Khecheopalri Lake, Sikkim, India

Located at 1950m, this placid natural reservoir – pronounced ‘ketchup-perry’ – is highly revered by both Sikkimese Buddhists and Lepcha animists who believe its shape to be akin to the footprint of the goddess Tara. Legend also has it that birds assiduously remove any leaves from its surface, keeping it clean through the year.

During Khecheopalri Mela (March/April), butter lamps are floated out across the lake. Prayer wheels line the lake’s jetty, backed by fluttering prayer flags and Tibetan inscriptions, but the setting, ringed with forested hills, is serene rather than dramatic.

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