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Nepal's Magnificent Lakes In The Lap Of Himalayas

Originally Published On Tripoto |

Nepal is an awesome country with Majestic Himalayas, Magical Atmosphere, and Marvelous culture. Journeys to Nepal helps travelers discover wide varieties of its beauty. Besides many, glistening white mountains attracts the tourist most and those mountainous regions are the home for amazing lakes, which not only holds serenity but spirituality too. Glacial-fed lakes that are situated above 4000 meters are first choice of high altitude trekkers visiting Nepal.

Here, I am featuring some of the spectacular lakes that you can consider visiting.

1. Gokyo

Gokyo Lake / Wikipedia.org

Gokyo Lakes are a series of six oligotrophic glacial lakes in Nepal's Sagarmatha National Park, home of the highest mountain in the world - Mount Everest. It is located at an altitude of 4,700–5,000 m above sea level making them some of the world's highest freshwater lakes. Gokyo lakes are fed from the Ngozumpa Glacier. Trekkers often visit Gokyo Lakes as a side trip on the popular Mount Everest Base Camp trek.

Gokyo Cho, also called Dudh Pokhari, is the main lake of the system and Thonak Cho the largest one. Gyazumpa Cho, Tanjung Cho, Ngozumpa Cho, and Longbanga Cho are other lakes. Water from those glacier-fed freshwater wetlands forms Dudh Kosi river.

The Gokyo Lakes are spectacularly awesome. The panoramic views of 8000 plus mountains in the background adds more beauty in the scene. The Gokyo Lakes are considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. The site is worshiped as the residing place of ‘Nag Devata’ (Snake God); a temple of the Hindu deities Lords Vishnu and Shiva is situated at the western corner of the lake.

Gokyo Lakes / Dario Severi

The bird eye view of lakes along with small Gokyo village can be seen by climbing Gokyo Ri, which also provides the opportunity to view Mt Everest and Cho Oyu. The sparkling, pristine blue and green waters of the Gokyo Lakes unarguably tops the list of beautiful lakes of Nepal.

2. Tilicho

Tilicho Lake / Susheel Shrestha

Tilicho Lake standing at an altitude of 4919 meters is known as the highest lake for its size in the world. Located in the Manang District, a glacial lake, Tilicho is a famous destination in the popular Annapurna Circuit Trek. The Khangsar, Muktinath peak, Nilgiri and Tilicho are some surrounding peaks of the lake that adds beauty to the lake’s acreage. Trekkers visit Tilicho Lake as a side trip on Annapurna Circuit Trek. The lake discharge into Marsyangdi river.

Frozen Tilicho Lake / Dmitry A. Mottl

In 2000, a Russian diving team conducted a scuba dive in Tilicho Lake making it the highest ever altitude scuba dives.

3. Gosainkunda

Gosainkunda Lake - a scared lake for Hindus as well as Buddhist is located in Langtang region. Trek to Gosainkunda is considered a short, easy and scenic one that is near from Kathmandu. The area consist of 108 small - medium sized lakes. Surya Kunda, Bhairabh Kunda, Saraswati Kunda etc. some of the prominent lakes. The trek offers panoramic view of majestic mountains - Mt. Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Himal Chuli, Mt. Manaslu and Mt. Annapurna range as well on a clear day.

Gosainkunda during winter / Saroj Pandey

Hindu mythology attributes Gosainkunda as the abode of the Hindu deities Shiva and Gauri. Gosainkunda is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva when he thrust his Trishul (holy Trident) into a mountain to extract its water so that he could cool his stinging throat after swallowing a poison that was threatening to destroy the world.

Gosainkunda and Bhairav Kunda / Mohan Duwal

The lake sips down to form the Trishuli River and remains frozen in the winter.

4. Shey Phoksundo

Panorama of Phoksundo Lake / Carsten Nebel

Phoksundo Lake is also an alpine and fresh water lake. It is located in Shey Phoksundo National Park, at an elevation of 3,612 m. The lake is 1.91 sq. mile in size and maximum depth is measured as 145 m. that is claimed to be the deepest of all lakes in the country. Phoksundo’s exotic turquoise blue color and surrounding Himalayan peaks remains in the memory of the visitors for a long time.

Phoksundo Lake / myhimalayas.com

The human settlement is on the southern end of the lake on the 30,000 - 40,000 year-old landslide dam, which is called Ringmo village. The lake is formed by the same landslide. Past the dam, the waters of the lake plunge over a 167 m tall waterfall.

There are more than 20 Stupas in the area, where annual prayers and worship are carried out. Traditional Tibetan culture prevails in upper Dolpo and Buddhism is prevalent in lower Dolpo, including Ringmo village.

