Rewalsar (Tibetan: Tsopema, sometimes Tshopema. Meaning: Tso - lake, Pema - lotus) is a small town on the banks of Lake Rewalsar in Himachal Pradesh.
The lake at Rewasar is believed to be place where Guru Rinpoche was placed on a burning funeral pyre by the king of Zahor, but instead of being consumed by the flames he transformed the fire to into a lake. Due to this incident, Rewalsar became an important sacred site for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, and there are many Buddhist monasteries and retreat centers around the lake.
From Mandi, take the bus at the bus stand, with stops all the way up to Rewalsar. It should reach after a bit more than an hour. 35Rs.
As most of the attractions are located close the lake, walking is the best, and in many places, the only way to get around. Auto rickshaws and taxis are available from the bus station and to outlying districts.
- Guru Rinpoche Cave (Padmasabhava Cave) (a forty minute hike from the town. En route will pass a small nunnery and meditation caves.The path is steep in parts, but well paved.). A cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated, contains a number of shrines and a large statue on the guru.
- Rewalsar Zoo - at the other extremity of the lake, there is a small zoo where local animals can be seen. It is located under the trees and the walk is quite enjoyable.
- The sacred lake - according to Buddhist legend, this lake was created out of a burning pyre by the accomplished master Padma Sambhava (Guru Rinpoche). As such, it is one of the main pilgrimage sites for Buddhists in Himachal Pradesh. Padma Sambhava, was an Indian Tantric sage who brought Buddhism from India to Tibet in the 8th Century CE.
- Tsopema Orgyen Heruka Nyingmapa Monastery (Tsopema Nyingmapa Monastery) (on the banks of the lake). a retreat center founded by Dudjom Rinpoche. It is the oldest monastery at the lake.
- The Tsopema festival - takes place every 12 years. Last occurrence was in 2004. It falls on the auspicious 10th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan lunar calendar and it is celebrated as the birthday of Guru Padma Sambhava ("The Lotus Born" Guru) who was supposedly born in the monkey year.
- Trek to Devi temple. A two-hour walk, passing many Buddhist caves and lakes en route.
- Emaho Cafe, Drikung monastery, ☏ . Coffee, cakes, simple meals. Terrace seating with views over the lake
- 1 Drikung Kagyu Buddhist Monastery's Guesthouse, at the main entrance of the lake (next to the bus stop and taxi stand). They host pilgrims and non pilgrims. It might get busy during Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist holidays. They have two types of rooms. The simple ones are on the ground floor, in front of the café (WiFi accessible), next to the street and with shared bathrooms. The others seems to be upstairs, bathroom en suite and more calm. There is also a very nice café managed by the monks. ₹200 per room (food extra).
- Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation Tourist Inn, Kalkhar - Rewalsar Road, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Run by the Himachal Pradesh tourist authority, the guesthouse is clean, simple, and inexpensive.
- Bir - a town with many Buddhist temples and institutes.
- Dharamsala - home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile.
- Shimla - the former British hill station and current capital of Himachal Pradesh.