Rih Dil

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Rih Dil
Rih dil.jpg
LocationChin State, Myanmar
Coordinates23°20′24″N 93°23′06″E / 23.340°N 93.385°E / 23.340; 93.385Coordinates: 23°20′24″N 93°23′06″E / 23.340°N 93.385°E / 23.340; 93.385
Basin countriesMyanmar
Max. length1 mi (1.6 km)
Max. width0.5 mi (0.80 km)

Rih Dil (lit. Rih lake) a natural lake located in northwestern Chin State in (Burma). It lies at about 3 kilometers from Zokhawthar village at an Indo-Burma border. The lake is about one mile in length and half a mile in width. It is about 3 miles in its circumference and the depth is about 60 feet. It has a heart-shaped outline.[1]

The name is said derived from a Mizo folktale of Rih-i. Rih-i had a younger sister who was murdered by her father upon the order of their stepmother. Rih-i's sister was resurrected with the help of a spirit. With the same magical spell Rih-i turned herself into a water body that became the lake.[2]

However, in another local version,[3] the lake was originally called “Sialkidul” in reference to its shape like the head of mithun (little similar to gayal) when viewed from far mountaintop. After two generations of human settlement in the region, the tradition says that many black-face-peaple (maivom in native language) invaded the land near the lake for farming and called the lake “Sri,” from which the name “Rih” or “Li” came in use later. According to traditions,[4] these Maivom people settled there for two consecutive harvest-times (meaning two years). Therefore, the then Guite chief Mangsum I of Ciimnuai ordered them to bring in annual taxes but they refused and started attack some military posts at Geeltui and Losau instead. Therefore, the chief organized a military operation against the Maivom (black face) and drove them westward across the Tio. In commemoration of this event, local war songs are still in use in the region until this present days. Some of them are:

Tuanglam tungah tangpa khau bang ciah’ng, khuhva na tong sia e, tuaklo dawn kawi aw e; khuhva tongsuah tang ka sinlai zen, lumsuang ka tuun kaal in, tungkhai mu’n tuah inla, awi kawi na’ng e. (Gendongh, c. AD 1300)
On my way back from the conquest, heard a dove hanged on the tree above, likely laughing at me; when angrily I picked up some stones to throw them to it, a hovering eagle suddenly snatched it away on my behalf.
Kuansuk ta’ng e, Tiopi dung zui in, Tiopi ah sehtak ah Ciinmang umtui bang ka khuai hi e; namtem tawi in sulzui ta’ng, Tio ii gaal ah pasal lian lu khai ing e. (Vunghsan, c. AD 1300)
Through the stream of Tio, walked down along the bank but sadly lost my brave brother’s life on the sand; holding my sword firmly to avange for his life crossed the other side of Tio, and now on my way back home with honor of my captives.

Rih Dil occupied an important status in the traditional religion of the Mizo people. According to the ancestors of the tribals, it was a corridor to their heaven called Pialral. All souls destined to Pialral must pass through the lake.[5] Due to its cultural importance it is often said 'the largest lake in Mizoram is Rih Dil, but is in Burma.'[6][7]


According to legend, there were two sisters who had a cruel stepmother, who persuaded her husband to rid of them. The father killed the younger sister in a forest. The older sister Rih-i found her decapitated sister and was inconsolable. A good spirit known as Lasi found her and revealed to her a magical tree having a single leaf with which Rih-i used to revive her sister back to life. To quench the thirst of her younger sister, Rih-i turned herself into a small pool of water using the same leaf. Later, Rih-i was compelled to change herself into a white mithun, and wandered around in search of a safe place. Her urine formed rih-note (smaller 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 wandered to Sanzawl village, followed the river Run. But the demon spirit of the river threatened to suck her dry. She migrated westward into Mizoram but found even the valley of Champhai unsuitable. A little further southeast she found the present location, and the lake became Rih Dil.[8][2]


Rih Dil is difficult to access due to its remote location. In Burma, travelers may use a bus service from Yangon to Monywa in Sagaing Division, but from there they get transferred to a 33-seat mini-bus, which is more compatible with the tricky roads of Chin State.[9] Visitors from India can enter from the Indo-Myanmar border gate through Champhai, from where it is 22 km.[10] They pay gate-pass fees of Rs. 10 for a person and go directly to the Rih Lake by public buses.[11]


  1. ^ "Rih". Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b Khawlhring, Lalhnam Rinzova (11 August 2011). "Pi Pute Lunglai Luahtu- Rihdil" [Ideology of the ancestors - Rihdil]. misual.com (in Mizo). Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  3. ^ Thang San Mung, “Sialkidul Li,” in Zolus Journal 17 (Yangon, Myanmar, 2013): 150-157.
  4. ^ For more on this account, please, see Ngul L. Zam, B.A. Mualthum Kampau Guite Hausate Tangthu (History of Guite Chiefs the Sovereign of Three Mountain Regions) (Amazon/CreateSpace, United States, 2018), 44-46, ISBN 978-1721693559.
  5. ^ Vanlallawma, C. (2009). "Mizos and the After-life". Indian Folklife. 34: 6–7.
  6. ^ "Rih Dil". Department of Tourism, State Government of Mizoram. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  7. ^ Shailendra (15 April 2010). "Rih Dil -Thlafam leng kaina…" [Rih Dil - where spirits roam...]. misual.com (in Mizo). Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Historical". mizoturism.nic.in. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  9. ^ Bawi, Nuam (2011). "Transportation". Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Plcases of interest". Chaphai District. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Visitors from India". 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2012.