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Yamdrok Lake

Yamdrok Lake is also known as Lake Yamdrok Yumtso. It is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. It does have an outlet stream at its far western end. In Tibetan legend, the Yamdrok Lake is the transformation of a goddess.

Yamdrok Lake is located at Nhagartse on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, about 100km southwest of Lhasa. It is 130 kilometers long, 70 kilometers wide, with an altitude of 4,441m.

The Lake has some beautiful and vivid names like Coral Lake, derived from its irregular shape or Green Jade Lake implying its beautiful appearance with smooth and clean waters. Yamdrok Lake is fan-shaped, spreading to the south but narrowing up to the north. The reflection of sunshine in different depths lends the lake gorgeous and mysterious colors. The mountainous lakeshore is highly crenellated, with numerous bays and inlets. Like mountains, lakes are considered sacred by Tibetan people, the principle being that they are the dwelling places of protective deities and therefore invested with special spiritual powers. Yamdrok Lake is one of four particularly holy lakes, thought to be divinatory; everyone from the Dalai Lama to local villagers makes pilgrimages there. The others such lakes are Lhamo La-tso, Namtso and Manasarovar. The lake is revered as a talisman and is said to be part of the life-spirit of the Tibetan ethnic group. It is said that if its waters dry, Tibet will no longer be habitable. The lake is home to the famous Samding Monastery which is on a peninsula jutting into the lake. This monastery is the only Tibetan monastery to be headed by a female re-incarnation. Since it is not a nunnery, its female abbot heads a community of about thirty monks and nuns. Samding Monastery is where Dorje Pakmo, the only female Lama in Tibet, stayed and presided, and stands to the south of Lake Yamdrok Yumtso.

Yamdrok Lake is a holy destination of the Buddhists. Paying a visit to the lake, you may meet many pilgrims on the way and see the prayers turning their prayer wheels walking around it.

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