Lake Manasarovar Travel Guide, Ngari, Tibet
Lying 20km southeast of Mt. Kailash and north to Namnani Peak, Lake Manasarovar is the highest freshwater lake in the world, with an altitude of 4,588 and an area of 412sqkm.
Lake Manasarovar, "Mapam Yumco" in Tibetan, means the "eternal and invincible jade lake" named to mark the victory of Buddhism over the local Bon Religion in the 11th century. It is Tibet's most sacred lake and is holy to both Buddhists and Hindus. Xuan Zang(600-664AD), an eminent monk of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), described Mapam Yumco Lake in his book Records of Western Travels as "a jade pond in west".
Early legend has it that there are countless treasures at the bottom of the Lake Manasarovar. Hindus and Buddhists alike believe that the Lake Manasarovar has the power to cleanse away a person's sins, either by drinking (Tibetans) or bathing in the water (Hindus). Many pilgrims come to Lake Manasarovar to be healed of their illnesses.
Lake Manasarovar enjoys a reputation equal to the holy Mt. kailash. Indian legend claims it to be a place where Siva and his wife Goddess Woma, daughter of the Himalayas, bathed. Tibetan legend claims it to be where the God Guangcanlong lived. In Buddhist scriptures, the lake is named the "mother of the rivers in the world".
There are 9 monasteries surrounding Lake Manasarovar. Gyiwu Monastery and Curgu Monastery are the best known of them. The area surrounding Curgu Monastery is respected as a holy and pure bathing place. The holy properties of the lake notwithstanding, the beauty and tranquility of the lake is enough to soothe a weary soul.
Lake Manasarovar and Curgu Monastery are reachable from Darchen(Ta'erqin), which is 30km to the south. Alternately, hitchhiking along the main Ali-Purang Highway can get you to a point 6km from the lake. Walk southwest from the highway to the lake.
There are two hostels opened by Tibetans in the small villages near Jiwu Temple. Y20 for lodging.
No restaurants, the hostels provide plain rice and vegetable dishes. Travelers better bring some instant noodles or solid food. There are furnaces and dry cow dung that can be used for burning, you can cook by yourself.