Saturday, August 24, 2013

A visit to Rewalsar Lake, Naina-Devi Temple and Padmasambhava Cave

This was 24th August 2013, and a holiday, Prince had agreed to pick Shankar, Rahul, Sanjay and me from our respective residences at Sunder Nagar. Our plan was to visit Naina Devi Temple and Rewalsar Lake, both are situated in District Mandi of Himachal Pradesh. These are two holy places for Hindus, Sikh and Buddhist alike.
Our plan was to first visit Naina Devi Temple at Sarkidhar and then the famous lake at Rewalsar.
  • Brief about the planned visits
Prince called me at around 7:00 AM and told me to get ready. I got ready within half an hour, but he showed up at around 9:30 AM. I think he judged me to be lazy, but I was not.

 While we waited for Rahul, I ordered paranthas for me and everyone else at a local Dhaba at Rest house-Chowk, Sunder Nagar.
Only me, Rahul and Shankar ate those paranthas, Sanjay who joined us at Bhor said that he was not feeling hungry, and Prince was driving his Nano, so he refused to eat while driving.

Rewalsar is famous for its religious and beautiful lake which is linked with the Buddhist mythological tales from 8th Century. This is said that Padmasambhava, also known as the second Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, was born at the nearby place.  

At the top of the adjoining hill called Sar ki Dhar is a famous Hindu Goddess Naina Devi Temple, which has its own scenic beauty and serenity.

At the base of the temple is a natural cave which is occupied by the Buddhist monks to pray with the statue of Padmasambhava in there. This is believed that Padmasambhava used to meditate in this giant cave.

Our three destinations of the day to visit at were:

  1. Naina Devi Temple
  2. Cave at Sarkidhar
  3. Riwalsar lake

Plan was to visit the holy temple of the Naina Devi first and then cave and finally Riwalsar lake.

  • Naina Devi Temple: 

Naina Devi temple is devoted to the Goddess Durga or Sati or Shakti. There are three prayer sessions in the temple,  in morning(4:00 AM to 5:30 AM), after noon ( 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM) and third in evening( 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM).

Front view of the Naina Devi Temple situated at district Mandi(H.P.)

 From the temple verandah and nearby place, one can get a panoramic beautiful view of the surrounding places, such as Sunder Nagar, Kol Dam, Bilaspur and places nearby Sarkaghat. 

While driving up to the temple hill-top, one can look for the 7 lakes, situated one after another on the left side of the rode. As the mythological tale goes, Arjuna found no water to offer to his mother, while they were on their anonymity period.

What he did was, hit the ground with an arrow and so the water springs erupted out. These springs are still active and are the source of the freshwater of these lakes.

From Left : Sanjay, Rahul, Prince and Shankar at the Naina Devi Temple, situated in District Mandi(H.P.)

  • Cave:

At the base of the mountain carrying the Naina Devi Temple, there is a famous natural cave which is devoted to the Buddhist Guru Padmasambhava, who is believed to be born here, sometime in the classical Indian period. There is a Buddhist monk settlement, surrounding the cave area. Monks live in the caves, which are numbered as cave no. 1, 2 etc.

A statue of Guru Padmasambhava inside the cave at Sar Ki Dhar, Rewalsar, Mandi(H.P.)
Being a devotee to the Hindu goddess "Kali"/Shakti, this is being said that Padmasambhava was a Tantrik, and he was the one who spread the Buddhism in Tibet. It is the reason that he is known as the second Buddha among Tibetan Buddhists.

Lake view in front of  Cave of Padmasambhava at Sar ki Dhar, Naina Devi, Rewalsar, Mandi(H.P.) with Sanjay Kumar

The stone cave is further reinforced with the artificial concrete and stone building at its front. Buddhist monks are generally found sit outside the cave to welcome you at its entrance, but don't expect from them the answers of your queries, because according to them, they don't speak any language other than their own, not Hindi or English either.
A photo of their Holy Dalai Lama inside the cave at Sar ki Dhar, Naina Devi, Rewalsar, Mandi(H.P.)

Inside the cave there was a photo of Dalai Lama adjacent to the statue of the Padmasambhava.

  • Rewalsar Lake:

On Prince's blue beauty (Nano), we rolled down the hill to visit our next destination that was Riwalsar lake, filled with fishes, and which are prohibited to be fished around.
A board showing the history of Rewalsar Lake of Mandi (H.P)
Adjacent to the lake is a recently built 37.5 m high statue of the Buddhist Guru Padmasambhava. This statue has become a kind of pride of the Tibetan Buddhists, living at the place and outside the place, and has increased the curiosity of the  general public such as me towards the history of the lake and Padmasambhava himself.

Statue of Padmasambhava situated at Rewalsar of District Mandi(H.P.)

People come to visit the statue, they love to click the statue and themselves with the statue to keep it as their memory of visit to this holy place.

Monasteries also contain the photos and statues of Guru Padmasambhava.

Rewalsar Lake of Mandi(H.P.) 
Rewalsar also has Hindu temples and Sikh Gurudwara. It makes it a place, representing and symbolizing the harmony and peace among the three large world religions. The local market is mostly occupied by the local peoples.

Prince feeding the holy fishes with a locally available dish at Rewalsar Lake of District Mandi(H.P.)

 There is a small zoo adjacent to the lake which we didn't visit this day,
A beautiful top of a Gate entrance to Buddhist monastery at Rewalsar, Mandi(H.P.)
Along with the local people, there is a good amount of Tibetan monk population to observe. They can mostly be found in the more than 3 to 4 monasteries at this small place.

Lord Shiva Temple adjacent to Rewalsar lake of district Mandi(H.P.)

I will update the photos and article in future if I feel to do so, you may also suggest any changes/update to this article.

Thanks for your kind visit!