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  3. Lake Manasarovar

Lake Manasarovar

Photo © Saumil Shah. View all images in our Lake Manasarovar Photo Gallery.
Photo © Ans Deblauwe.
Photo © Prateek.
Photo © Saumil Shah.
Photo © Saumil Shah.
Photo © Ans Deblauwe.
Photo © Axel Ebert.
Photo © Vijay Duvvuri.

Lake Manasarovar (also spelled Mansarovar and Mansarowar; Sanskrit: ???? ?????; Tibetan: ???????????? Mapham Yutso; Chinese: ????) is the highest freshwater lake in the world, located at the foot of Mount Kailash in Tibet. It is the holiest lake in Asis and an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Buddhists alike.

History

There were once eight Buddhist monasteries around the lake, symbolizing the Wheel of Life. Pilgrims circumambulated the lake, visiting each of the monasteries along the way, representing a turn of the wheel. Most of the monasteries have now disappeared (the most notable survivor being Chiu Gompa), but Buddhists still make the pilgrimage around the sacred lake.

What to See

Located at the southern base of Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is famed for its exceptional beauty. Its color changes from a clear blue around the shores to a deep emerald green in the center; it looks positively magical in the moonlight. The lake is 55 miles (88 km) in circumference, 330 feet (90m) deep, and 120 sq mi (320 sq km) in total area.

The journey around the lake is 64 miles long and usually takes four days. Many travelers opt to pitch a tent by the lake for a couple days instead, recuperating from the strenuous journey around Mount Kailash.

Myth and Mystery

According to Hindu tradition, Manasarovar was created by Brahma, god of creation, to provide an appropriate place for religious rituals. It is said that he had 12 sons, who were holy men and performed rituals and austerities on the dry land at the site. To give them a more suitable place to earn merit, Brahma created the beautiful Lake Mansarovar.

The lake's Indian name derives from this legend: Brahma had a mind (manas) to create a lake (sarowar). For Hindus, a circumambulation of Mount Kailash and a dip in the cold waters of Lake Mansarowar removes the sins of all lifetimes, bringing salvation from reincarnation.

Buddhists associate Manasarovar with Anotatta Lake, where the Buddha was mystically conceived. According to Buddhist legend, the Buddha's mother was transported here by the gods, where she bathed in the sacred waters of Manasarovar until her body was purified. She then saw a white elephant running to her from Mount Kailash, as the Buddha entered her womb.

Quick Facts on Lake Manasarovar

Site Information
Names:Lake Manasarovar
Country:Tibet
Categories:Sacred Waters
Faiths:Hinduism; Buddhism
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Tibet
Coordinates:30.688707° N, 81.466370° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Lake Manasarovar

Below is a location map and aerial view of Lake Manasarovar. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Lake Mansarowar - StateMaster (accessed June 2009)
  2. Mount Kailash & Mansarowar Yatra - Travel Himalayas (accessed June 2009)
  3. Mount Kailash and around - Rough Guide to China (accessed June 2009)
  4. Lake Manasarovar - Wikipedia (accessed June 2009)

More Information

Article Info

Title:Lake Manasarovar
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:06/17/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/tibet/lake-manasarovar/tibet/mount-kailash
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/tibet/lake-manasarovar/tibet/mount-kailash">Lake Manasarovar</a>