Namtso, a holy pearl on plateau

2011-10-12China travel Guide

I'm a travel lover who never plans to stop my steps of experiencing amazing wonders in person. That’s why I started for Tibetan Autonomous Region and spent my time there from September 19th to October 1st in spite of the possible high altitude reaction.
I took the bus from Lhasa (capital of Tibet) in the morning and a trip of some 4 hours brought me to the Namtso Lake (4718 meters above sealevel). It is one of the sacred lakes of Tibet as well as the largest salty lake in Tibet and the second largest (after Qinghai Lake) in China. It is so large, covering some 1981 square kilometers, that I couldn’t see the end of it.
I felicitated myself on being lucky enough to be welcomed by the lovely blue sky with cute cotton-like clouds. The blue was so clean that it seemed that the sky could be touched easily. Accompanied by the sky and guarding by snow-capped ranges, Namtso looked peaceful with ripples by breeze. The whole lake looked blue under the sunshine when you get close to it on the lakeside. Nevertheless, the stones in the bottom of the shallow could still be seen clearly through the crystal water.
As you can see, there are colorful flags fluttering near the lake – they are "prayer flags" put by the local pilgrims, who go to the lake to pray for good luck every "goat year". The five colors of the flags, namely, red, yellow, blue, green, white, symbolizes fire, soil, sky, water and cloud respectively.
The way that the pilgrims pray is walking around the lake clockwise and chanting sutras, which is considered to be able to wash away their guilt. According to Tibetan religionary tradition, the more one walks around the lake, the piouser he/she is. I beg the forgiveness of the Buddha for my unfinished walking because of the discomfort caused by the high altitude.  
I stood on the top on one of the high mountains by Namtso, taking a deep breathe and stretching out my arms, and felt like myself a bird above the lake. The charming view magically took all of my unhappiness away and repaid me nothing but thoroughgoing relaxation. How I wish I could be by its side at any time I felt tired!


--- By Jackie Zhang