Yamdrok Lake, also called Yamdrok Yumtso, is a freshwater lake in Tibet. it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is over 72 km long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake has an outlet stream at its far western end.
Yamdrok Lake is a lake with two long arms of water, making it look like a scorpion from the sky. This shape means you can never see its shape from around it. From Gyantse, you can see one arm, and follow it until it disappears around a bend in the shore which makes it difficult to estimate the size of the lake.
Around 90 km to the west of the lake lays the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northeast. According to local mythology, Yamdok Yumtso Lake is the transformation of a goddess.
Yamdrok Lake has a power station that was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Baidi at the lake’s western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.
The Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes of Tibet. As with all places sacred and holy in Tibet, you can walk around the entire lake, taking around seven days. This is probably a good indication as any of the size of Yamdrok Lake. The lake is considered sacred and the water has special powers: according to locals, it can make the old young again. It can improve intelligence in children and etc.
It takes around thirty minutes to get down around the pass to Yamdrok Yumtso, but the views are truly magnificent. At times there is a lot of fog, but it changes by the minute, so wait around and you will see the extraordinary color and shape of this unique lake. Be aware that since the road was paved it is now fairly crowded with tourists during the summer months. Take a few minutes in addition to photo taking to sit and gaze upon this creation. It is truly breathtaking.
The lake, its islands, and the surrounding area are closely associated with Padmasambhava, the Second Buddha, who brought Buddhism to Tibet in 8th century AD. The lake is home to the famous Samding Monastery which is on a peninsula jutting into the lake. This monastery is the only Tibetan monastery to be headed by a female re-incarnation. Samding Monastery is where Dorje Pakmo, the only female Lama in Tibet, stayed and presided, and stands to the south of Lake Yamdrok Yumtso.
Today, both pilgrims and tourists can be seen walking along the lake’s perimeter. One of the lake’s islands contains an old fort or castle called Pede Dzong.