Lake Manasarovar

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Manasarovar
Yaks-Kailash-Manasarovar.jpg
Lake Manasarovar with Mount Kailash in a distance.
Location Tibet
Coordinates 30°39′N 81°27′E / 30.65°N 81.45°E / 30.65; 81.45Coordinates: 30°39′N 81°27′E / 30.65°N 81.45°E / 30.65; 81.45
Surface area 410 km2 (160 sq mi)
Max. depth 90 m (300 ft)
Surface elevation 4,590 m (15,060 ft)
Frozen Winter

Lake Manasarovar (Sanskrit: मानसरोवर, IAST: Mánsarovar), Manas Sarovara or Mapam Yumtso, is the highest body of freshwater lake[clarification needed] in the world,[citation needed] fed by the Kailash Glaciers[1] near Mount Kailash in Tibet. The lake is revered a sacred place in four religions: Bön, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism.

Etymology[edit]

The Sanskrit word "Manasarovar" is a combination of two sanskrit words; "Mánas" meaning "mind (in its widest sense as applied to all the mental powers), intellect, intelligence, understanding, perception, sense, conscience"[2] while "sarovara" means "a lake or large pond"[3].

According to Hinduism, the lake was first created in the mind of the Lord Brahma after which it manifested on Earth.[4]

The Lake Manasarovar is also known as Mapam Yumtso (Tibetan: མ་ཕམ་གཡུ་མཚོ།Wylie: ma pham g.yu mtsho; 圣湖 (simplified), 圣湖 (traditional))

Geography[edit]

Map of the region

Lake Manasarovar lies at 4,590 m (15,060 ft) above mean sea level, a relatively high elevation for a large freshwater lake on the mostly saline lake-studded Tibetan Plateau.

Lake Manasarovar is relatively round in shape with the circumference of 88 km (54.7 mi). Its depth reaches a maximum depth of 90 m (300 ft)[citation needed] and its surface area is 320 km2 (123.6 sq mi). It is connected to nearby Lake Rakshastal by the natural Ganga Chhu channel. Lake Manasarovar is near the source of the Sutlej, which is the easternmost large tributary of the Sindhu. Nearby are the sources of the Brahmaputra River, the Indus River, and the Ghaghara, an important tributary of the Ganges.

Lake Manasarovar overflows into Lake Rakshastal which is a salt-water endorheic lake. These lakes used to be part of the Sutlej basin and were separated due to tectonic activity.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Lake Manasarovar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −3.2
(26.2)
−2.0
(28.4)
0.9
(33.6)
6.4
(43.5)
10.2
(50.4)
13.7
(56.7)
13.7
(56.7)
13.1
(55.6)
13.1
(55.6)
11.1
(52)
6.5
(43.7)
1.0
(33.8)
7.04
(44.68)
Daily mean °C (°F) −8.9
(16)
−7.6
(18.3)
−4.2
(24.4)
−0.1
(31.8)
3.1
(37.6)
7.1
(44.8)
8.4
(47.1)
8.0
(46.4)
8.0
(46.4)
5.4
(41.7)
−0.2
(31.6)
−5.1
(22.8)
1.16
(34.07)
Average low °C (°F) −14.5
(5.9)
−13.1
(8.4)
−9.2
(15.4)
−6.6
(20.1)
−4.0
(24.8)
0.6
(33.1)
3.1
(37.6)
3.0
(37.4)
−0.2
(31.6)
−6.8
(19.8)
−11.1
(12)
−13.3
(8.1)
−6.01
(21.18)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 52
(2.05)
34
(1.34)
52
(2.05)
30
(1.18)
26
(1.02)
40
(1.57)
125
(4.92)
135
(5.31)
66
(2.6)
29
(1.14)
7
(0.28)
18
(0.71)
614
(24.17)
Source: Climate-Data.org

Religious significance[edit]

View from Chiu Gompa Monastery
Satellite view of lakes Manasarovar (right) and Rakshastal with Mount Kailash in the background
Lake Manasarovar.

In Hinduism[edit]

In Hinduism, Lake Manasarovar is a personification of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake will go to the abode of Shiva after death. He is believed to be cleansed of all his sins committed over even a hundred lifetimes.[5]

Like Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious people from India, Nepal, Tibet and neighboring countries. Bathing in Manasarovar and drinking its water is believed by Hindus to cleanse all sins.[6] Pilgrimage tours are organized regularly, especially from India, the most famous of which is the yearly "Kailash Manas Sarovar Yatra". Pilgrims come to take ceremonial baths in the waters of the lake.

