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Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

A Brief Introduction to Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

Yamdrok Yumtso Lake lies in the Langkazi County of the Shannan Prefecture of Tibet, less than 100 kilometers away from Lhasa. It is the biggest inland lake at the northern foot of Himalaya Mountain. Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, together with the Namtso Lake and Mapam Yumtso Lake are regarded as the three holy lakes in Tibet. The lake is 4,441 meters high above the sea level, covering an area of 678 square meters, which is about 70 bigger than the area of the West Lake in Hangzhou. The average depth of the lake ranges from 20 to 40 meters with the deepest point of 60 meters. There are many forks which resemble the coral branches and in Tibetan it is also called the coral lake.

Legends of Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

According to the local legend, the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake was the incarnation of a fairy maiden who left the Heaven and turned into the lake. It is said that the shape of Yamdrok Yumtso Lake is like a scorpion in the ancient time. And there were originally nine small lakes here. A fairy maiden was worried that the creatures in the lake might be dry dead. So she throw 7 liang (350g) gold into the lake, praying and blessing, and the small lakes connected each other and became a large lake what it is now.

There is another legend about the white water birds in the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake. It is said that there was once a village on the lakeside which was named Paidi. A beautiful girl with white skin lived in the village and every night she would come to the lake and take a bath. One serf owner in the village was attracted by her and wanted to marry her although the girl had already fallen in love with another boy and did not agree. On night, the serf owner hid in the lake and caught the girl when she was bathing. At this crucial moment, a fairy maiden came on a cloud who killed the serf owner. The pity was that the evil serf owner did not let the girl go even if he was dead, thus the girl was drowned. In the next morning, when people came to the lake and looked for her, a white water bird flew out of the lake. And this white water bird was regarded as the incarnation of the girl.

Attractions of Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

Yamdrok Yumtso Lake is praised as the most beautiful water in the world. In Tibetan, the word "Yam" means the "upper", "drok" means "pastureland", "Yum" means "jade" and "tso" means "lake". Thus Yamdrok Yumtso means "the jade lake on the upper pastureland". It is also called the "swan lake". In the eyes of the Tibetans, Yamdrok Yumtso Lake is the turquoise ear-pedant of a fairy maiden dropping on the Tibetan area. Actually, its appearance for the pure clean water is indeed as smooth as the surface of a fine jade. Lying in the sunlight, the peaceful water seems like a bright mirror. The reflection of sunshine in different depths lends the lake gorgeous and mysterious colors. Overlooking from the nearby high mountain, you can see the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, like a holy sapphire, set in the group of mountains.

The Yamdrok Yumtso Lake is an affluent fish-base. There are lots of plankton in the lake, providing rich baits for the fish. Each summer, the fish schools will swim from the deep-water area to the shallow-water area to hunt for food and lay the eggs. At that time, you can even catch the fishes by your hands. In addition that the Tibetans do not eat fish, the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake becomes the paradise of fish. And the fish is undoubtedly very delicious.

About 21 small islands are dotted in the lake. On the fertile earth of these islands grow flourished grasses which nurture flocks of wild birds and groups of wild animals, exposing a peaceful but vigorous natural scenery. You can find the wild goats and foxes on the grassland and swans, egrets and gulls flying above the lake surface. Embraced by the uninterrupted snow-capped mountains and lying under the clear blue sky, the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake appears very holy and evokes solemnity.

Custom of Circumambulation Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

Every year, many devotional followers in Tibet or from other places would come here for pilgrimage and circumambulate the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake. It takes them about one month to do it on horseback, yet some of them even start on foot and give one prostration every three steps even from hundreds of kilometers away. It equals to a pilgrimage to Lhasa because they believe that the Buddha will bless them for at least one year. All of these visitors bring much mystery and dignity to the charming holy Yamdrok Yumtso Lake.