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Lhamo Latso Lake

'It is a Tibetan belief older than Buddhism that every individual, every family, and an entire country, possesses a 'life-spirit', called la. This la is embodied in natural phenomena, such as mountains, lakes, trees and so on. When the place of residence of the la is damaged, the individual, family or nation suffers directly. Thus, when a lake that is the home of the la dries up, this omen of death or disaster can inflict the terrible result that is presaged. The life-spirit of Tibet is identified with Lhamo Latso.'                                         
The Power-Places of Central Tibet by Keith Dowman

  It is from the above paragraph that one can understand why Lhamo Latso, a small lake with an area of no more than 2 square kilometers (0.77 square miles), is venerated as the holiest lake in Tibet. Considered as the place to which Palden Lhamo, the Glorious Goddess of Tibet renowned for her miraculous ability in prediction, offered her skull to attach her spirit, Lhamo Latso is the synonym for the lake of oracle, a lake which can foretell one's future through the visions one sees on its surface. Legend has it that Palden Lhamo, the lover of the first Dalai Lama (1391-1474), has an annual appointment with him, and therefore is the very person who knows about the reincarnations of Dalai Lama. As a matter of fact, it was prescribed by Gendum Gyatso, the second Dalai Lama (1475-1542), that there should be at least one pilgrimage to Lhamo Latso in the lifetime of every Dalai Lama afterwards and the appearance and the birthplace of each new reincarnation should be acquired from the visions which the eminent lamas see in Lhamo Latso through meditation.
For mortals, nothing short of devoutness merits a response from the divinity. Pilgrims believe that after a three-day fast and a self-restraint on talking, an overlook on Lhamo Latso at the peak of the lakeside mountain at an altitude of 5,300m (17,388 ft) will bring the revelation of one's future on this skull-shaped magic mirror. Therefore, every year Lhamo Latso is frequented by devoted pilgrims who pray for a confirmed future and curious travelers who are allured by the mystery. A trek around Lhamo Latso takes 4-5 days. With mani stones piled on the way to indicate the direction, it is an exciting expedition through virgin forests, vast plateaus, towering mountains and limpid rivers.  

 Travel Time:
It is best to travel between March and May, at which time the locals swarm toward the village of Chokorgyel for cordyceps collection and increase the chances of convenient hitchhiking.
There is no direct coach available from Lhasa or the town of Tsedang to the lake. The most acceptable route is to take a coach from Tsedang to Gyatsa County, and then hitchhike in Gyatsa to the village of Chokorgyel, the place where the lake and the Chokorgyel Monastery  are situated. In Chokorgyel, one can choose either to walk for 4 hours to the peak of the lakeside mountain (which can be the terminus for those who are content with an overlook on Lhamo Latso) or save one hour by riding a horse, which can be rented in the village. Those who have chartered a 4WD or jeep in Lhasa or Tsedang can drive directly to the summit of the lakeside mountain along a newly-built road from the village of Chokorgyel.

Comments and Questions


Can you give me information about

the letters "LATSO ISPHEID" on a

small piece of pottery I acquired?
Thank you.


8/29/2010 1:56:00 PM


Asked by Don Webbeer (United States)