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Mountain Lakes of Nepal

Nepal is a treasure trove of natural beauty: majestic mountains, verdant forests with an exotic collection
of flora and fauna, pristine rivers, cascading waterfalls and mesmerizing mountain lakes.The mountain
lakes, some of which are located at an altitude of 5,000m and above, have a placid and serene beauty.
There are many religious legends attached to their origin, thus making these lakes consecrated and holy
sites among the locals. These lakes are popular as pilgrimage sites among Hindus, Buddhists and Bons.
These lakes also fall on some of the popular trekking trails. So even if you are not a pilgrim, you can
always trek to these sacred lakes. Some of the popular mountain lakes in Nepal are:

Gosainkunda, Bhairavkunda and Saraswatikunda in the Langtang Region


The Gosainkunda basin in the Langtang region has around twelve lakes. But the three main lakes are
Gosainkunda, Bhairavkunda and Saraswatikunda. These are some of the revered and popular lakes among
the Hindus, Buddhists and Bons. Most of the trekking trails in the Lantang-Helambu region pass the
Gosainkunda Lake.
The Gosainkunda lake which lies at an altitude of 4360m is the site for the annual Gosainkunda or Full
moon festival during the full moon day in July.Hindu pilgrims and shamans (Jhankris & Dhamis) from all
over Nepal, flock to the holy lake of Gosainkunda, the former for a purifying dip in the lake's sacred
water of the lake and the latter to initiate the novices into their fold. The shamans sing and dance the
whole night and visit the Bhairavkunda.
According to a Hindu legend Lord Shiva, created the Gosainkunda lake by piercing the glacier with his
trident to obtain water to quench his thirst after having swallowed the Kalkut poison that threatened to
destroy the world. The large rock in the center of the lake is said to be the remains of a Shiva shrine. The
Brahmins change their sacred thread (janai) on this day.
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Damodarkunda and Tilicho Lake in the Annapurna Region
The Damodar Kunda (lake) is situated to the north of the Annapurna range. The elevation of the Damodar
Kunda is 4890 meters. In the Barah Puran, a holy text of the Hindus, Lord Krishna says that, whoever visits
Damodar Kunda and takes a dip in the lake's holy water will be freed from the sins that he/she has
committed. Many pilgrims visit this lake during the full moon day of July/August every year. April to
September is also ideal to visit this lake. The Damodar lake lies at a distance of three days trek, north
east of the main Mustang trekking route and very close to Tibetan border. It lies in Upper Mustang
between Kagbeni and Muktinath, a Hindu –Buddhist pilgrimage site.
Lake Tilicho is situated high up in the scenic Manang Valley and is formed by the collected glacial melting
of the northern slopes of Annapurna and Throng Peak. The lake is 4km by 1km and rests at an altitude of
4900m. Hindu pilgrims believe that Tilicho is actually the Kak Busundi Sarovar mentioned in the Hindu
epic of Ramayan, where a crow recites the Ramayana to Garuda. It is also believed to be the place where
Lord Shiva sought solace after the death of his consort Sati.

Shey-Phoksundo Lake in Dolpa Region


Shey-Phoksundo Lake is one of Nepal’s most spectacular and second largest lake. This lake is considered
sacred by the locals of Dolpo. It is 4.8km long, 1.8km wide and is said to be 650m deep. It spreads to an
area of 3627m. Ringed by snow-capped mountains and verdant trees, this turquoise lake is considered the
jewel of Dolpo. There is no aquatic life in the lake, which makes the water brilliantly clear. According to
a Buddhist legend, Phoksundo Lake was formed by an angry demoness. The story goes that while the
demoness was fleeing from the saint Padmasambhava, she gave the villagers a turquoise with the promise
that they would not disclose that she had passed by. But Padmasambhava turned the turquoise into dung.
This upset the villagers and they revealed the demoness' whereabouts to Padmasambhava. The demoness,
in her rage, caused a flood that washed away the entire village and turned the spot into a huge lake. That
is how the locals say Shey- Phoksundo Lake came into existence high up in the mountains. It is said, you
can see the remains of the village below the lake's surface. Since the Buddhist consider this lake holy,
bathing and swimming in its water is prohibited. A trek to Lower Dolpo will take you to the shores of this
picturesque lake.

Gokyo Lakes in the Everest Region


The five Gokyo lakes in the Everest region are some of the most scenic and photographed spots in the
Everest region. The third of these lakes at 4750m is known as Dudh Pokhari(milk pond) and on its scenic
shores lie the Gokyo kharka where you can avail of the lodge facilities. The fourth lake is at an altitude of
4870m and the locals call it Donag. There are some excellent views that you can get from around this
spot. The fifth of the Gokyo lakes is situated at an altitude of 4990m.One can also see the famous
Ngozumpa glacier from the east side of the lake.You can view all these lakes by trekking to the Everest
Base Camp.

Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure


Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure is a reputed Nepalese agency that has been organizing treks and
expedition to three of the Himalayan nations: Nepal, Autonomous region of Tibet, India and Bhutan for
more then ten years. Explore Himalaya has created trekking itineraries and programs that takes the
visitor to all the lakes listed above. For more information on these programs, you can browse Explore
Himalaya's websites www.explorehimalaya.com and www.explore-himalaya.com.

Bhairab Kunda

Gosaikunda
Trekking Gosaikunda

Rhododendron