Top three holy lakes in Tibet - Yamdroktso - the Swan Lake

In Tibet, every single lake is sacred for the Tibetan people cause the water means a lot to them. However, the top three holy lakes they honored are Namtso, Manasarovar, and Yamdroktso. We have introduced the first two lakes, today we are going to say the last one. Actually, if you are joining a group Tibet tour, there may not be enough time for you to view Yamdroktso carefully. You may only see it along with the road when driving to Mt. Everest. But is Yamdroktso worth visiting? The answer is definitely yes. I’ll tell you why with my following words.

The beautiful Yamdroktso


Name
In the Tibetan language, Yamdroktso literally means “the jade pool on the pasture”. But if view the lake from the sky, it looks like a scorpion. Thus, it is also called “the Swan Lake” or “the Coral Lake”.

The winding Yamdroktso in Tibet


Geography
Yamdroktso is located in the Langkazi County of Shannan Prefecture, which is 70 kilometers southwest of Lhasa. It is the biggest inland lake on the northern side of Himalayas and also the most beautiful lake in the south of Tibet. Yamdroktso covers over 675 square kilometers with an elevation around 4,441 meters. There is a mountain named “Ningjin Kangsha” sitting at the western side of the lake, which is 7206 meters and regarded as one of the four holy mountains in Tibet. The famous Karola Glacier is in the south of the mountain.
There are 21 islands distributed around Lake Yamdroktso, on where lives different species of migratory birds. So, this holy lake is a paradise of wild birds as well. The scene of millions of birds flying above the lake is really spectacular.
Besides, Yam Lake Power Station, the pumped-storage power station with the highest elevation in the world, is also located near Yamdroktso. Bsam-sdings Monastery, the only monastery managed by the only female living Buddha in Tibet is on the southern side of Yamdroktso.

The sheep at the lakeside of Yamdroktso


Myths
A long time ago, some fairies come to enjoy the happy time on this beautiful land. One of them lost her turquoise earring when they were flying back to the heaven. They searched for a while but could not find it. They had to give up because the door to heaven would close if they could not go back on time. Time passed by, the earring finally turned into a lake which still with a turquoise color. So, the local people gave this lake a name “Yamdroktso” in memory of those pretty fairies.

Yamdroktso becomes a holy lake not only because of the stunning scenery. The most important reason is the reborn living Buddha can be found by studying the mirage above the lake. It’s well known that the Buddhism is integrated with the daily life of Tibetan people and formed a unique religion with a mark of Tibet. The living Buddha is one of those feathers of Tibetan Buddhism. The honored monks need to find out the reborn living Buddha after Dalai Lama died. They will set a ceremony at the lakeside, pray for Yamdroktso and throw Hada (a white scarf means best wishes) into the water. The lake is believed to give them a sign and help them trace down the reborn living Buddha.

The blue water of Yamdroktso

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