Location: West Sikkim district (nearest town Pelling), Sikkim
Khecheopalri lake, also known as the ‘wish fullfilling lake’ is situated at an altitude of about 6000 feet. The Sikkimese calls it Tsho-Sho-Tsho. It is located on a bifurcation on the road between Gyalshing and Yuksam. The water in this lake is crystal clear. Not even a leaf can be seen floating on the water surface although there is a beautiful dense forest above the lake. It is said that if a leaf drops on the surface of the water it is picked by a bird.
The lake is considered to be sacred both by the Buddhists and the Hindus of Sikkim. From the vantage point of higher ground the contours of the lake look like a footprint – believers hold that it is Shiva’s footprint. The placid waters of the lake are visited by many pilgrims and tourists. The lake is surrounded by prayer flags. No water sport or other recreational activities are allowed.
The lake is surrounded by a dense forest cover of temperate vegetation and bamboo and is an important habitat for several bird species. Birds including Baer’s Pochard duck (Aythya baeri), wintering Merganser ducks (Mergus merganser), Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Common Teal (Anas crecca) and Tufted Pochard (Aythya fuligula) have been sighted in Lake Khecheopalri.
The lake is protected under the provisions of the places of worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and State Government notification no. 59/ Home/ 98 dated 26.10.1998. The Khecheopalri Holy Lake Welfare Committee (a local NGO) and the local community have also invested in plantations, improved conservation management of the popular Khecheopalri mela and instituted a grazing ban in the forests surrounding the lake.