Rih Lake is located in Chin State (Burma), just about 3 kilometers from the Indian border and is associated with Mizo folklore, where the departed souls are believed to have made their passage before they go to their eternal abodes. It is one of the most magnificent and beautiful lakes in Myanmar. The lake is about one mile in length and half a mile (four furlongs) in width. It is about 3 miles in diameter and the depth is about 60 feet.
Chin people in the past believed that the ‘other world’ was divided into two, and that all spirits went to a place called ‘Mitthi khua’ (village of the deaths), then some moved on to ‘Pialral’ (heaven); but to reach their eternal abodes, they had to pass through the Rih lake.
According to the legend, after crossing the Rih lake, the spirits reach a hill called ‘Hringlang tlang’, where they look back at their village and weep for days longing for the world they have left behind. In this mythical hill, there is spring water called ‘Lungloh ti’, which the spirits drink to quench their thirst and this make them forget all about their past life. The hill is also said to be full of flowers called ‘Hawilo par’, which they pluck and wear in their ears and hair and this make them forget their desire to return to their loved ones and they proceed to ‘Pawla kawt’ and then on to the dead men’s village called ‘Mitthi Khua’.
The dead men’s village ‘Mitthi khua’ is where the common people settle, living just like they did in their past lives. But beyond that village exists a place called ‘Pialral’ or heaven, where only the men and their families who earn the title called ‘Thangchuah’ through their piousness and having sacrificed animals and given the community feast could enter the heaven, much to the envy of the people who have to settle in ‘Mitthi khua’ where there is only hardship.
The romantic heart-shaped lake or Rih lake in Chin state is also known as “The Mythical Lake” to Mizo People who live in Mozoram State in India and they call it “Rih Dil” in their own language.
Why is it so significant? In the pre-Christian era, the Chins (tribe dwellers in the Western part of Burma, particularly in Chin State) and all the cognate groups believed this place to be the passage of souls to their eternal abode. And during the period of British colonization, soldiers were ordered to dig the ditch to dry the entire lake, but on half way of their attempt, they, all the diggers were killed by some kind of unknown plague. It is believed that the Lake is where the spirits dwelled. And the spirits did not like the soldiers’ attempt to dry up the lake. So they were caused to die. If you happen to go visit Rih lake you may also have a look at the attempted ditch landmark.