Namtso Lake Introduction
Namtso lake is considered one of the three holiest lakes in Tibet and a site of frequent pilgrimages.In the Tibetan language, the lake is called "Namtso" means "HEAVENLY LAKE". Namtso lake is the second largest brackish lake in china, and is the world's highest lake. The lake surface is at 4740 metres above sea level, measuring about 70 kilometers along and 30 kilometers broad, with a surface area of 1920 square kilometers.
LOCATION OF THE LAKE:
The lake is located between the Damxung county of lhasa and the Bongion county of the Nagqu region. With abundant grasslands, the surrounding plains are frequented by Tibetan nomads and their herds of cattle and sheep.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE:
The snow capped mountains on the distant shore provided a great backdrop. A nearby hill from our tent city provided a good view of the lake. Spending the night afforded both sunset and sunrise views, as well as a great place for star-gazing away from the lights of Tibetan cities.
Namtso has five uninhabited islands of reasonable size, in addition to one or two rocky outcrops. The islands have been used for spiritual retreat by pilgrims who walk over the lake's frozen surface at the end of winter, carrying their food with them. They spend the summer there, unable to return to shore again until the water freezes the following winter.
The largest of the islands is in the north-west corner of the lake, and is about 2,100 m long and 800 m wide, rising to just over 100 m in the middle. At its closest point it is about 3.1 km from the shore. The most remote island is, at its closest, 5.1 km from the shore. The pasture land around the lake is dotted with domestic animals like sheeps, yaks and goats etc. Almost every family living in the tents have the unique scary Tibetan mustiff.
The weather at Namtso is subject to abrupt sudden change and snowstorms are very common across the Nyainqentanglha range. The blowing of the cold wind is very common in the shore of the lake. Overall the geographical area of the Namtso lake has experience the extreme type of the climate. You would experience very cold specially during Night and early in the morning(before sun rise) even in the summer. The top of the mountains are covered with snows every season and some great glacires are common in the Nyainqentanglha range.
FEATURES OF THE LAKE:
Namtso Lake maintains its levels from rainfall and melted snow flowing from high mountains. Five penisula stand in the waters of the lake, among which the largest one is Liangduo penisula. In addition another five bylands stretch into the lake from different directions. Tashi penisula is the largest in area of these five. On the Penisula of ten square kilomters are the Tashi Monastery, Karst caves, stone forest and natural formed bridges and other scenery. Various kinds of vivid shapes can easily arouse your imagination.
The Namtso lake is not the highest lake in Tibet or even in the world. However, Namtso is the highest brackish lake in the world. Summer is the best time for Namtso Lake. Wild yaks, hares and other wild animals leisurely look for food along the expansive lake shores; countless migratory birds fly here to lay eggs and feed their young; sometimes lovely fishes in the lake jump out of the water surface, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine; sheep and cows herds are like flowing white blanks on the green grassland which can stretch as far as your eyes can see; the dulcet songs of Gauchos resound through the valleys. This time of the year Namtso Lake is full of life and activity. Therefore it is no wonder Tibetans take Namtso Lake the symbol of goodliness and happiness. Really Namtso Lake is a blessing from nature.
The holy lake namtso lake is very sacred lake in the terms of the Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhists believe Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Vajras will assemble to hold religious meeting at Namtso in the year of sheep on Tibetan calendar. Every year, many pilgrims from Tibet and nearby regions will come here and the pilgrimage, which took about twenty to thirty days to circle the whole lake, peaks in the year of goat on the Tibetan calender. It is said that walking around the lake at the right moment is 100,000 times more efficacious than that in normal years. That's why thousands of pilgrims from every corner of the world come to pray at the site, with the activity reaching a climax on Tibetan April 15.
WHAT YOU CAN OBSERVE DURING DRIVING TO NAMTSO?
Abundant grassland dotted with namad's tent and their animals. The famous Nyanqentangla mountain ranges with snow-capped on the top of the mountains. The beautiful bridges of the Qinghai-Tibet railway tracks running parallel to the Qinghai-Tibet highway. The can see the famous Mount Nyanqentangla some one hundred kilometers driving from the Lhasa. On the way you can see the famous Yangpachen hot-spring about one and half driving from Lhasa.
Getting there: There are no direct buses to Namtso Lake. The best way is to hire a taxi or a mini bus from Lhasa.
It is good for your health to drink plenty of water at the high altitude and donot over exercise around the Lkae shore.
As the weather is changing very suddden at the lake, it is better to bring a good waterproof trouser and jackets. Also bring some thick clothes along you.
You can hire a yak or horse to circumambulate around the lake for a short time and you are better to listen to your guide's advice. He will help you to arrange all these things to you.
You have to pay 80 RMB per person at the foot hill of the Largen-la pass.
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