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Lake Manasarovar: the Sacred Mother Lake in Tibet

 
 
Lake Manasarovar, which means “invincible lake” in Tibetan language, is one of the Top Four Holy Lakes and the most transparent fresh water lake in China. It is also the origination place of four main rivers in Asia. Located 35km from Pulan County and 20km from the holy Mount Gangrenboqi, it embraces beautiful landscape and is adorned by Buddhists, Bon religion followers and Hindu as the most sacred place and the center of the world. With altitude of 4588m, it is the highest fresh water lake in the world. In sunny days, one can see the aerial scenery composed of blue sky, white clouds, Snow Mountains which cast reflections on its blue water surface. You can say it is a self-discovery and soul exploration destination which embraces the eternity.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Lake Manasarovar: the holy lake for Buddhists, Hindi and Bon Religion Followers. It is also the king of all holy lakes in Tibet

 
 
 



Brief introduction of Lake Manasarovar

 

Lake Manasarovar and Lhanag-tso (literally means poisonous black lake, also known as the Ghost Lake) are compared as two eyes of the holy Mount Gangrenboqi.

The pearl-shaped Lake Manasarovar stretches 26km long and 21km wide, covering an area of 412m2. Encircled by desert flora, marsh meadow and hot springs, Lake Manasarovar boast the most crystal water and you can see through it to the depth of 14m. This inner land lake was once connected to Lake Lhanag-tso before the glacier blocked its way. Its average depth is 46m and the deepest part measures 81.8m. Supplied by the melted glacier, rain and underground springs, Lake Manasarovar contains rich minerals and is home to various fishes. According to the Tibetan scripture record, there are 108 mouths of springs under this lake and the vicinity of Chugu Temple is deemed as the holy bath site. This lake is thought as the origination of four big rivers: Horse Spring River( Ganges River in India) in the east, Elephant Spring River in the west(Indus River in India), Lion Spring River in the north(Sutlej River in India) and Phoenix Spring River in the south(Brahmaputra River in China).
 
 

Lake Manasarovar is the  most crystal clear fresh water lake in China



The ancient Bon Religion preaches that there are four bathing gates around this lake: Lotus Gate in the East, Purifying Gate in the West, Faith Gate in the North and Fragrant Gate in the South. The pilgrims can tour around this lake and go through these four gates to wash the dirts away, purity their soul and eliminate all their sins. They also believe that this lake shelters a Dragon King Palace which contains the most diversified treasures. Before the palace stands a holly tree, which can bring people good luck. Thus, if you find a dry fish, colorful stones or feathers of birds when tour around this lake, you are blessed by the king of dragon and will have good luck. Besides, many people would take down their jewelry and throw them into this lake to express their sincerity. In 1907, a Sweden adventurer lived around Lake Manasarovar for one month and carried out a comprehensive survey around this lake. He was shocked by the moonlight view of this lake and saw the stunning sunrise here.
 
 

 the lake water can purify the dark side of mind: greedy, obsessive, pride, jealousy and anger as well as bring longevity



Each summer and autumn, Buddhists from Tibet and Nepal as well as Hindu followers from India will throng into this lake. Believing that the lake water can purify the dark side of mind: greedy, obsessive, pride, jealousy and anger as well as bring longevity, the pilgrims all deem it as the happiest thing to have a bath and pray here. Eight temples around this lake are hot religious destinations. Indian people also view this lake as a holy place, partly due to their great leader Gandhi’s ash was scattered here. In 1997, more detailed rules were written to facilitate pilgrims from all over the world. 
 
 

 The Buddhists hold that Lake Manasarovar is the purest and most sacred lake bestowed by God of Happiness



People adorn Lake Manasarovar and dislike Lhanag-tso, a salt water lake which omits a bizarre and mysterious atmosphere. The traffic is not so convenient, thus is less haunted by people. During winter, when people pass this frozen lake, they usually fall into it, together with the horses, tents and camps. Besides, it always adopts a mysterious dark blue appearance, and is restless even in sunny days, just like there are monsters under its surface. There is one island with a temple in this middle of this lake. Only during winter when the lake is frozen can the monks reach the outside world.
 
 
 

 

Religious legend of Lake Manasarovar

 

During 11th century, there was a religion war between Buddhist and Bon Religion. Buddhism prevailed and gave this lake its present name. The Tibet scripture Dazangjing writes: “North of India, there are nine big mountains, and one giant snow mountain, at the foot of it sits a holy lake, the origination source of four main rivers in Asia.” Other Tibetan scripture holds that this lake is the Yaochi Lake dwelled by Goodness of Heaven: Xitian Yaomu. According to Buddhism scripture, the destructive and rebirth God Shipo and his wife Snow Mountain Fairy used to swim in this lake. The Buddhists hold that Lake Manasarovar is the purest lake bestowed by God of Happiness. The holy water can wash away all the worries and sins of human. It is the most ancient and holy place for Buddhism, Hindu and Bon Religion,the real heaven in the universe, the Shangri-La of all Gods and Goddesses, the ultimate happy land: Elysium.
 