5. Tsho Rolpa

Frozen Tsho Rolpa / Wikipedia.org

Tsho Rolpa (also Cho Rolpa) is one of the biggest glacial lakes in Nepal. The lake, which is located at an altitude of 4,580 metres in the Rolwaling Valley, Dolakha , has grown considerably over the last 50 years due to glacial melting in the Himalayas. The lake threatens to burst through its unstable dam, which threaten the lives and livestock of villagers living around.

Tsho Rolpa / icimod.org
Cho Rolpa / Google Maps

Rolwaling valley is another attraction, which is the home to famous peaks such as Mount Ghauri Shankar, Dorje Lakpa etc. This valley is considered as one of the seven hidden valleys in the Himalayas. As the Rolwaling region lies between Langtang range and Everest range the sides of both Mt. Langtang and Mt. Everest are the highlights. The trekkers will be rewarded with the enchanting view of Majestic Mountain Gaurishankar. The trail follows the course of Tamakoshi river. As this is a wild and barely explored area where legendary tales of the abominable snowman, known as the "Yeti", haunt the imagination of climbers.

6. Panch Pokhari

As the name suggests, 'Panch Pokhari' is a group of 5 holy lakes in the Sindhupalchowk situated at an elevation of about 4100m. It is 9th highest altitude wetland in the world. The lake during Janai Purnima is a popular destination for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. Panch Pokhari is one of the main highlights of Langtang National Park.

Panch Pokhari / orbitalpine.com

The Panch Pokhari region is encompassed by various Himalayas, which are Langtang Himalayan Range, Jugal Himalayan Range, Mt. Dorje Lakpa, Mt. Phurbi Chyaachu, Mt. Madiya, and others. The Panch Pokhari region is geographically landlocked making it remote and unspoiled from outside world. There are various traditional villages in Panch Pokhari region who have been living in traditional mountain culture, society and religion different from outside world. Panch Pokhari is a remote and unfrequented region, despite being close to the capital city.

7. Rara

Rara Lake / Aadesh Baniya

Rara lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Mugu, Nepal, at 2990 meters. Sitting in a valley surrounded by lush forests and stunning mountain vistas, Rara offers an unspoiled surroundings, which enthralls the nature lover.

Top View of Rara Lake

The lake area is made up of long ridges covered with temperate forests and alpine pastures.

8. Gangapurna

Gangapurna is a glacial lake situated on the foothills of Gangapurna Peak. It is one of the touristic attractions of Manang, which offers a magnificent view of the Annapurna mountain Range for the travelers following Annapurna Circuit.

Gangapurna Lake / davidkvcs.com

9. Guphapokhari

Guphapokhari is a natural pond situated at the height of 2,890 metres in Sankhuwasabha. This beautiful lake is a holy pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. The name "Guphapokhari", which means Cave Pond, is a new name given to this about 50 years ago, by Sages and priests who were believed to meditate in the caves around the hills of this area and gave it its new name. Previously, it was called "Siddha Marga" Pokhari. Locals believe that this pond grants the wishes.

Guphapokhari / Wikipedia.org

Guphapokhari is one of the most popular destinations in the Tinjure Milke Jaljale Trail, which is famously known as the "Rhododendron capital of Nepal". This region boasts the highest number of Rhododendron Species, 28 out of 32 found in Nepal. Thousands of flowers and plants, hundreds species of birds, numerous species of Mammal and the magnificent view of Mt. Makalu, Mt. Kanchanjunga and Mt. Everest are other major attractions. The reflection of the tree, and the mountain ranges is one of the most iconic view of this location. On a clear night, reflection of milky way can also be seen in the pond.

10. Khaptad

Khaptad Lake / ghumphir.com

Khaptad Lake is a lake in Doti of far western Nepal. The lake is situated at north-eastern part of Khaptad National Park at an altitude of 3,050 m.

Khaptad Lake / Subas Adhikari

Khaptad is a hidden treasure of Nepal. Due to its remoteness, it is still relatively untouched land for travelers making it a perfect destination for the adventurer looking for a real wilderness experience.


Mai Pokhari

Mai Pokhari / Saroj Pandey

Mai Pokhari is a mid-hill wetland designated as Ramsar site located in Ilam at the elevation of 2100m. It cover over 12 hectares and is 13 KM away from Ilam city. It is a major habitat for indigenous animal species like tree frog, and Himalayan newt and habitat for more than 300 species of birds. Mai Pokhari holds cultural and religious significance for Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims.

Mai Pokhari / Saroj Pandey

About a km hike covers the the circumference of the pond gets you closer to the nature; one unique thing about the lake is that all corners are not visible from any one corner - may need a drone to view the actual shape.

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Contents compiled through various sources. Photographs Copyright to the photographers.

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