Popular Lakes in Nepal
A small landlocked country in south-east Asia, Nepal is one of the largest sovereign Himalayan states in the continent. With eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest- the highest peak on the planet, Nepal is a country that has a gorgeous Himalayan tapestry towards the northern region. With a diverse biome that is a result of a sundry of topographical features, Nepal is also a home to various flora and fauna species. The wild life of the country is a consequence of the lush woodlands the country possesses. With many destinations brimming with characteristics of a beautiful trek, trekking in Nepal is one of the most famous adventure activities to do. With glaciers and snowy mountain peaks that are the sources of various rivers and lake, Nepal is the second-richest country in water-resources. The glacial flow and the melting of the snow of the mountain peaks give way to gorgeous rivers, lakes and various water-bodies- making Nepal a marvelous destination that is a home to an acreage of many sapphire Himalayan waters tucked away on mountain crevasses. Many of the lakes of Nepal hold religious and traditional significance and have visitors and pilgrims excursing to them from all over the world. Adding more beauty to the terrain, the cerulean lakes of Nepal are the country’s jewels that enhance the beauty of the overall landscape. With waters that reflect the surrounding mountains on their surface and lake-tinctures that resemble precious stones like lapis-lazuli and azure, the lakes of Nepal are natural phenomenons that take the role of important signees of the region they are located at. Here are some famous and important lakes in Nepal.
Gorgeous Sapphire Oligotrophic lakes located within the Sagarmatha National Park at an altitude of 4,700 to 5,000 meters above sea-level, Gokyo Lakes are the world’s highest freshwater lake systems. The lakes are comprised of six main lakes, the Gokyo Lake being the most famous and sought after. Declared as a Ramsar site, the Gokyo Lakes are highlighted sites for trekkers who travel to the Everest region for the famous Everest Gokyo Lake Trek. The first lake that makes an appearance in synchrony is the Longpongo, followed by the Toboche Tsho and thirdly, the Gokyo Cho. It is also sometimes referred to as the Dudh Pokhari. The lakes are fed by various sources, like the Ngozumpa glacier and a stream coming through from the Renjo-La Pass. Glacier-fed freshwater wetlands, the Gokyo Lakes drain into the Dudh Koshi Headway. Lying at an ecologically fragile and unstable zone, the Gokyo Lakes are naturally vulnerable. Considered sacred by both the Hindus and the Buddhist, the Gokyo Lake is a famous pilgrimage site where pilgrims take a holy bath in the lake’s waters during the Janai Purnima and Gangadashara festivals. According to Hindu mythology, the Gokyo Lake is the abode of Nag Devata- the Snake God. A temple of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva is also situated at the western corner of the lake. Protected by religious indemnity, the flora and fauna around the Gokyo lakes are beautifully preserved. The view of the Gokyo RI Himal from the lake’s setting is also a beautiful sight.
A freshwater lake located south of Pokhara valley, Fewa Lake is a prominent feature of Pokhara City. The second-largest Lake in Nepal, Fewa Lake is located at an altitude of 742 meters with the Annapurna Mountain Range lying only about 28 kilometers away. Famous for casting a marvelous reflection on its surface of the Machhapuchhre Himal, Fewa Lake is often used for recreational boating by travelers. The Taal Barahi temple is also situated on an island in the lake. As a main tourist attraction of the Pokhara city, Fewa Lake has a northern shore develop into a tourist district, commonly called the Lake-side, which has hotels, restaurants and bars catering to tourists. Boating on the Fewa Lake is often included on the famous Annapurna Base Camp Trek and the city of Pokhara is also a starting point of the trek.
Tilicho Lake is the highest located lake in Nepal, standing at an altitude of 4919 meters. Located in the Manang District of Gandaki Zone, Tilicho Lake lies 55 kilometers away from Pokhara. 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. Tilicho Lake was also the site of one of the highest ever altitude scuba dives in the early 2000s. The lake tends to be frozen over during winters and harbors no life within its waters. Lying in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Tilicho is often reached after going through the Thorung La Pass.
