hin State is one of the mountainous regions in Myanmar. It is 36,019 square kilometers and is bordered by Sagaing Region and Magway Region to the east, Rakhine State to the South, Bangladesh to the South-West, and the Indian States of Mizoram to the West and Manipur to the North. “In Chin state, you can find a heart-shaped lake between the mountains called Rih Lake. It looks Heart shaped when we look at it from the top of the mountain”. The lake is surrounded by willow trees and has an interesting history too.

Where Rih lake is situated

The Rih lake is situated at Rih Khaw Dar town, Falam district in northern Chin State, and is 2,800 feet above sea level. Rihkhawdar is a small town, a border town of India and Myanmar, and is 46 miles away from Falam township.

Mizo ethnics mostly live in Rih Khaw Dar. It takes only 15 minutes to reach Rih lake from the town. Mizo (Lushei, Pawi, Ralte, Hmar, and Paihte are the 5 major tribes in Mizo), Burmese, Indian, and other Chin Ethnic people mostly live in Rihkhawdar town. There is a bridge that passes the Tio river, the border of the two countries (Myanmar and India). Tourists can come to Myanmar across that bridge also known as Indo-Myanmar Border Gate. There are two main roads to get to Rihkhawdar. The first one is from Falam township and the second one is from Tedim township.

Rihkhawdar (photo credit)

Rih Lake and Mizo People

This pristine heart-shaped lake has a huge meaning for the Mizo who live on both sides of the border. The lake is a major pilgrimage site for the Mizo not only in Chin State but also in the Mizoram State of India; additionally, it is also a most-liked place to hang out for people who live nearby, they come to swim, drink or have fun at weekends. On weekends, the lake is considerably more tranquil and peaceful, making it an excellent place to unwind, get in touch with nature, and flee from the commotion of cities in Myanmar.

Dancing Chin People (Photo credit)

History of Rih lake

It is said that the name “Rih'' derives from a famous Mizo folktale. Rih Dil is a magical place that is said to have been formed by a young girl named Rih-i. She had a tragic story: her father killed her younger sister at her stepmother's request and she was left heartbroken. A kind fairy showed her how to use an incantation on a leaf of a magical tree to revive her sister. When the younger sister was revived and she was so thirsty, so she took the magic leaf again and transformed herself into a stream with the same spell. Rih-i did this out of love for her younger sister, and the fairy was so touched by her act of selflessness that she granted Rih-i's wish to have a place where they could be together forever.

Today, the place where Rih-i changed herself into the water came to be known as Rih Dil, a beautiful lake in the middle of the forest, the Rih Lake. The word “Dil'' means “Heart”. Even though the Mizo have largely changed into Christians, Rih Lake is part of their time-honored animist traditions – the entrance to the Mizo version of paradise, known as Piairal, “beyond the world”, through which all the dead must pass to reach their everlasting home. At present, the notion of Piairal has been mingled with the Christian thought of heaven, permitting Rih Lake’s mystical status to continue.

Some Beliefs about the Lake

Mizo people believe that there are seven steps within the lake and a dragon is guarding it, and there are lots of jewels in the lake. There is another folktale about the dragon and the jewels. A rich Indian man had heard about the jewels and breached the lake with his slaves. Meanwhile, a huge dragon appeared and made all of them die and suffered from the diseases. No one could get the jewels.

In December, the water in the lake turns red. They believe that the dragon takes a shower once a year and turns the water red at that time. Some tourists visit Rih Lake and take the water in a bottle to their homes. In December when the water changes red, the water in that bottle turns red too. That is one of the amazing facts about the lake.

Along the banks, willow trees hold a special place in the hearts and minds of the locals. A belief widely held by fishermen is that willows attract fish and bring good luck to their catches. Even those who don't believe in superstition enjoy the willows for their graceful, drooping branches and soothing sound as they rustle in the breeze. In addition to attracting fish, willows also provide much-needed shade on hot summer days, their roots helping to prevent erosion along the lake's edge. Whether it's for luck or simply their beauty, willow trees are an important part of life at Rih Lake.

How to get Rihkhawdar town

From Yangon and Mandalay, you can go to Kalay by flight or express bus. Then you will need to take vans that go to Rih Khaw Dar town across Tedim township. From Hakha, the capital city of Chin State, you can go to Falam and then Rih Khaw Dar ( But you will need to hire a car ). From Mizoram state, tourists can cross the border bridge through Camphai town to reach rihkhawdar town.

Rhi Lake (Photo credit)

Things to do

You can stay at the Rih Shwe Pyi guesthouse in town and a guest house beside the lake. You can also ride a boat in the lake. Swimming is Not one of the suggestions of the local people. You can relax and enjoy delicious food at Rih Kan Tar restaurant which is just beside the lake. You can visit the India village ( Zokhawthar ) across the bridge. You can visit the viewpoint of Rih Khaw Dar where you can enjoy the view of the hill, river, and mountain very well. 

Rhi Lake (Photo credit)

Rih lake is one of the symbols of Chin State and can consider one of the most beautiful natural wonders of Myanmar. That is why it is one of the places you should not miss visiting in Chin State. It is the heart of not only the Mizo locals but also all of the Chin people. The lake story gives you a sad story but the view of the hill, river, and village will give you peacefulness and relaxation. 





December 8, 2022