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ChandraTal: Spitian Folklore

This is a very old story, more than a 100 years ago. There lived a lazy man in the village of Rangrik who was a burden on his wife as he did no work. One day this man decided to go to the Chandra Tal lake as he had heard a lot about it being beautiful. It was far from where he lived & a difficult trek but he thought it would be excellent to escape his wife & her nagging. So he left and walked for many days over mountains & passes. Finally when he was almost worn out he caught sight of the lake. It was indeed beautiful & he was so moved he sat down to play his flute like instrument, & was soon lost in its music.

When he opened his eyes after the number there was a beautiful woman standing before him. She said, “Hello, Gangrup, I am the Chandra Tal Fairy. Your music drew me here. I have fallen in love with you, will you come & live with me in my kingdom. I will love you & keep you happy, if you will play for me & love me.”

So Gangrup went with her to her underwater kingdom & they were very happy there through summer. Then as winter came the fairy asked Gangrup to go back home. He was unhappy & said he didn’t want to go as he would miss her. But she said he would have to go, but he could come back next summer. She would miss him too & await his return. But she warned him not to tell anyone about them else they would never be able to be together again.

Gangrups family was overjoyed to see him as they had thought he had died on the way when he did not return for months. Winter set in and Gangrup drank and slept as always, doing nothing else. One day when he was really drunk his wife was nagging him about some work she wanted done. He turned to her & said: “Shut up woman, don’t nag me else I will go away to the ChandraTal fairy. She loves me.” So saying he downed his drink & passed out.

The next morning he remembered what had happened & started to cry. Everyone was concerned & kept asking him what happened but he just kept wailing. He passed the rest of the winter in mad grief and as soon as summer set in he left for the lake.

As soon as he got there he took out his flute & started to play. Soon enough the fairy emerged. She said: “I have just come to say good bye Gangrup. You broke my heart.” So saying she left. Gangrup fell to his knees & called after her crying. A while later she emerged holding a bundle. Gangrup was overjoyed thinking she had forgiven him. But she said “This is our daughter, born of our love, take her back with you.” So saying she handled him the bundle & left.

Gangrup looked down at his daughter & gasped. She was the ugliest thing he had set eyes on, covered in warts and boils & she was very ill. He didn’t want to touch her but then filial love won & he took her along. However she died on the way. Broken hearted Gangrup took her all the way home.

His family was stunned when he told them she was his daughter from the ChandraTal fairy. He buried her with all ceremony & built a memorial for her in the house.

From then on his families luck changed and they became rich. After all, the little girl was also a Nortin (fairy).

His line is still alive today though they have moved to a new house (the old house still stands in ruins). They moved the memorial to the new house too & it can be still seen today.

Credits:
Photos – Harish and Easha
Story – I first read this story in Spiti Through Legend And Lore by Kishore Thukral.

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