Namtso Sky Lake

Namtso, Tibetan for 'Sky Lake', lies at an elevation of 4,718 m (15,479 ft.), and has a surface area of 1,920 km (740 sq. mi.). This salt lake is the largest in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and is the highest saltwater lake in the world. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, open grasslands, yak herds and nomads, the crystal clear water of Namtso is one of the most beautiful places in Tibet.

The lake has five uninhabited islands that were traditionally used for spiritual retreat. Pilgrims walked over the lake's frozen surface at the end of winter, carrying their food and supplies, and then, spend the summer months in retreat, unable to return to shore until the water froze the following winter.

There are also five peninsulas. Tashi Dor in the southeast and today is where most of

the spiritual activities happen nowadays. It is a limestone peninsula with a natural stone bridge connecting stone peaks and rock caves that are filled with stalactites.There is also a large cave with a natural lotus pagoda inside. There are more then fifty small caves and small chapels. Although much was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, monks and nuns have been returning and rebuilding the cave temples and residences. One can also enjoy an endless variety of birds, hares and other local wildlife that are part of the ecosystem of this picturesque destination.

It is said that Namtso is the wife of the protector god of Nyenchen Tonglha Mountains and the incarnation of Vajrayogini. Buddhist pilgrims walk around the pilgrimage trail lined with stone walls and caves, boasting breathtaking scenery.

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