The Lake Of No Return: Arunachal Pradesh

The Lake Of No Return: Arunachal Pradesh
Image source: Namdapha Tours and Treks

The Lake of No Return or Nawng Yang in Burmese is situated at the border of Arunachal Pradesh of India under the area of Pansau, a border town of the Nagas in Myanmar. The area is home to the Tangsa tribe and since the improvement of relations between India and Burma, the lake has come to play a part in the development of tourism in the nearby Indian Changlang District, which borders on Burma.

The lake gained its name and reputation based on the legends that during the WWII, the Allied forces used this lake for soft emergency landings and in the course, many aircrafts and their crews perished into the lake.

In one story it has been told that a group of Japanese soldiers returning from battle lost their way and arrived at the lake. There they suffered from malaria and died. In another story, it is said that the US soldiers working on the Ledo Road near the lake were sent to examine the lake but got trapped there by the undergrowth plants and were lost forever. Another story tells that a group of British troops in 1942 sank into the deep of the quick sand and should not survive.

These stories are repeated both in Indian press and Indian fiction and the account is also repeated by American sources. Adding myth to legend, one author claims that he has encountered the name on a document written by one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, which he claims still hides out in the area.

But the natives' stories are different. The oral tradition of the local people has a different and interesting folklore to it. According to them, it is said that once in there was a village that was settled near the lake and villagers lived off on the fishes from the lake. But one day, the villagers caught a strange and massive fish which was never seen or caught before. Rejoicing over the big catch, the whole village feasted on the fish with merry making as a celebration but left an old woman and her granddaughter uninvited. That night, the spirit of the lake (Also called the guardian) appeared to the two and told them to run for their life lest they be punished with the rest of the villagers. The older woman and the granddaughter left the village immediately to the jungle. As the fled the village, the old woman inserted her fresh bamboo staff upside down near the lake. Soon after they left, the whole village was submerged under the lake, but strangely, the bamboo staff which was inserted upside down grew in the same spot. It is said that you can still see the strange bamboo growing from the joints upside down and this type of bamboo can be found only in lake's surrounding. The villagers said that the fish in the lake are poisonous but if cooked well, it is tasty.

In another similar story it is told that long time ago there was a small lake close to the present day Lake of No Returns. Once the villagers decided to feast on the fish from the lake, and accordingly they caught all the fish from the lake. Incidentally, there was 3 fish there who were the children of the Rain God. The night before the villagers caught fish there, the Rain God came in the dream of the village elder man and told him about the his children in the lake. The next morning, the old man told the villagers about the dream he had on the previous night but they  ignored the warning, and went ahead to catch all the fish from there, and had a feast that night. The old man left the village in the darkness of the night, and moved to the neighboring village.

The Rain God was angry with the villagers, and decided to destroy the village. That night, after the feast, soon after the old man left, there was an earthquake. Next morning when he returned to see what happened to the village, he saw a huge water body in place of the village.

The old man narrated the story of fishing and the Rain God. The locals still believe that there is a gigantic serpent in the lake which swallows everything in the lake. The legend also talks about a great flood in the mountains when the serpent will move out of the lake, and will move to the ocean. This will clear the lake from its curse.

Researchers say that people get caught in the lake because of the quicksand in the lake and the aircrafts that fell into the lake was perhaps because the returning pilots used the lake as a soft landing spot for damaged or defective aircraft. But facts remain

The lake is also known as "The Bermuda Triangle of India".

With the lake's mysterious and yet scenic picture surrounded by the stories, it ahs become an attractive tourist destination and is also one of the main reasons for the booming tourism for both India and Myanmar.

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