Rih Lake is the largest lake in Mizoram, but is situated in Burma,” goes the common saying. This is an awkward claim to make, but it is a fact due to arbitrary political boundaries. The purview of this paper, though, is to depict how and why the legendary lake is believed to have been the inevitable passage that spirits of the dead crossed on their way to their future abode known as Mitthi Khua. Some even believed it was the final abode of the spirits.
The many myths about this mysterious lake have been a source of inspiration for several Mizo writers and composers, and have immensely enriched their literary output. According to legend, there was a girl named Rihi who had a cruel stepmother. One day, the father took Rihi’s younger sister deep into forest and killed her. Rihi eventually found her dead sister and was inconsolable. A good spirit known as Lasi to the Mizos found Rihi weeping and revealed to her the healing powers of a particular magical tree with whose leaf Rihi revived her sister back to life. In order to quench the thirst of her younger sister, Rihi turned herself into a small pool of water with the help of a leaf of the same magical tree.
Later, Rihi was compelled to change herself into a white mithun, and wandered around in search of a permanent place where she could be safe. While she was roaming around looking for a safe haven, her urine formed rih note or small lakes wherever she went. It is believed that such lakes can still be found in the Vawmlu Range, Zur forest near the village Natchhawng; a place above Bochung village; the area of Khawthlir village, all of which are in Myanmar. She eventually surveyed Sanzawl village for her permanent settlement not far from which flowed the river Run. But the demon spirit of the river threatened to suck her dry if she settled there permanently. It is believed that Rihi then surveyed the valley of Champhai but found that unsuitable too. She finally settled in the present location in the form that she cherished the most – that of a lake. The name Rih retains the name of Rihi.
Rih lake is situated at a distance of about two miles from Tiau which is the boundary river between Mizoram (India) and Myanmar, and is within the village area of Rihkhawdar in Myanmar. The village itself is an establishment of adventure that lures the visitor to explore the mysterious and supposedly demon-haunted lake. It is 14 miles from Champhai in Mizoram and 63 miles from Falam, a town of Myanmar.
Area And Depth:
Although there has been no exact measurement taken so far, it is approximately one mile long and half a mile wide with a circumference of about three miles. The south-west floor is supposedly deeper than that of the north-west. The peculiar characteristic of the lake is that it becomes abruptly deep immediately after the water’s edge.