Mampang Yumco Lake

Buddhist followers believe the water can wash away "five malignancies of the human soul (greed, anger, craziness, sloth and jealousy)" and can remove uncleanliness from human skin. As a result, the holy lake is crowded with people who come to take a bath there every year. These people also carry water from the holy lake on their long journeys back home, and share it with their relatives and friends.

Four bathing gates lead to the holy lake: the Gate of Lotus Baths in the east, the Gate of Sweat Baths in the south, the Gate of Filth-Removing Baths in the west, and the Gate of Belief Baths in the north.

The holy lake also has four headwaters: Maquanhe River in the east, Shiquanhe River in the north, Xiangquanhe River in the west, and Kongquehe River in the south. The four rivers are named after the four supernatural animals in paradise -- the horse, lion, elephant and peacock. They are are also the origins of four well-known rivers in South Asia: the Ganges, Indus River, Sutlei River andYarlung Zangbo River. Mapam Yumco Lake's reputation as mother of the rivers in the world was probably established due to this.

The water of the lake is regarded as dew bestowed from heaven. Drinking it or dipping oneself in it helps build up healthy qualities, removes annoyance and prolongs life. Tibetans deem all fish or feathers they take from the lake or lakeside as gifts from the Dragon King. This is why people who come to take a ritual walk around the holy mountain Kangrinboqe also walk around the lake. Many tend to prostrate themselves and then crawl to complete a circuit in a week.


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