September 13, 2010

Pilgrim tents on the shore of Namtso backed by the Nyainqêntanglha mountain range, Tibet, China

Location: Namtso, Tibet, China, (30° 42′ 0″ N, 90° 33′ 0″ E)
Date: 21 April 2003; 7.05am
Camera: Canon G1

Namtso meaning Heavenly Lake in Tibetan, is one of 3 holy lakes of Tibet; the other 2 are Manasarovar and Yamdroktso. Namtso is also the biggest lake in Tibet, the highest lake (4,718m) in the world and the 2nd largest saltwater lake in China (after Qinghai Lake) . Tibetans Buddhists believe Buddha will assemble to hold religious meeting at Namtso in the year of sheep on the Tibetan calendar. So circumambulation (kora) around the lake at the right moment equals 100 thousand times of that in normal years. Every year thousands of Buddhists from Tibetan areas in the 5th & 6th month of the Tibetan calendar, come to the lakeside on pilgrimage to pay homage and pray.

This and many other beautiful places in Tibet are now less accessible to foreigners like me. After the pro-Tibet protests prior to the 2008 Olympics, China had clamped down and strictly enforced the travel restrictions on foreigners to Tibet. These days no independent travellers can get to Tibet without going through the necessary paperwork. To travel there, one not only require a Tibet Travel Permit (TTB) as in the past, a full package have to be booked beforehand with guide and a vehicle ready (if one wants to travel outside Lhasa) when one lands in Lhasa. In other worlds, unlike in the past when one can do travel arrangements including vehicle while in Lhasa, all of these must be done before getting to Tibet. Furthermore there are more checkpoints where TTB are actually checked. I considered myself lucky to have already visited so many places and met so many people in Tibet- many of which were already off-limit to foreigners in the past.

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Lee Harth said...

Lovely Shot the clouds mimic the mountains.Beautiful

budget accommodation said...

I cannot see the says photo unavailable =(

Losang said...

Though the sign entering Nam Tso lists it as the "highest lake in the world", it most definitely is not. There are numerous lakes in western and northern Tibet that are much higher than Nam Tso. Though it is probably impossible to say for sure which lake is the highest in the world, there are at least 3 or 4 dozen lakes that sit above 5000m on the Tibetan Plateau. Go to Google Earth and search the lakes north and west of Nam Tso and you will find many that are much higher.