Lake Manasarovar has long been viewed by the pilgrims as being nearby to the sources of four great rivers of Asia, namely the Brahmaputra, Ghaghara, Sindhu and Sutlej, thus it is an axial point which has been thronged to by pilgrims for thousands of years. The region was closed to pilgrims from the outside following the Battle of Chamdo; no foreigners were allowed between 1951 and 1980. After the 1980s it has again become a part of the Indian pilgrim trail.[5]

According to the Hinduism, the lake was first created in the mind of Brahma after which it manifested on Earth.[4] Hence it is called "Manasa sarovaram", which is a combination of the Sanskrit words for "mind" and "lake". The lake is also supposed to be the summer abode of the hamsa. Considered to be sacred, the hamsa is an important element in the symbology of the subcontinent, representing wisdom and beauty.[7]

According to Hindu theology, there are five sacred lakes; collectively called Panch-Sarovar; Mansarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar.[8] They are also mentioned in Shrimad Bhagavata Purana.[9][10][8]

In the Bon religion[edit]

The Bon religion is also associated with the holy place of Zhang Zhung Meri sacred deity. When Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of the Bon religion, visited Tibet for the first time – from Tagzig Wolmo Lungring – he washed in the lake.

In Buddhism[edit]

Buddhists associate the lake with the legendary lake Anavatapta (Sanskrit; Pali Anotatta) where Maya is believed to have conceived Buddha. The lake has a few monasteries on its shores, the most notable of which is the ancient Chiu Monastery built on a steep hill, looking as if it has been carved right out of the rock.

The lake is very popular in Buddhist literature and associated with many teachings and stories. Buddha, it is reported, stayed and meditated near this lake on several occasions. Lake Manasarovar is also the subject of the meditative Tibetan tradition, "The Jewel of Tibet". A modern narration and description of the meditation was made popular by Robert Thurman.[11]

Dalai Lama[edit]

According to the legend, Lake Manasarovar is the lake in which a great Tibetan monk saw the letters "Aha", " Kha", " Mha". These three initials helped the search team to locate the current the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The three initials stand for the province, the district, and the monastery in which the current Dalai Lama was born, i.e. Ahamdho, Khunbum, and Taktser respectively.[citation needed]

In Jainism[edit]

In Jainism, Lake Manasarovar is associated with the first Tirthankara, Rishabha. As per Jain scriptures, the first Tirthankar, Bhagwan Rushabhdev, had attained nirvana on the Ashtapad Mountain. The son of Bhagwan Rushabhdev, Chakravati Bharat, had built a palace adorned with gems on the Ashtapad Mountain located in the serene Himalayas.There are many stories related to Ashtapad Maha Tirth like Kumar and Sagar's sons, Tapas Kher Parna, Ravan and Mandodri Bhakti, among many others. [12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brockman, Norbert (2011). Encyclopedia of Sacred Places, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 356. 
  2. ^ Williams, Monier. "Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary". faculty.washington.edu. mánas n. mind (in its widest sense as applied to all the mental powers), intellect, intelligence, understanding, perception, sense, conscience, will RV. &c. &c. (in phil. the internal organ or antaḥ-karaṇa of perception and cognition, the faculty or instrument through which thoughts enter or by which objects of sense affect the soul IW. 53
    • in this sense manas is always is always regarded as distinct from ātman and puruṣa, 'spirit or soul' and belonging only to the body, like which it is – except in the Nyāya – considered perishable
      line feed character in |quote= at position 342 (help)
  3. ^ Williams, Monier. "Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary". faculty.washington.edu. sarovara ○vara n. (accord. to some also m.) a lake or large pond, any piece of water deep enough for the lotus Kāv. Pur. &c  line feed character in |quote= at position 9 (help)
  4. ^ a b Charles Allen. (1999). The Search for Shangri-la: A Journey into Tibetan History, p. 10. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: Abacus, London. 2000. ISBN 0-349-11142-1.
  5. ^ a b In Search of Myths & Heroes By Michael Wood
  6. ^ Kailash Yatra. "About Holy Manasarovar Lake – Kailash Yatra". www.kailash-yatra.org. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  7. ^ Eckard Schleberger, Die Indische Götterwelt. Eugen Diederich Verlag. 1997 (in German)
  8. ^ a b [1] Encyclopaedia of tourism resources in India, Volume 2 By Manohar Sajnani
  9. ^ "Narayan Sarovar Temple in Kutch ~ KACHCHH GUIDE". Kutchguide.blogspot.com. 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  10. ^ "Kutch Visiting Places and Tourist Attraction : Kutch Guide – Gujarat". Gujaratguideonline.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  11. ^ The Jewel Tree of Tibet – Robert Thurman. Soundstrue.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-18.
  12. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report-lost-tirth-of-jains-traced-to-himalayas-1631581

External links[edit]