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Mapham Yum Tso (it is Manasarovar in Sanskrit) is located 35 kilometers in the northeast of Pulan County, Ali (Ngari) Prefecture in western Tibet and between the main peak Kangrinboqe of the Gangdise Mountains and Naimona’nyi Peak of the Himalayas. It is the second largest natural freshwater lake in China, the most transparent freshwater lake in China. Besides, it is one of the three "sacred lakes" in Tibet, the other two sacred lakes are Lake Yamdrok (Yamzho Yumco) in Shannan Prefecture and Nam Tso in the north of Tibet.
Shape like a "pear", wide in the north and narrow in the south, The lake is 26 kilometers long about the long axis and is 21 kilometers long about the short axis. With 4588 meters above sea level, the lake is with 46 meters in average water depth and 81.8 meters in maximum water depth. With straight shoreline, Manasarovar (Mapham Yum Tso) boasts a circumference of 82 kilometers and an area of 412 square kilometers. The lake is very clear with a transparency of 14 meters. The lake water has a salinity of 400 milligram per litre, including micro elements such as boron, lithium, and fluorine. It is mainly supplied by glacial melting water and rainwater, and some spring water. The lake area is dominated by animal husbandry and the lake produces Cyprinif Ormes and Naked Carp.
Mapham Yum Tso means “invincible green lake”, Mapham meaning invincible and Yum Tso meaning green lake.
According to the cosmology of ancient India and Buddhism, the four rivers that flow through Indian originate from Mapham Yum Tso (Manasarovar), including Indus, Ganges, Sutlej and Brahmaputra. Actually, just Sutlej originates from it but the other three rivers originate from the nearby of it.
The "source of the four major rivers" recorded in Dharma of g.yung drung bon (Bonism) of ancient Xang Xung Kingdom refers to the mother of the sacred lake, Mapham Yum Tso, Maquanhe River in the east, Peacock River in the south, Xiangquanhe River in the west , Shiquanhe River in the north.
Kangrinboqe Peak (Kailash) and Mapham Yum Tso (Manasarovar) are honored as sacred mountain and sacred lake by g.yung drung bon (Bonism) of ancient Xang Xung Kingdom, Indian Buddhism, Hinduism and Jaina.
Tibetan Buddhism believers think that Mapham Yum Tso (Manasarovar) is the purest lake and is the sweet dew given by Shengle Grand Buddha. Its immensely pristine water and pure holy water can clean troubles and sines of human’s soul.
Boasting the reputation of “the mother of all rivers in the world”, Mapham Yum Tso (Manasarovar) is the place that was called “jade pool of the western paradise” by Xuanzang who was an eminent monk in Tang Dynasty in “Buddhist Records of the Western World”.
There are 8 Buddhist monasteries along the shores of Manasarovar. The most well-known one is Chiu, located on the northwest shore of the lake. The other monasteries clockwise from Chiu are Cherkip and Langbona in north that is built on the basis of a cave practiced by five hundred Arhats, Seralung of Drikung Sect in the east, Yerngo of Sakya Sect in the southeast, Trugo of Gelug Sect in the south and Gossul Kargyu Sect in the southwest.
Being immersed in the pilgrimage kora of Kailash and Manasarovar, thousands of Tibetan devotees and explorers from all over the world also leave their unswerving footprints on the lake shore with 82 kilometers (51 miles) each year. Thousands of Hindus from India also make pilgrimage kora around the lake each year, most of them drive around the lake. There is an earth road along the lake that it takes you about 3 hours to drive.
A salt lake Lhanag Tso that is separate by a road with Manasarovar Lake. Meaning “toxic black lake”, Lhanag Tso is also called “ghost lake” because its saltish lake water doesn’t be drank by people and animal.
As per Hindu mythology, this lake was first created in the mind of the Lord Brahma to provide an appropriate bathing place for his sons who is ascetic practice around the holy mountain. Hence, bathing in the lake during kora is a tradition of Hindus to get cleansed. But Tibetans are just walk or kowtow around the lake. For tourists, although the lake water is very cold in the most warmest season and the wind near the lake is very strong...
Since ancient times, when people referred to the Kangrinboqe Summit (Kailash), it naturally connected Mapham Yum Tso (Manasarovar), not far from the south of the mountain, with its tantalizing legends, beautiful natural landscapes and rich human landscapes. World’s holiest mountain and lake accompanied with extreme divinity ardently followed by thousands of pilgrims every year, and Kailash and Manasarovar carry a massive spiritual significance.