Monday, September 22, 2008

Lake Manasarovar

Lake Manasarovar or Lake Manasa Sarovar Hindi: ???????? ???; : ?????????????, ''Mapham Yutso''; ) is a fresh-water lake in Tibet Autonomous Region of China 2,000  from Lhasa. To the west of Lake Manasarovar is Lake Rakshastal and towards the north is Mount Kailash, known in Tibetan as ''Khang Rinpoche''.


Manasarovar Lake lies at 4,556  above mean sea level. It is one of the highest fresh-water lakes in the world . Lake Manasarovar is relatively round in shape. The circumference of Manasarovar is 88 , depth is 90 m and it occupies a total area of 320 . The lake freezes in winter and melts only in the spring. It is connected to Lake Rakshastal by the natural Ganga Chhu channel. The Sutlej River, the , the Indus River, and the Karnali River all trace their sources to its close vicinity.

Cultural significance

Like Mount Kailash, Lake Mansarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious people from India, Tibet and the neighboring countries. Bathing in the Manasa Sarovar and drinking its water is believed to cleanse all sins. Pilgrimage tours are organized regularly, especially from India, the most famous of which is the ''Kailash Mansarovar Yatra'' which takes place every year. Pilgrims come to take ceremonial baths in the cleansing waters of the lake.

According to religion, the lake was first created in the mind of the .
Hence, in Sanskrit it is called "Manas sarovara", which is a combination of the words ''manas'' and ''sarovara'' . The lake, in Hindu mythology, is also supposed to be the summer abode of swans, who are considered as very wise and sacred birds. It is also believed the Devas descend to bathe in the lake between 3 and 5 am the time of the day known as .

s also associate the lake to the legendary lake known as Anavatapta in Sanskrit and Anotatta in Pali, where Queen Maya is believed to have conceived . The lake has a few monasteries on its shores. The most notable of which is the ancient Chiu Gompa Monastery, which has been built right onto a steep hill. It looks as if it has been carved right out of the rock.

The Jains and the Bonpas of Tibet equally revere this spot with great enthusiasm.

Further reading

*Allen, Charles. . ''The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History''. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: Abacus, London. 2000. ISBN 0-349-111421.
*"A Tibetan Guide for Pilgrimage to Ti-se and mTsho Ma-pham ." Toni Huber and Tsepak Rigzin. In: ''Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places In Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays''. Edited by Toni Huber, pp. 125-153. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P., India. ISBN 81-86470-22-0.

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