Lake Manasarovar
Overview
 
Lake Manasarovar, Mapam Yumco , or Manasa Sarovar/Lake Manas (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: मानस सरोवर), is a fresh-water lake in Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 of China approximately 800 kilometres (497.1 mi) from Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

. To the west of Lake Manasa Sarovar is Lake Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal is a lake in Tibet, lying close to the west of Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The Satluj River originates at Rakshastal's northwestern tip. Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar—over the road to Purang County, Lake Rakshastal does not share the lore of worship with...

 and towards the north is Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash is a peak in the Gangdisê Mountains, which are part of the Himalayas in Tibet...

. It is the highest body of freshwater in the world.
Lake Manasarovar lies at 4,556 m (14947.5 ft) above mean sea level, making it the highest freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

 lake in the world.
Encyclopedia
Lake Manasarovar, Mapam Yumco , or Manasa Sarovar/Lake Manas (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: मानस सरोवर), is a fresh-water lake in Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 of China approximately 800 kilometres (497.1 mi) from Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

. To the west of Lake Manasa Sarovar is Lake Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal is a lake in Tibet, lying close to the west of Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The Satluj River originates at Rakshastal's northwestern tip. Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar—over the road to Purang County, Lake Rakshastal does not share the lore of worship with...

 and towards the north is Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash is a peak in the Gangdisê Mountains, which are part of the Himalayas in Tibet...

. It is the highest body of freshwater in the world.

Geography

Lake Manasarovar lies at 4,556 m (14947.5 ft) above mean sea level, making it the highest freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

 lake in the world. It is relatively round in shape with the circumference of 88 kilometres (54.7 mi). Its depth is 90 m (295.3 ft) and its surface area is 320 square kilometres (123.6 sq mi). It is connected to nearby Lake Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal is a lake in Tibet, lying close to the west of Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The Satluj River originates at Rakshastal's northwestern tip. Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar—over the road to Purang County, Lake Rakshastal does not share the lore of worship with...

 by the natural Ganga Chhu
Ganga Chhu
Between lake Manasarovar and Rakshas Tal in their northern part exists the river of Ganga having extent about 10 km . Now owing to fall of level of lake Manasarovar the visible source of the river of Ganges from Manasarovar is absent...

 channel. Manasarovar is the source of the Sutlej River which is the easternmost large tributary of the Indus. Nearby are the sources of the Brahmaputra River, the Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

, and the Karnali River (Ghaghara) which is an important tributary of the Ganges River
Ganges River
The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

, so this region is the hydrographic nexus of the Himalaya.

Religious significance

In Hinduism

As per Hindu theology, Lake Manasa Sarovar is a personification of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake will go to the Abode of Lord Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 after death. He is believed to be cleansed of all his sins committed over even a hundred lifetimes..

Like Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash is a peak in the Gangdisê Mountains, which are part of the Himalayas in Tibet...

, Lake Manasa Sarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious people from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 and the neighboring countries. Bathing in the Manasa Sarovar and drinking its water is believed to cleanse all sins. Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 tours are organized regularly, especially from India, the most famous of which is the Kailash Manasa Sarovar Yatra which takes place every year. Pilgrims come to take ceremonial baths in the cleansing waters of the lake.

Manasa Sarovar lake has long been viewed by the pilgrims as the source of four of the greatest rivers of Asia namely Brahmaputra, Karnali, Indus and Sutlej
Sutlej
The Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.The Sutlej...

. So it is an axial point which has been thronged by pilgrims for thousands of years. The region was initially closed to pilgrims from outside and no foreigners were allowed between 1949 and 1980. But after the 80s it has again become a part of the Indian pilgrim trail.

According to Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 religion, the lake was first created in the mind of the Lord Brahma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

 after which it manifested on Earth.
Hence, in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 it is called "Manas sarovara", which is a combination of the words manas (mind) and sarovara (lake). The lake, in Hindu religious belief, is also supposed to be the summer abode of Hamsa goose. Considered to be sacred, the Hamsa is an important element in the symbology of the subcontinent, representing wisdom and beauty.

In Buddhism

Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

s also associate the lake to the legendary lake known as Anavatapta
Anavatapta
Anavatapta is the lake lying at the center of the world, according to an ancient Buddhist cosmological view. The name Anavatapta means "heat-free"; the waters of the lake were thought to be able to soothe the fires that torment beings...

 in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 and Anotatta in Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

, where Queen Maya
Queen Maya
Queen Māyā of Sakya was the birth mother of the historical Gautama Buddha, Siddhārtha of the Gautama gotra, and sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha. "Māyā" means "illusion" or "enchantment" in Sanskrit and Pāli. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā and Māyādevī...

 is believed to have conceived Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

. The lake has a few monasteries on its shores. The most notable of which is the ancient Chiu Gompa Monastery, which has been built right onto a steep hill. It looks as if it has been carved right out of the rock. Lake is very popular in Buddhist literature and associate with many teachings and stories in Buddhism. Lord Buddha used to stay and meditate near this great lake for several occasions. It is a saying that famous Uturu-kuru divaina (island or mountain range) was nearby the Anavatapta vila. However, more evidence show that Uturu-kuru divaina was Kuril islands kuril islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

, as the sanskrit meaning of Uturu-kuru is Nothern-men as Kur meaning man, in Ainu
Ainu language
Ainu is one of the Ainu languages, spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō....

 language.

Further reading

  • Allen, Charles. (1999). The Search for Shangri-La
    Shangri-La
    Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains...

    : A Journey into Tibetan History
    . Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: Abacus, London. 2000. ISBN 0-349-111421.
  • "A Tibetan Guide for Pilgrimage to Ti-se (Mount Kailas) and mTsho Ma-pham (Lake Manasarovar)." Toni Huber and Tsepak Rigzin. In: Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places In Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays. (1999) Edited by Toni Huber, pp. 125–153. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P., India. ISBN 81-86470-22-0.
  • Lake Mansarovar is mentioned in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (Sacred book of the Sikhs)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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