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To rejuvenate drying Naini Lake, Tibetan monks appease ‘angry’ Snake God

Tibetan Buddhist monks on Monday prayed to “angry” Snake God, who according to their belief lives close to water bodies, to rejuvenate iconic Naini Lake in Nainital district

dehradun Updated: Jun 19, 2017 19:54 IST
Kamal Jagati
Kamal Jagati
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,Naini Lake,Buddhist monks
Tibetan Buddhist monks worship Snake God near Naini Lake on Monday.(HT Photo)

Tibetan Buddhist monks on Monday prayed to “angry” Snake God, who according to their belief lives close to water bodies, to rejuvenate iconic Naini Lake in Nainital district. The lake is witnessing gradual depletion of water for the past two years.

A large number of Tibetan refugees, who follow Buddhism, live in the district. The monks said they prayed to Snake God to forgive humans for bringing the lake to such a bad condition.

“We are praying to Snake God to forgive all of us and bring the lake to its old glory. We have brought four monks who prayed near the lake side so the angry god forgives,” Tenzing Longthong, a Tibetan, told HT.

The monks made the idol of Snake God from flour, milk, curd, clarified butter, sugar, jaggery and honey. The idol, after the prayers, was immersed in the lake.

On June 14, the community prayed atop hill peaks. They will hold next prayer on July 8 to for the long life of the lake.

The falling water-level of the lake has left locals baffled for the past last couple of months.

A barefoot walk by thousands of local residents was held on June 3 from Gandhi statue to Pant statue on the Mall Road to highlight the dying condition of the lake. Meetings at different levels are being carried out regarding the water level of the Naini Lake.

Concerned over depletion of Naini Lake’s water-level, experts have asked the state government to declare Nainital as an eco-sensitive zone and bar any construction work near the water body.

The 4.7 square km freshwater lake has never been like this. The stretched mounds of debris and the smell of dead fish don’t give a pleasant sight.

The erratic rainfall pattern coupled with the encroachment of natural recharge sources of the lake and growing demand of water are blamed for the present state of the lake.

A natural catchment of the lake called Sukhatal has been encroached upon over the last few years.

Nearly 15 million litres water lifted every day from the lake to fulfil the need of locals and tourists. Being a resort town, Nainital heavily depends on tourist influx.

“If so much water is lifted and with less or no water to recharge the lake, we lose almost 3-4 centimetres of water level every day” said environmentalist Ajay Rawat, who filed a litigation in the high court in 2015 demanding Sukhatal to be made encroachment free.

Shirish Kumar, secretary of Nainital Lake Development Authority responsible for keeping the tab on illegal construction, accepted that they were slow owing to administrative issues.

Besides Sukhatal, some 60-odd natural water sources recharge the lake round the year. And with growing constructions, no less than half of them have dried up, Rawat said.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has transfered the maintenance of lake from the public works department to the irrigation department.

Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, during a visit to Nainital on June 9, granted ₹3 crore for conservation of the dying lake. (With inputs from Anupam Trivedi)

First Published: Jun 19, 2017 19:54 IST