Phurpa Lhamo  | Wangdue

In an effort to preserve the Luetshokha tsho in Samtengang, Wangdue, cleaning, construction of footpaths and plantation of trees has been completed.

The preservation project began in May this year.

Concerns were raised in the past regarding the drying of the lake. Today, water to the lake is sourced from the Ganjab-Samtengang irrigation channel. The channel and the lake are around 800 metres apart.

Nyisho Gup Dorji Dorji said that the pipeline from the source to the lake was renovated. “Earlier, the pipeline was underground and it was damaged. Now it has been brought on the surface to make it easy to work and fix it if there are issues.”

The gewog received Nu 1.4 million (M) from the European Union (EU) to execute preservation activities.

“The EU has also ensured us the budget for future if the work is as per their mandate,” said Gup Dorji Dorji.

Around 150 DeSuups also helped clean the area. Nearly 400 trees were planted around the lake.

Preservation works were also done in 2016. Bhutan Trust Fund had funded the cleaning of the lake and its periphery, which was invaded by weeds.

Luetshokha tsho is one of the oldest lakes in Samtengang.

It is believed that current lake area was first used by a man for dry land cultivation.

“One day a man found that the mermaid had already settled at the area. He was furious. Being an extraordinary man himself, he took a spade to remove the water from the area,” Dorji Dorji said.

It is believed that the mermaid then promised blessings for generations to come if she was given the land to settle.

This complicated relation is significant in the traditional belief system.

“So, it is said that the villagers never got close to the lake. However, that changed when a highlander visited the lake while she was spinning yarn on spindle,” Dorji Dorji said.

When the mermaid became furious and started to attack her, the woman is said to have blinded the mermaid with the metal spindle.

“Today, the lake is peaceful,” Dorji Dorji said.

Located near the Samtengang Central School, the lake covers around 31 hectares of land. The lake is around 20km away from Bajo town.