Yamdrok Lake

Nature At Its Best

Yamdrok Lake is one of the largest sacred lakes in Tibet, which is over 72 KM long and is surrounded by many snow capped mountains and fed by numerous small streams, the lake has an outlet stream at its far western end. Yamdrok Lake has a power station that was completed and dedicated in the 1996, which was a village near Pai-Ti. The lake has an area of about 621 sq. km and its unknown depth is fan shaped narrowing up to the north. The mountainous lake has dozens of islands. The lake freezes in the winter time due to the temperature. Just like mountains the lakes are also considered of holy values due to the belief that it is a place of dwelling deities. It is said that devout Buddhists go around the lake’s perimeter every year, and it takes a month or so by riding a horse. This is equal to their pilgrimage to Lhasa, in so doing, at least “Buddha will bless him good luck and happiness and everything goes well in this year”. Yamdrok Lake is considered as a sacred lake by the Tibetan and the Buddhists.

According to legends and myths, a fairy maiden left the heaven and became Yamdrok Lake. According to records, the Yamdrok shapes like scorpions, according to legend it is made up of nine lakes, the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal worried many creatures in the lake would die of the drought, so she threw the 7 liang (a unit of weight =50 grams) gold in the air and on wishes, recited the mantra, and put all the small lakes in an organic whole, after which it looked like the shape of a handheld iron scorpion of Padmasambhava. Some place names related to the scorpion in the basin, and Yuanbuduo Island in the heart of the scorpion there is a 16th century AD Nyingma small temple site, near the temple there is padma sambhava handprint. And in the southwest of lake there is Samding Temple, therefore Yamdrok was called one of the three largest holy lakes in Tibet.

Besides that, the lake also has some economic significance, because there are shoals of fish living in the lake, which are being exploited by the local population as they catch the fishes and sell them to the local markets in Lhasa. Going west of Lhasa, after the Yarlung Zangbo river bridge, along the Raya highway heading south for 170 km and passing over 5030 meters Gambara Mountain Pass, the beautiful, jasper Yamdrok Lake will appear in front of you.

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