Yamdrok Lake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok-tso.jpg
photographed from the Gampa pass (on the road between Lhasa and Gyantse)
Coordinates 28°56′N 90°41′E / 28.933°N 90.683°E / 28.933; 90.683Coordinates: 28°56′N 90°41′E / 28.933°N 90.683°E / 28.933; 90.683
Basin countries China
Max. length 72 km (45 mi)
Surface area 638 km2 (246 sq mi)
Surface elevation 4,441 m (14,570 ft)
Yamdrok Lake (at the top) and Lake Puma Yumco from space, November 1997
Yak near Yamdrok lake

Yamdrok Lake (also known as Yamdrok Yumtso or Yamzho Yumco; Tibetan: ཡར་འབྲོག་གཡུ་མཚོ་Wylie: yar-'brog g.yu-mtsho, ZYPY: Yamzhog Yumco; Chinese: 羊卓雍錯湖; pinyin: Yángzhuō Yōngcuò Hú) is a freshwater lake in Tibet, it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet (28°56′N 90°41′E / 28.933°N 90.683°E / 28.933; 90.683). It is over 72 km (45 mi) long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake has an outlet stream at its far western end.

Around 90 km to the west of the lake lies the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northeast. According to local mythology, Yamdok Yumtso lake is the transformation of a goddess.

Yamdrok Lake has a power station that was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Baidi at the lake’s western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.[1]

Physical data[edit]

The lake (638 km² in area, of depth unknown) is fan-shaped, spreading to the south but narrowing up to the north. The mountainous lakeshore is highly crenellated, with numerous bays and inlets. Lake Yamdrok freezes in winter.

Cultural significance[edit]

Like mountains, lakes are considered sacred by Tibetan people, the principle being that they are the dwelling places of protective deities and therefore invested with special spiritual powers. Yamdrok Lake is one of four particularly holy lakes, thought to be divinatory; everyone from the Dalai Lama to local villagers makes pilgrimages there. It is considered sacred as one of the four "Great Wrathful Lakes" guarded by the goddess Dorje Gegkyi Tso.[1] The others such lakes are Lhamo La-tso, Namtso and Manasarovar. The lake is revered as a talisman and is said to be part of the life-spirit of the Tibetan nation. The largest lake in southern Tibet, it is said that if its waters dry, Tibet will no longer be habitable.

The lake, its islands, and the surrounding area are closely associated with Padmasambhava, the Second Buddha, who brought Buddhism to Tibet in 8th century AD.[1] The lake is home to the famous Samding Monastery which is on a peninsula jutting into the lake. This monastery is the only Tibetan monastery to be headed by a female re-incarnation. Since it is not a nunnery, its female abbot heads a community of about thirty monks and nuns. Samding Monastery is where Dorje Pakmo, the only female Lama in Tibet, stayed and presided, and stands to the south of Lake Yamdrok Yumtso.[2]

Today, both pilgrims and tourists can be seen walking along the lake's perimeter. One of the lake's islands contains an old fort or castle called Pede Dzong.

Economic significance[edit]

There are shoals of fish living in Yamdrok Lake, which are commercially exploited by local population. From April to October, fish caught from this lake are sold at markets in Lhasa, Tibet's capital.

Additionally, the lake's islands serve as rich pasture land to local herdsmen.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Petra Seibert and Lorne Stockman. "The Yamdrok Tso Hydropower Plant in Tibet: A Multi-facetted and Highly Controversial Project". Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  2. ^ [1]

References[edit]