Mystical lake in Northern Chin State
Only the most patient travellers reach the remote, but stunningly beautiful Chin State. In its northern corner, there is a busy little town at the India-Myanmar border, Rihkhawdar, famous by its heart-shaped lake, Rih Dil. This part of the world is home to Mizo people who inhabit both Chin State in Myanmar and Mizoram in India along the joint border. If you’re searching for a true off the beaten path destination, you have just found one.
Journey like no other
Magnificent breath-taking views, small talks with locals and Westlife songs are distracting me from the discomforting bus journey to Rihkhawdar. I can see the winding dusty road unfolding in front of us as the driver switches between the accelerator and the break up and down the hills. Our pace is slow, but none of us are in a hurry. Cruising through the deep valleys and peaky Chin mountains, the unique journey will leave me in awe for the resilience of local people. I see sun reflecting from tin roofs of hillside villages and wonder what life is like for them.
The lake legend
Mizo people hold the lake dear for its important spiritual significance. Traditionally following animist religion, they believe that spirits pass through the lake to end their journey and reach the eternal home after death. Many Mizo people converted to Christianity, continue to believe that the lake is the gateway to paradise. As an important pilgrimage site for Mizo people, these days Rih lake is also a popular spot among locals to spend a relaxing day. There is a restaurant serving Burmese food and bungalows to stay overnight after the daily visitors leave. You can take a chance with a rusty boat to go for a ride, but there is usually no-one that brave. The area surrounding the lake is still largely unexplored, but you can enjoy a walk into the nearby village and return smiles of curious locals.
Life on the border
Previous travel bans in this region and the remoteness ensured that not a great number of visitors put Rih lake on their itinerary. Besides the local visitors from across the border and market vendors, Rihkhawdar is a place where time goes backwards an hour as they follow the Indian time zone. There is Indian mobile network coverage and electricity comes from across the border. An ordinary border town, busy during the day with the incoming traffic turns quiet early in the evening as there is not much to do.
The best season to visit is December to April, but it will also be the coldest, so be ready! Take an air-conditioned bus from Yangon to Kalay (20 hours) and change at the bus station for a direct bus to Rihkawdar (9 hours) or take a mini-bus to Tedim (4 hours), where you can make an overnight stop. There are regular buses from Tedim further to Rihkawdar - the Myanmar-India border town, which is near Rih lake. Let Thahara know and we’ll make sure you’ll have unforgettable memories visiting these remote places.