The Mystery Of Mebar Tsho-The Burning Lake Of Bhutan


The Burning Lake is regarded as one of the most sacred sites in the Kingdom.

(Source: Flickr/Pradeep Prakash)


By Zann Huizhen Huang | Daily Bhutan

Bhutan, also known as the ‘Last Paradise’ is not only blessed with pristine nature but also ‘Neys’ or spiritually potent, sacred sites.

A Ney can extend across an entire valley or a mountain or it can even be a very specific site such as a single rock, pool or tree.

The Bhutanese believe that many of these Neys have been blessed by the Padmasambhava (He who came into being in a lotus), or Guru Rinpoche.

Some Bhutanese believe that mystical energies emanate from these mystical Neys, making them perfect retreats for spiritual awakenings.

Notable examples of Neys in Bhutan include: the Jomolhari Snow Mountains, the Singyedzong Valley, the Taktshang cliff, the cave of Wangdi Ney and the riverine pool of Mebartsho, also known as the ‘Burning Lake’.

The legend of the Burning Lake

The Burning Lake is regarded as one of the most sacred sites in the Kingdom. Located in Tang Valley near Bumthang in central Bhutan, it is actually not a lake but rather a pool found along a river.

Source: Map of Bhutan


Legend has it that Terton Pema Lingpa, the discoverer of hidden ancient texts, is believed to be the reincarnation of Padmasambhava himself.

Pema Lingpa had a vision of the sacred treasures which Guru Rinpoche had hidden within the Burning Lake in the 8th century. His mission was to unearth those sacred Buddhist relics and scriptures so that the Guru’s teachings could be passed onto future generations.

This revelation brought Pema Lingpa to the lake and as he stood on the rocks, he could discern a temple with many doors at the bottom of the waters.

Upon seeing that one door was opened, he dived right in and swam into a huge cave. A women with only one eye gave him a treasure chest and in no time, Pema Lingpa found himself on dry land again.

His feat, however, was met with disbelief and cynicism by the locals. To convince them, Pema Lingpa invited them to witness his second attempt at retrieving another ‘terma’ or ‘treasure’. This time, holding a lit lamp, he spoke to the crowd who had gathered to watch:

"If I am a genuine revealer of treasures, then may I return with the treasure with my lamp still alight. However, if I am a devil, may I drown."


Source: Youtube/WildFilmsIndia


With that, Pema Lingpa dived into the waters again, holding a butter lamp in his hand, but he took a long time to surface and the people grew anxious.

All of a sudden, he re-emerged from the waters holding a statue, a treasure chest, a scroll of paper, with the butter lamp still burning bright in his hand.

Thereafter, the lake which was formerly called ‘Nya Ring Brag’ or ‘Long Nosed Cliff’ came to be known as the Mebartsho or Burning Lake instead.

An important and popular pilgrimage site

Today, the Burning Lake is a popular pilgrimage site for the Bhutanese and foreign tourists alike, known for its tranquillity and verdant beauty.

Getting there is a 30 minutes’ drive from the town of Chamkhar. From the road, there is a 5 minutes’ walk to the lake.

Around the lake, there are many small conical clay mounds called tsatsas which are often engraved with sacred Buddhist symbols. Sometimes, they contain human ash or bone and are offerings dedicated to either the living or dead.

Along the way, visitors will also be greeted by colourful prayer flags tied around an altar dedicated to Terton Pema Lingpa, as well as butter lamps scattered on the river banks as a tribute to this great treasure finder.  






Related Posts

Discover The 108 Retreat Caves Of Guru Rinpoche And Other Wonders...

The Agriculture Minister of Bhutan who had visited the Ney said that it was indeed a great spiritual healing experience.

Mar 16, 2019 14:18

Sacred Statue Of Milarepa Installed In Bhutan's Monastery By His...

The statue of Milarepa was ordained as the nangten (inner relic) of the Druk Ralung Shedrup Choling monastery in Kabesa.

Aug 09, 2019 23:08

Meet 102 Year Old Kinzang Mo Who Has Been To Most Sacred Sites Of...

The long life of Kinzang Mo and her ability to work is an inspiration to many in the community and villagers visit her...

Jun 27, 2019 22:08

Sacred Zee Stones – Believed By Some To Be The Discarded...

Due to the sacred powers which are attributed to the stone, zee is a much sought after item.

Apr 05, 2019 10:38

The Myth And Mystery Surrounding The Elusive Yeti Of Bhutan

As far as the Bhutanese are concerned, the Yeti continues to live on in the collective belief and consciousness of the...

Aug 29, 2018 15:56

Hidden ‘Igloos’ Of Dochula – Caves Where One Can Meditate And...

The caves will benefit those who seek inner peace.

Jan 10, 2019 16:29



Employment opportunities amid crisis - Tour guides opts farming

A tour guide could earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 per month during the peak tourist season in Bhutan. The income made was sufficient to support...

May 19, 2020 19:53

Covid-19 response must address gender-based violence, other rights of women and girls

“The social and economic stress that Covid-19 pandemic brings upon households places women and girls in vulnerable positions, burdening them...

May 12, 2020 16:46


Story of Final Year College Student Who Joined college after reopening of eduction institution amid outbreak of COVID 19

Sonam Dorji a final year student shares this thought on his first day of college amid pandemic.

Jul 04, 2020 14:03

Significant pilgrimage sites of Guru Rinpochoe in Bhutan

Discover sacred pilgrim sites of Guru Rinpochoe in Bhutan and the reasons why every buddhist must travel to these most venerated places of...

Jul 01, 2020 11:28


Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08


Once the booming Handicraft Shops in Paro Dying- Paro Today

Paro town looks so different in its history as tourist destination in Bhutan.

Jun 24, 2020 16:58

Celebrating Bhutan’s Entrepreneurs: Namkhar Gyaltshen Of Transcend Artisan

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 06, 2020 11:48


Reasons why one should visit Druk Wangditse Lhakhang

The temple is reconstructed to its glory and is dedicated to his majesty the king of Bhutan.

Jul 08, 2020 14:43

You cannot travel to Bhutan without tour guides - Featuring Mr Tobgay, experienced senior guide from Druk Asia.

In this series, Dailybhutan speaks to licensed tour guide Mr Tobgay who is one of the most senior and experienced tour guides working for...

Jun 21, 2020 21:07


Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!