rewalsar, please contact the monastery office on drikung_petsek@yahoo.com.

 


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