By NyaungU Phee
A sublime range of mountains and hill regions with the rhododendron in full bloom and the orchid species portrayed the beautiful landscape and the awe-inspiring view of Chin State. Chin State’s signature is a traditional rice wine with gayal meat as an appetizer. Chin State lies at 5,667 feet above sea level. Kennedy Peak is situated in Tiddim Town, and it was a warm place during World War II. That historical peak also attracts tourists. The broadcasting relay station is located at the 8,871-foot-high Kennedy Peak as well. Moreover, the view of the Laykyunseemee Pagoda atop the peak also gives the pilgrims peace of mind. The sunrise view of Kennedy Peak dominating the Tiddim roads at 7 am is an astonishing beauty.
Tiddim town is about 31 miles away from India’s border town, and it is challenging to drive the curved mountain roads. Along with the mountain ranges, the heart-shaped Reed Lake (Rih Lake), Chin State’s pride, stands proudly in Reedhorda Sub-Township.
Reedhorda sub-township of Falam Township belongs to over 3,000 people and 700 households. Ward No. 2 has a bridge connecting to India’s border and offices, township general hospital, Reed Lake is situated at the Ward No.1.
The India-Myanmar friendship bridge is constructed across the Tiau River (Tio River), which is the leading water resource for both border towns. When the river water dries up in summer, there’s a shortage of water. India’s border checkpoint can be seen on the other side, and it is open between 6 am and 6 pm. Myanmar side informed the passers-by 15 minutes before closing the post. As it shares a border with Mizoram State, Mizoram people are executing border trade. Kathe and Indian tribes also live in Reedhorda. It’s a hill region, so there’s a transportation barrier in Chin State during the rainy season. There is only one single road in the Reedhorda town. The picturesque view of this little town is like a movie scene in cowboy films. The surroundings are quiet at night except for the water flowing sound of the Tiau River.
The town has electricity access from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Reedhorda border town is situated between latitudes 23° 10’- 23° 23’ N and longitudes 93° 24’- 93° 32’ E. It lies 2,966 feet above sea level. Kalay-Tiddim-Reed route is 89 miles. There is a smooth trade flow in the high season (October-April).
Mizos Chin (aka Hwango) tribe has built town since 1450 AD. Reedhorda village was established by Zasumar between 1500 AD and 1600 AD in the east of Reed Lake. As villagers migrated to Mizoram State of India, Reedhorda village was lost in 1750 AD. The new village was reestablished in 1942, and then the villagers moved to the fertile land near Reed Lake. Reed (Rih) is meant the Lake. Hor means village, and da means triangular brass gong. Rihmyawkin village is also known as the triangular brass gong-shaped hill near Reed Lake. According to the notification released by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 22 July 2002, Reedhorda Sub-Township was built, which is home to 5,700 Chin ethnic people and over 100 people, including other ethnic minority communities and Bamar. They live in harmony and peace. About 97.57 per cent of the population is Christian, while 2.17 per cent is Buddhist and 0.26 per cent is believed in other religions.
The name Rih is said to be derived from the god of spirit RJH. According to mythology, Hwahtan, ahead of Swevee village, dreamt about the god of spirit called Puria. He said he came here as a white gayal in disguise dwelt in Thetawpan Lake, and all souls are said to be worshipped. They followed the dream and discovered the Lake on the seventh day. The white gayal is yearly offered to the spirit of god.
Moreover, Mizos believed in the spirit of god and tales that they would pass from the Lake after death, without attachment to human beings. This being so, Mizos’ poem stated people who go down to Reed Lake instead of the death. They composed blue songs and put the lyrics saying that “who allows you to go down to Reed lake without discussing with the mother or father”. During the excavation of the fields surrounding the Lake before 1950, ivory tusks and elephant skeletons were discovered. It was considered an elephants’ graveyard. A deep cleft called Kalarmyaung chasm exists there until now.
It is hard to find the heart-shaped Lake in the world. Reed Lake in Chin State is one of the rare heart-shaped lakes. Heavy rainfall does not destroy the heart-shaped appearance in the rainy season as the water flows through the underground valley to the nearest creeks. What is unique about the Lake is its heart-shaped structure. The Lake has crystal-clear water, turning into another colour in December. However, the Lake is threatened by a silt deposit every year. When the Lake was murky, the fish was found, and the visitors were interested in observing that, said a resident.
Surprisingly, the Lake has turned into a coffee colour nearly for a month. The fish sized boat appears in the extreme cold weather. The banana trees are dried and killed near the Lake then. When the Lake returns to clear, the large fish are not found. There has been no shortage of water in the Lake for generations. It is 60 feet deep. The Lake will enchant tourists if domestic tourism thrives. The local community will have job opportunities, and research activities will draw more attention from the tourists. Transportation will play a pivotal role in the tourism development of the border town. The tourists eye the city as it shares the border with India.
Moreover, the town has the risk of forest extinction. Accommodation and facilities such as playgrounds and parks are literally required to enhance tourism. This way, the local products can be promoted as well.
The locals in Tiddim and Reedhorda sub-township use CDMA, and GSM sim cards with Indian made handsets.
Transport and telecommunication infrastructure are crucial for the development of the border town. Reed Lake is 2.5 miles in circumference, and the weeping willow is naturally grown beside the Lake. Additionally, orchids also blossomed on the weeping willow. The white and red lotus is also found in the rainy season. Despite the heavy rainfall, the shape of the heart remains. The Lake turns reddish or coffee colour in December due to the freezing weather. Then, the body was found floating in a standing position. The heart-shaped Lake captivates the visitors and the locals.
There is a hill about 200 yards east of Reed Lake, and the promininent Sayadaw U Ottamasara leads to the build of Aungtawmu Pagoda. The glittering view atop the hill and the cold breeze will give the pilgrims peace of mind. The view of Reedhorda’s small town can be seen from the top of the hill. There is a broadcast station at the top of the hill. The locals said that the golden umbrella that tops the pagoda (the auspicious symbol) was hoisted on 17 March 1995, and the devotees came to take meditation on the hill.
Bodi Banyan trees and frangipani are found at the pagoda’s precinct. There is a Buddhist religious house and the standing Buddha statue facing Ward No.1 near the Aungtawmu Pagoda. The monastery near the statue will also provide monastic education to the ethnic children who are from remote places.
Vantohtan, an officer of the township, elaborated on the agriculture sector of the town. The fields (five acres) of Palethwe hybrid paddy on a trial basis were succeeded with the yield rate of 130 baskets per acre. The locals practise shifting agriculture which causes forest destruction every year.
Cultivation of bitter bean, peach, pear, tea leaf and common plum is also found in the town. Deforestation is related to the Tiau River’s drought-like situation. Prevention of deforestation can help deal with the shortage of drinking water and irrigation water, he shared his opinion.
There are double-room bungalows for accommodation at the Reed Lake Restaurant near Reed Lake. Furthermore, there is a golf course for sporting activities, and the cool breeze from Reed Lake is refreshing. Indian tourists like to play golf on eco-friendly golf courses. The local travellers rarely visit the Lake. The visitors flock to the Lake during Thingyan, Christmas and New Year holidays, increasing the locals’ income.
The heart-shaped Lake, a rare geological landscape, is located in Reedhorda town, Chin State, Myanmar, sharing a border with India. The hornbills are regarded as the state bird of Chin State and are valued by Chin people. The Reed Lake (Rih Lake), with the floral beauty of rhododendron and astonishing mountain view, enchants the tourists and domestic travellers.