Rih Dil – Myanmar (Burma) - Atlas Obscura

Rih Dil

This heart-shaped lake near the border of India and Myanmar is deeply rooted in Mizo folklore.  

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Mizoram, a state in Northeast India, shares a border with Myanmar and Bangladesh, and is renowned for its dense forest cover and the diverse tribal origins of its population. The Mizo people are an ethnic group indigenous to Mizoram and its surrounding areas, which includes parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. Rih Dil is a heart-shaped lake (word Dil means Heart) deeply rooted in Mizo history, culture, and folklores.

According to the Mizo customs, newlywed couples visit the lake to seek blessing and pray for a long marriage. Mizo ancestral tribes also consider the Rih Dil Lake as the gateway to Pialral, or “beyond the world.” It is believed that all souls destined to Pialral must pass through the lake.

In Mizo folklore, the formation of Rih Dil was tied to a young girl by the name of Rih-i. She had a cruel stepmother, who convinced Rih-i’s father to get rid of her and her younger sister. Their father killed the younger girl by cutting off her head. When Rih-i found her sister, she was heartbroken. The desolate girl was spotted by a fairy who inquired about her sadness. Upon hearing her story, the fairy asked Rih-i to go to the forest and find a branch with only one leaf. The fairy showed Rih-i how to use the leaf to revive her sister. When her sister was thirsty, Rih-i took used the magic leaf again to transform herself into a stream. Today, the place where Rih-i changed herself into the water came to be known as Rih Dil.  

Although Rih-Dil Lake has so much cultural and historical importance in Mizoram, the lake doesn’t actually lie in the state. Before the India-Myanmar Border was carved out, the lake was in India, but today it lies four kilometers (2.5 miles) over the border in Myanmar. But Indian citizens can easily visit the lake—the free movement policy allows citizens on the India-Myanmar border to visit the neighboring countries without any visa restrictions. This enables the Mizo community to visit Rih Dil no matter which country they live in.  

The trading post of Zokthawar is the nearest town to Rih Dil, and Aizwal, the capital of Mizoram, is located some 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the lake. Visiting Rih Dil Lake is a memorable experience that showcases the pristine beauty of the region. 

Know Before You Go

Visiting Rih Dil requires a lot of patience as the roads are in very bad shape. Visiting lake in the monsoon seasons further increases the trouble as the region receives some of the highest rainfall in the country. The best time to visit the lake is the post-monsoon season when the entire area gets covered under a green blanket of vegetation. Also, carry mosquito repellent while visiting during or post-monsoon season.