Lake Manasa Sarovar Hindi Tibetan, Mapham Yutso) is a fresh-water lake in Tibet 2,000 km from Lhasa. It is the highest freshwater lake in the world. To the west of Lake Manasarovar is Lake Rakshastal and towards the north is Mount Kailash, known in Tibetan as Khang Rinpoche.
The sight of a huge lake with a reflection of snow-capped
mountains in its lucid waters is jaw dropping. Be prepared for a feast for the eyes. Manasarovar Lake lies at 4,556 m above mean sea level. It is relatively round in shape and its circumference is 88 km, depth is 90 m and it occupies a total area of 320 square
The lake freezes in winter and melts only in spring.
The Sutlej River, the Brahmaputra River, the Indus
River, and the Karnali River all trace their sources to
its close vicinity.
Like Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious people from India, Tibet and the neighbouring countries. Bathing in the lake and drinking its water is believed to cleanse all sins. Pilgrimage tours are organised regularly, especially from India, the most famous of which is the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, which takes place every year. Pilgrims come to take ceremonial bathes in the cleansing waters of the lake.
According to Hindu legend, the lake was first created in the mind of the Lord Brahma. Hence, in Sanskrit it is called Manasarovar, which is a combination of the words Manas (mind) and Sarovar (lake). The lake, in Hindu mythology, is also supposed to be the summer abode of swans, which are considered to be judicious and sacred birds. It is also believed the Devas (Gods) descend to bathe in the lake between 3 and 5 am. This time of the day is known as Brahma Muhurta (moment). Buddhists also associate the lake to the legendary lake known as Anavatapta in Sanskrit and Anotatta in Pali, where Queen Maya is believed to have conceived Buddha. The lake has a few beautiful monasteries on its shores. The most notable of which is the ancient
Chiu Gompa Monastery,
which has been built right onto a steep hill.
It looks as if it has been carved right out of the rock.
The Jains and the Bonpas of Tibet equally revere this
spot with great enthusiasm.