Mayel Lyang - Paradise on Earth

The landscape of Sikkim varies from rugged mountains with lush green valleys to fertile plain lands. Numerous peaks adorn this beautiful landscape with the climate varying from tropical to arctic tundra. The original inhabitants of this land, the Lepchas have made this piece of paradise, their rightful homes since the earliest mention of settlement. Tales of their origin are numerous but one constant in all those lores is the place called Mayel Lyang (Kyung). The origin stories trace back to this mystical place where the mother goddess had made the first Lepchas from the pure snows of Kanchenjunga. It is said to be a hidden village in the Himalayas on a valley surrounded by mountains and guarded by demons.

The people from Mayel used to visit the early settlers. They would guide them with their daily chores and look out for them in times of disease and famine. Soon, however, humans started to get influenced by evil and their visits gradually stopped. The people from Mayel would still care for the humans downhill and would send out birds to warn them of bad weather or a calamity.

The entry to Mayel was guarded by strong and powerful demons. No man has ever been able to reach the fabled place. However, one lore does exist about a brave Lepcha man with the name of Thekung mensalong. He was hunting in a remote forest and was following the course of a stream for better prey. He came across a branch of a tree that did not resemble any of the trees growing in the area. His smart wit duly understood that the tree belonged to Mayel and the branch must have flown with the stream downhill. He figured that if he followed the stream uphill then he would reach the fabled land. With a firm resolve, he started his uphill climb following the stream through thick forests and lush valleys. After days of traveling, he came across a patch of land which contained a lot of feathers. On examining them, he concluded that the feathers belonged to the birds which were sent out by their ancestors in Mayel village.

With renewed vigor, he set off uphill, ever more so determined to find the mystical place. After a few more days of a steep climb, he arrives at the lush green valley amidst snowy peaks, truly a sight to behold. He comes across the first house whose occupants welcome him for the night. The old couple with the most serene demeanor ensures that he is well-fed and prepares his resting place. Meanwhile, Thekung wondered about the solitary life of the old couple before being overwhelmed by the warmth of their hospitality. In the morning, however, two children greet him. On questioning, Thekung finds out that the children were the same old couple who had received him the previous night. The children explain to him that they become children in the morning growing to be adults during the course of the day and become old by nightfall and the same cycle is repeated every day, which was the cause of their immortality.

The hunter noticed 7 more houses in the village which belonged to seven brothers. He spent a night each in every one of them as he was welcomed with the same warmth and kindness as their previous hosts. However, after the seventh night, the people of Mayel asked him to leave. Before leaving, they gave him a gift of seven grains while being sworn to secrecy about their location. The hunter returned to his village with the seven grains and introduced grain farming to the Lepcha community.

 The Lepchas believe that the seven brothers still live in the Mayel Kyung also called Mayel Lang, Mayel, or Beyul to this day and worship him for bestowing the blessing of grain and a better harvest.   

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