 

 It is the most ancient and holy place for Buddhism, Hindu and Bon Religion,the real heaven in the universe, the Shangri-La of all Gods and Goddesses, the ultimate happy land: Elysium.



In India’s myth, Lake Manasarovar was formed by Brahma with the force of will aiming to provide his son a bath place after long time’s mind cultivation. Thus, the Hindu used to take a bath in this lake while the Tibetans just walk along this lake and carry out the bow ritual. A great number of tourists will dive into this lake despite of the chilly water even in the hottest season. It is depicted by many books that the lake water tastes sweet and looks crystal like pearls which can wash away the darkest secret, relief the deepest torment and can soothe the most painful soul. Thus, water taken from here is deemed as precious gift for friends.
 
 

 Around this holy lake there are many stones engraved with Buddhism spell's  six characters:嗡(ōng)嘛(má)呢(ní)叭(bei)咪(mī)吽(hōng), it is said if you chant them over and over again, you can keep all diseases away



Travel Tips of Lake Manasarovar


How to get to Lake Manasarovar: Tourists usually will stay in a little village near Wusi Temple, which is 30km from Dajin. If you leave from Mount Gangrenboqi, you have two choices: rent a jeep or wait for a pick-up in Dajin or Bage station.

There are several hiking courses in Tibet: the pilgrim’s path, the ferries and the horse paths. You can consult the local people or the pilgrims for the right route. No matter you are tour around the Mount Gangrenboqi or this lake, please take care of the environment and bring a rubbish bag.
 
 

 Bull horns are deemed as sacred things by the local people

Stones with Buddhism spell's six characters

 the holy Mount Gangrenboqi

 The Silhouette of temple and bull horns

 the hikers

 Indian Hindu followers is carrying out their ceremony

 
Weather: The annual average temperature here is 0℃, during June, the temperature is -2℃ in night and 32℃ in daytime. Winter here is chilly, the lowest temperature will be -27.5℃. There will be 130 days without frost. The annual average rain amount is 172.8mm. Main natural disasters include earthquake, flood, Debris flow and hail.

Accommodation: you can stay in the village at the foot of Wusi Temple, there are two anonymous hotels run by Tibetans which offer simple rice and foods and charge only 20RMB per day. For there is no restaurant nearby, you are advised to book in advance. The accommodation conditions here is not good, you are expected to bring food and sleeping bag. Besides, there is no so much vegetable in the diet, so prepare some vitamins. The Xinjiang-Tibet Road will be blocked during Spring and Winter, and the best travel period falls between Early May and middle of October. The weather here is not agreeable, and please bring warm coat, anti-diarrhea and anti-inflammatory medicines. To tackle the altitude sickness (AMS), please bring oxygen and medicine.

Bathing: following the scent of sulfur, you can discern a valley near the village, there is a natural hot spring site here. It is kind of inconvenient to have a bath near Mount Gangrenboqi, but in here, you can enjoy a nice spa with the cost of 20 RMB.

Tour the lake: With a circumference of 90km, it will take four to five days to tour around this lake. Traditionally, you are expected to walk along this lake clockwise. From Seralung Temple to Chiu Gonpa, two thirds of the tour route clings to the lake, and the remaining route will lead to the Huoer County, thus you can live in the temples along the lake except the second night.
 
Map of Lake Manasarovar(玛旁雍错):Mount Gangrenboqi(冈仁波齐神山, Lhanag-tso (拉昂错), Jiwu Temple(基乌寺) , Langna Temple(浪那寺),  Benri Temple(苯日寺), Serelong Temple(色热龙寺),Chugu Temple(楚古寺) Guozu Temple(果祖寺), Zijie Temple(孜杰寺)


This tour route covers sand, marsh, stones, and streams. It is energy-consuming to walk along the sand and challenging to walk through the streams in the south of this lake. Formed by melted glacier, the stream water is very chilly (Imagine the chilly water reaches to your waist). The scenery around the lake is simply striking. Just avoid the rainy season when the stream will soar and bring much trouble. Most tourists prefer to stay in Chiu Gonba for several days, enjoy the hot spring spa and sight-seeing. If only for travel, you can start from Chiu Gonpa, walk counterclockwise and go through Trugo Con, as well as Seralung Gon before you reach Hor. In this way, you can catch a glimpse of the enchanting scenery of this holy lake, touring its main scenic sites and meet many pilgrims and shoot the most amazing pictures.
 
 
 
 

Gallery: Flora in Lake Manasarovar

 
  

Himalayan Blue Poppy

 Cactus

  

 Anonymous Wild FLowers

 one Kind of herb named Duyiwei(独一味)

  

the Precious Saussurea

 Anonymous Wild FLowers

 
 
 
 

Gallery: Fauna in Lake Manasarovar

 
  

 Black-necked cranes

 Vulture

  

 Mount Gangrenboqi Antelope

 Tibetan Snow Fox

  

 Blue Sheep

 Snow Rabbit

  

 Snow leopard

 Tibet Snow Chicken

  

 Tibetan Gazelle

 Otter

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