Located in the southernmost point of Tibet near the Nepal–Tibet border, Gosainkunda Lake is one of the pilgrimage sites for Hindu and Buddhist religions as it is stated as Lord Shiva’s lake. It is known as “Pamchu” in Tibet and as “Manslu Ochu” in China. In Newari culture, a 5-day trek called “Silu” to Mansarovar (Gosainkunda) is performed for a single dive in the lake’s waters to wash out all sins. It is believed that a “married couple” should not go to the lake together. An alpine freshwater oligotrophic lake in Nepal’s Langtang National Park, Gosainkunda Lake is a designated Ramsar site. Hindu mythology attributes Gosainkunda as the abode of the Hindu deities Shiva and Gauri. Its waters are considered holy and of particular significance during Gangadashahara and the Janai Purnima festivals when thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India visit the area. 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 Lake is often a highlighted destination of the famous Langtang Valley Trek.
Also called the Mahendra Daha, Rara Lake is considered as the biggest and the deepest Lake of Nepal. Lying at an altitude of 3200 meters, Rara Lake is situated in the Karnali Zone in the Jumla and Mugu district. A freshwater lake in the Nepali Himalaya, Rara Lake is also the main feature of the Rara National Park. In the September of 2007, the lake was also declared a Ramsar site. The Rara Lake Trek is also a famous trekking journey that travelers undergo. With the reflection of the shadows of Sisne and Kanjirowa mountains on its waters, Rara is a gorgeous lake that has an amazing surrounding with much unique floral and faunal presence with rare and vulnerable species. Agriculture being the main occupation of the people living around the lake, trekking trails to Rara are filled with sights of terrace-farms and chartreuse terrains lush with the growth of vegetation. The Thakur society is a dominant ethnic group residing along the lake. The Thakur Baba’s Temple is also situated in the south-eastern corner of the lake. Due to its sharp blue color, Rara Lake is also often referred to as “a shimmering blue jewel ring set amidst surrounding white peaks”.
An alpine freshwater lake situated in the Shey-Phoksundo National Park, Phoksundo Lake is a beautiful sapphire isle that embraces natural beauty. Located at an elevation of 3611 meters at Dolpo, Phoksundo Lake is also a designated Ramsar Site. On the lake’ southern end, the village of Ringmo sits on the 30,000- to 40,000-year-old landslide dam that formed the lake. Past the dam, the waters of the lake plunge over a 167 meter tall waterfall. There are more than 20 stupas in the southern belt of the lake, and one Gompa in the eastern side where annual prayers and worship are carried out. Traditional Tibetan culture prevails in upper Dolpo; Buddhism and Bon are prevalent in lower Dolpo, including the Ringmo village, making the Phoksundo Lake a site that is visited by many pilgrims. Upper Dolpo Trek and Lower Dolpo Trek are famous for their beautiful terrains, rich cultural diversities and sights of mountain peaks. The Phoksundo Lake is also a highlighted destination of these treks.
Situated at Kaski district in Nepal, Begnas Lake lies south-east of the Pokhara valley. The lake is the second largest, after Fewa Lake, and is among the eight lakes in Pokhara Valley. The area of Begnas Lake, with number of resorts, is a popular destination for tourists visiting Pokhara. The water from the lake is used for irrigation and some parts of the lake are used as caged fisheries also. Surrounded by beautiful paddy fields, the lake is a gorgeous destination for Annapurna region treks.
IMJA TSHO LAKE
A glacial Lake created after melted water began collecting at the foot of the Imja Glacier; the Imja Tsho Lake is one of the fastest growing lakes in the Himalayas. Held in place by a terminal moraine, Imja Tsho threatens downstream communities with the potential for a glacial outburst flood. Located at the Everest region of Nepal, the catchment of Imja Tsho occupies the northeastern part of the Dudh Koshi sub-basin. Located on the lower part of the glacier at the toe of its mother glaciers- snout of Imja and Lhotse Shar Glaciers, Imja Tsho Lake seldom makes an appearance in the famous Everest Base Camp trek with Island Peak. In 2016, the Nepalese Army constructed an outlet and drained over 4 million cubic meters of water from the lake.