Lake Manasarovar Culture

Manasarovar is the most transparent freshwater lake and the second largest natural freshwater lake in China. It means “undefeated, victorious” in Tibetan Language, known as “Holy Lake.” It is located between the main peaks of the Gangdise Mountains-Mount Kailash and Namunani Peak of Himalayas, in Burang County of Tibet Autonomous region.

History of Lake Manasarovar

Ancient Zhang Zhung Buddha Dharma Bonismo Zhang Zhung Tibetan tripitaka, Kosha recorded that the “Source of Four Great Rivers” refers to the mother of the sacred lake, Lake Manasarovar. The east is the Maquan River, the south is the Kongqi River, the west is the Sutlej River, and the north is the Shiquan River. “Manasarovar”-“invincible Lake”, in Tibetan language, “Mapang(玛旁)” means undefeated, invincible.

The earliest name of Manasarovar was “Ma Chui(玛垂)”, or “Ma Chui Cuo(玛垂措)”, which was the name of the Dragon King of Guangcai(广财龙王) in Bonismo. The Buddhist scriptures say that there were four dragon kings in the four holy lake, which always made trouble and harmed the people at first. Until the period of Trisong Detsen in Tang Dynasty, Padmasambhava defeated the four dragon kings, converted them to follow the Buddha Dharma, gradually became the four great Tibetan Buddhism dharma protectors. From then on, “Ma Chui Cuo(玛垂措)” also changed its name to “Manasarovar”, means “invincible lake” in Tibetan Language.

It is said that Lake Manasarovar is the holiest lake, the nectar given by the Lord of Victory, and the holy water can cleanse the mind of troubles and evil obstacles. She is the oldest and most sacred place among all holy places of Bonismo, Indian Buddhism and Hinduism. She is the perfect lake in the soul. She is the true heaven in the universe, the Shangri-La of the gods, the blissful world of all things. Hinduism says that it is the residence of Shiva.

Religious Significance

Religious sects that regards Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar as Holy Mountain and Sacred Lake including Hinduism, Bon Religion, Buddhism and Jainism.


According to Hinduism, the lake was first created in Brahma’s mind and then appeared on Earth. In Hinduism, Lake Manasarovar is the incarnation of purity, and those who drink it will go to Shiva’s residence when they die. It is believed that all the sins they had committed in more than a hundred years would be cleansed.

Like Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious peopel from India, Nepal, Tibet and neighboring countries. Hindus believe that bathing and drinking water in Lake Manasarovar will purify all sins. Regular pilgrimage tours are organized, especially from India, the most famous of which is the annual “Kailash Manas Sarovar Yatra”. The pilgrims come here to bathe in the lake.

Lake Manasarovar has long been regarded by pilgrims as being nearby to the sources of four major Asian rivers, namely Brahmaputra, Ghaghara, Shindu and Sutlej rivers, which have been the axial point for pilgrims for thousands of years. After the Battle of Qamdo, the region was closed to pilgrims from outside; Foreigners were not allowed to enter between 1951 and 1980. After the 1980s, it became a part of Indian pilgrims trail again.

Bon Religion

The Bon religion is also associated with the holy place of Zhang Zhung Meri sacred deity. When Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of the Bon religion, visited Tibet for the first time from Tagzig Wolmo Lungring he washed in the lake.


Buddhists associate the lake with the legendary lake Anavatapta, where Maya is believed to have conceived Buddha. There are several monasteries on the shore of the lake, the most famous of which is the Chiu Monastery built on a steep hill, which looks like it was carved directly from the rocks.

The lake is popular in Buddhist literature and is related to many doctrines and stories. It was said that the Buddha had stayed and meditated several times near the lake. Lake Manasarovar, also the subject of Tibetan traditional meditation, is known as “the Gems of Tibet”. A modern narration and description of the meditation was made popular by Robert Thurman.


In Jainism, Lake Manasarovar is connected to the first Tirthankara, Rishabha. According to Jain scriptures, the first Tirthankar, Bhagwan Rushabhdev, had acquired nirvana on the Ashtapad Mountain. The son of Bhagwan Rishabhdev, Chakravati Bharat, had built a palace decorated with precious stones on the quiet Mount Ashtapad of the Himalayas. There are a lot of stories about Ashtapad Maha Tirth like Kumar and Sagar’s sons, Tapas Kher Parna, Ravan and Mandodri Bhakti, and the like.