Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar
--over the road to Purang County
, Lake Rakshastal does not share the lore of worship with its east neighbor. Named 'lake of the demon', Lake Rakshastal is considered to be the residence of Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Ceylon in Hindu myth. In Buddhism, Lake Manasarovar, which is round like the sun, and Lake Rakshastal, shaped as a crescent, are respectively regarded as 'brightness' and 'darkness'. Its salty water, a stark contrast to the fresh water of Lake Manasarovar, produces no waterweeds or fish and is considered poisonous by locals.
However, despite its notoriety, Lake Rakshastal bears no less beauty than other lakes in Tibet. Originally joined with Lake Manasarovar and later separated by geological movements, it is still connected with Lake Manasarovar by a natural channel, Ganga Chhu. It covers a total area of 70 sq km (27 sq miles), at an altitude of 4,752m (15,590 ft). Though absent of nearby grasslands, the white cobbles, the hills and the island colored with dark red, and the deep blue lake water present another distinctive picture absent from many of the places more frequented by visitors.