This trip was different from any other journey I had ever taken because of several reasons. First, it was unplanned. I received a phone call from my grandpa telling me that we were going to Kheng Buli the next day. I couldn't contain my curiosity and excitement as we were travelling to the mythical lake that I once heard of from the BBS channel. Second, my mother and younger sister were accompanying me. Third, I had never been to the hot valleys of the south before.
It was thrilling to visit Zhemgang for the first time. Grandpa has reserved a car for the trip. We carried packed lunch and hot streaming tea in a flask. We drank our hot brewed tea after crossing Tongtophey in Langthel, and I could tell everyone was astonished and filled with wonder with the landscape outside. By the time we had our lunch, we reached the junction of Buli valley. To my pleasant surprise, some monks came to receive my grandpa and invited us to attend a grand picnic being held by the monks and staff. While my mother decided to stay back, my grandpa, sis and I went ahead to the picnic venue.
After a hearty meal, we hurriedly headed towards the mythical lake.
The drive took almost 15 minutes from Gewog Center of Nangkor. We were escorted by a simple monk to the lake. There are many mythical stories surrounding this lake. One of them is, long time ago the lake was situated in Zhonger Dzong (known as Mongar in present day). It was mistreated by the people of Zhongar because a mermaid that lived there had been protecting the cruel king. In order to assassinate the king, they had to get rid of the lake. The people were finally successful in chasing away the lake. It is believed that Buli tsho ran away from Zhongar to Buli in the appearance of Boed garp (attendant to a high official). The mermaid (as Boed garp) of the lake then came to Am Choni Zangmo’s ancestral house to seek shelter. The inhabitants were told not to open the door, but out of curiosity, one woman peeped through the door of the shrine. To her astonishment she saw a giant snake in her alter room. Had she not peeped through the door, she might have been gifted with lots of priceless things, but as a result of her curiosity, she was given only jewels and chuner. This is all based on oral narration. There might be other evidence and narrations as well.
The sun was setting as we left the lake. We reached Buli Dratshang and were met by Buli Khenpo, my grandpa’s friend. After sitting with him for some time, we went to visit a beautiful temple.
It was already dark by the time we reached Tali Zangdopelri. Tali lama came to welcome us at the gate and gave us a hearty warm welcome. We were to spend the night at Tali guest house. The lama had prepared hot brewed coffee for us and prepared a delicious dinner too. There are many little monks studying in the cold weather under the street light. I was overwhelmed by their hard work. I can’t stop admiring their perseverance. Soon, every one of us fell asleep after dinner.
With Tali lama
When I woke up the next morning, our breakfast was ready and our lunch already packed by Tali lama. Later on, he took us inside the Zangdopelri and explained everything. He also showed us the surroundings of the Zangdopelri. We took some beautiful pictures together and made our departure. However, we didn't leave Zhemgang Dzong without making some offerings. By noon, we reached Shanglang Dratshang. It took us 2 hours to reach there through the rough farm road. Grandpa promised himself to never visit Shanglang again because the road was so dirty but it was a thrilling journey nonetheless towards the mythical lake. Night fell as we finally reached home sweet home. I slept content with all the beauty I saw and the stories I heard.