Chhimi Dema

Baritsho in Lamperi, Thimphu, has almost dried up after sinkholes appeared below the lake on April 14.

Yet another sinkhole had appeared about a metre away from the one right below the lake.

The Forest Division, Thimphu, has been seeking technical assistance from the Department of Geology and Mines under the Ministry of Economic Affairs to determine the causes.

Chief Forest Officer, Gyeltshen Dukpa, said that the lake had lost about 60 percent of its water when a portion of the Baritsho sank.

He said that the incident was reported to the department with a proposal for the restoration of the lake.


Lake and the  community

Baritsho, according to locals, is sacred.

Namgay Tenzin from Toedpisa in Punakha said that the lake was sacred to his great grandparents.  “They used to make offerings to the lake for bountiful harvests and invoked the powers of the lake’s deity during important ritual events.”

He said that before the park was constructed the lake area was used as a temporary cowshed.

Gyeltshen Dukpa said that considering the importance of the lake, “it is imperative that restoration works be carried out to revive the lake”.

The banks of the lake need strengthening with clay and stone boulders, he said. “Where necessary, reinforcement, using concrete, could be carried out to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.”

The park covers an area of 47 square kilometres and was established in 2004. It is home to more than 40 species of rhododendrons and is a corridor for wildlife such as Bengal tiger, red panda, leopard, musk, sambar deer, monal pheasant, satyr tragopan, and many more.