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A Himalayan Lake and its feathered confidant that manages its vicinity

No matter at what time of the day Serolsar lake is visited, it remains clean. A unique bird named ‘Aabhi’ takes care of the lake and it has taken the complete responsibility of cleanliness of the lake, whereas it is not often seen by the commoners. The residents of the village believe that the bird ‘Aabhi’ is one of a kind bird who is only seen in this region. Serolsar lake is one of the most popular lakes in Himachal Pradesh that has multiple interesting certitudes associated with it.

SNS | Shimla | Updated :

Since, we know that Himachal Pradesh is popularly known as Devbhoomi Himachal (Land of Gods), because it is home to various temples and monasteries. On the other hand, it is also known as Veerbhoomi Himachal, as it is land of braves. The northern most state of India, Himachal Pradesh has numerous mythological and popular facts associated with it, which attracts everyone’s attention and makes everyone an admirer of Himalayas.

One such story is associated with a lake that is located at a distance of 5 kms from Jalori pass (a high mountain pass at an elevation of 10,282 feet above sea level in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh). The name of the lake is Serolsar lake (also known as Saryolsar lake). Lake’s vicinity is covered up with fallen tree leaves. But the lake itself always remains clean. With the cleanliness of this lake and birds, one such belief is associated that, as soon as any leaf or twig falls into the lake, a little bird named ‘Aabhi’ cleans the lake. With complete attention she keeps on looking for something or the other to fall into the lake, so that she can clean the lake as soon as it gets dirty. No matter at what time of the day the lake is visited, it is clean. This unique bird who has taken the complete responsibility of cleanliness of the lake is not often seen by commoners. The residents of the village believe that the bird ‘Aabhi’ is one of a kind bird who is only seen in this region.

The residents of the village claim that, around this lake there used to live several birds. These birds used to create their nests on the trees around the lake, eventually the lake used to get clumsy at times, with the feathers of birds, twigs and leaves from the trees falling into it.

The lake was worshipped by snakes as well and some snakes didn’t admire the way in which lake was getting dirty, therefore they started destroying the birds families. Population of birds eventually started to diminish. Though, the birds did not want to leave their home area around Serolsar Lake, therefore they pleaded the goddess of the lake; Budhi Naagin to save them from the snakes. Budhi Naagin heard their plea and came to a conclusion that no bird would ever be attacked by the snakes, if the birds would ensure the cleanliness of the lake. This brief given by the goddess is still respected by the birds living in this region. It is evidential that as soon as a leaf or a twig falls in the lake the birds immediately collect it from the lake to ensure the cleanliness of the lake.

Another story associated with this lake is, at some time in the past, a Brahmin from a native village visited Serolsar lake. The Brahmin accidently drowned himself while wandering around the lake. Serolsar Lake is the house of Budhi Naagin – the mother of all Nag (Snake) deities and it is believed that she lives in her golden palace at the bottom of the lake. The story of Budhi naagin and the drowning Brahmin is such that, the Budhi naagin saved him from drowning. Budhi naagin allowed the Brahmin to stay in her golden palace for a span of 3 years, after 3 years the Brahmin wanted to go back home.     The Budhi naagin strictly advised the Brahmin to not disclose about his whereabouts with anyone in the family or acquaintances; he was also advised not to disclose about Budhi naagin’s personal space.

The whole family of Brahmin was shocked and exhilarated to see him alive after so long, as they had presumed him dead.  Everyone was curious to know, where would have he been for these many years, but the Brahmin continued to ignore them. Whereas, one day he cautiously disclosed his whereabouts to everyone and it is said that he died as soon as he did so. The Brahmin’s family was deeply sad about his demise and they curiously wanted to know the facts and figures behind the story recited by Brahmin about the lake and golden palace. But it is believed that while the Brahmin’s family was heading towards the Saryolsar Lake to find out the truth, they met an accident and died on the way.

Till today the actual depth of the lake is not known to anyone. Visitors are allowed to offer prayers to the Budhi Naagin at the temple located next to the lake. No visitors are allowed to enter into the lake.


(With inputs from – multiple sources on internet and HP GK Books)