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 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.
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.