Lake renamed after Madhuri attract tourists, locals unhappy

Lake renamed after Madhuri attract tourists, locals unhappy

Lake renamed after Madhuri attract tourists, locals unhappy

The lake, locally known as 'Sho-nga-Tser', has come to be known as Madhuri lake ever since the Madhuri Dixit starrer 'Koyla' was extensively shot in the area around the lake in 1996.

The film, produced by a former Arunachal minister T L Rajkumar, generated a lot of interest in the beautiful lake among tourists, giving rise to increased tourist footfall, but also leading to local resentment.

The new name caught tourist fancy after an enterprising lensman put a photograph of the lake on the Internet.

Monk-turned-politician Rimpoche, a former minister, said he would press the Arunachal Pradesh government to take steps to restore the original name of the lake.

Taking note of the public resentment on renaming of tourist spots in the Buddhist-dominated district by 'outsiders', the state government has made Rimpoche the chairman of a committee to go into the matter as many of the spots have association with religious sentiments.

Rimpoche said the lake was originally a grazing field where people grazed their cattle by paying five coins to the landowner. The lake was destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 1971 and in its place a beautiful lake took shape surrounded by high hills.
This fact was reflected in the name itself. Sho means coins, Nga means five and Tser is grazing ground in the local language, Rimpoche explained.

"How can we allow people from outside to change the name according to their whims just because some popular cine star shot a film in that location?" asked Rimpoche.
He said renaming of some areas by the Army where they have set up camps along the road to the border through the district also needed to be checked.
However, armymen posted near the lake said the renaming of the spot after Madhuri has at least mitigated their loneliness.

"Earlier, we felt very lonely as very few tourists visited the place. For six months the entire area remains under a blanket of snow," an armyman said.

"Hardly any humans were seen here. Now at least 60 to 70 vehicles full of tourists visit the lake every day from September to October. They mostly come from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and Kolkata mostly," he said.

A former tourism minister of the state, Rimpoche said experts either from within the state or outside will be appointed to suggest measures to revive the cultural heritage of the area.

The experts, he said, would restore original names of of spots in the strategically located Twang valley, an important Buddhist centre and home of the famous 400-year-old monastery.

Rimpoche said there are many more equally beautiful spots in Arunachal, but due to lack of publicity they are unexplored. The area which saw a bloody war with China in 1962 was also kept out of bounds for outsiders, but now as the Army has relaxed the restrictions, there is an increase in inflow of tourists.

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