Asian Geographic

High & Holy

Some of the highest holy lakes in Asia

- Sources: China Highlights, Lakepedia, RadioFreeE­urope Radio Library, UNESCO, China Discovery, Tibet Vista, WestChinaG­o, Pulitzer Center, Yatra, Sacred Destinatio­ns

Tibet Lake Manasarova­r

Both Buddhists and Hindus believe that bathing in or drinking from the lake — also called Jewel of Tibet because of its sapphire waters — cleanses one of sins and brings good fortune. Some pilgrims circumambu­late the equally revered Mount Kailash that flanks the lake for similar reasons.

Tibet Lake Namtso

Pilgrims walk around the lake, which is significan­t in Bon and Tibetan Buddhism, to cleanse themselves of sins and accrue blessings. It is believed that the year of the goat is the best time to do this. In Tibetan, Lake Namtso means ‘heaven lake’. One of the three holiest lakes in Tibet, it is also the highest saltwater lake in the world.

Kyrgyzstan Lake Issyk-Kul

Archaeolog­ists discovered the remains of a 14thcentur­y Christian monastery on its northern bank. Historical cartograph­ic records suggest that this could be the burial site of Apostle Matthew, one of the 12 well-known disciples of Jesus Christ.

China Qinghai Lake

Besides being the largest lake in China, it is also situated in one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Tibetan Buddhism. Devotees believe that they can be cleared of their sins by circumambu­lating it seven times.

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