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Basum Tso Lake
Holy Lake of Nyingma Sect

Tibetan. With 3480 meters above sea level, Basum Tso is about 18 kilometers long, an average width of about 1.5 kilometers, and surface area of 27 square kilometers. The deepest point of the lake reaches 120 meters.

In August 2017, Basum Tso was officially known as Tibet's first and only natural 5A-level tourist scenic spot of China.

Located in Gongbo’gyamda County, it is about 120 kilometers away from county city in the deep valley of the upper reaches of Bahe River, only 20 kilometers away from G318, the south route of Sichuan-Tibet Highway. It is a famous holy lake of the Nyingma Sect.

The lake is surrounded by mountains and enjoys a temperate climate. At the feet of the snow-clapped mountains, the vegetation is luxuriant and the trees of black maples, birches, pines, cypresses and azaleas connect each other to form a world of greenery.

There are many birds and beasts in the area, such as Macaca Mulatta, Cervus Albirostris, Panthera Pardus, Panthera Uncia, Black Bear, Cervus Elaphus, Mustela, Lutra Lutra, Grus Nigricollis, GIant Rubber Duck, Alauda Arvensis, Sea Gull, White Crane and so on.

The lake surface does not ice up in winter. The replenishment of the lake water comes from the rainfall and melting snow and ice. The lake is rich in the resources of water conservancy.

About 3 kilometers to the south bank of the lake there is the small Tashi Island covering an area of about 2,000 square meters. The ancient Tsodzong Monastery of Nyingma Sect stands on the island. It goes back 1,500 years ago during the time of the Tubo Tsanpo’s reign. Thousand-hand Bodhisattva and golden boy and jade girl are mainly worshipped in the temple. The round recesses on the cobbles at the feet of the statue of Yamantaka is said to be the hoof traces left by Gesar’s horse. Every year crowds of pilgrims come from all directions to circumambulate the lake, pour butter for the lamps, burn joss sticks and pray in the temple. On every corner of the island the magical legends are distributed: the sword trace on the rock by Gesar King; the Tibetan characters natural formed on the leaves; the footprint on the stone by Songtsen Gampo; the holy spring Padmasambhava once washed his face with its water and so on. All of these make you to be filled with respect and admiration. The Basum Tso Lake is quiet and around it is the typical glacier topography with V-shaped valleys, horns and cirques.

The Tibetans who live in Gongbo’gyamda County are called “Gongbo people” by other Tibetan people. They have their own costume, special buildings, different festivals, and even different dialect. Enter the Jieba Village that maintains pure and rustic style of Gongbo, visiting a family at Jieba Village, and you will be treated warmly by them.

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