(12th June) Namtso lake was as charmingly blue as the sky, making visitors difficult to distinguish their boundary. We were so close to the sky, ever in our first time, free from any murky pollution that gloomed elsewhere, but radiant in its purest form. Far from hustle and bustle, I felt as if we had just landed on a fairyland endowed by undulating hills and boundless pastures in the Tibetan Plateau, and also the calmness of the heavenly lake.
Despite hours of bus ride to Namtso Lake, as city dwellers, what kept us invigorated throughout the way was hectares of green grassland with countless herds of cattle. Wild donkey and gazelles appeared on the marshlands nearby, while a whole herd of grazing sheep and yak herds were galloping on the verdant pastures that stretched as far as our eyes could reach. Here, you would soon be overwhelmed by its vastness of in the Tibetan Pleateau that was more picturesque than any illustration in the travel book.
We watched in awe as we passed a cloak of greenery in the bus, and the sparkling glint of Namtso lake, which spans across an area of nearly two thousand square kilometres, steadily loomed before us in all its allure. In this land of beauty laid a disc of brightest blue, covered by pebble plains and marshes with the backdrop of sublime Nyenchen Tanglha Mountain range. This highest saltwater lake in the world was formed by the collision between the Eurasian and Indian plate as early as Quaternary period during the Himalayan movement 70 million years ago. Yet in the minds of Tibetans, there came a by-word-of-mouth legend about the birth of the exceptionally clear, flawlessly clean lake water. It was the enduring love of the Namtso Lake and Mount Nyantsentanglha where the source of Namtso has long been attached to the melting snow of Nyantsentanglha for centuries.
In the afternoon, sparks of sunlight danced across the lake in which the water flowed in its merry way from the streams of snow-capped Mount Tonglha. It was like peering though the perfect glass, a glass that mirrored the sky with a miraculous shade of shimmering blue. A tangled mass of wild yaks, marmot and hares meandered along the beautifully-curved shorelines, colourful prayer flags were flapping in the refreshing breeze and craggy rocks guarded besides the heavenly lake under the azure sky. As a sacred place where founder of Tibetan Buddhism practiced the essence of Esoteric Buddhism, in Tibetan year of sheep, flocks of pilgrimages would follow the founder’s footsteps for ritual walks near the Namtso, taking nearly a month to circle the whole lake in pursuit of gods’ blessings. Standing on the edge of Namtso, a deep sense of serenity swept over us as our soul seemed to be cleansed by the expanse of enchanting blue.
The path to the Namtso’s high pass twisted and snaked upward where the lake horizon looked as a line of sapphire-blue. I stood atop the rocky surface in silence, raised my arms and felt my lungs bursting with fresh air when a gust of cool wind whipped the hair across our face. Nothing met our gaze but floating clouds, vibrant prayer flags, the rugged landscape and the deep-blue Namtso below from a 5190-metre high pass. It was beyond words to describe how elevated and yet insignificant I felt when embracing a panoramic view from an altitude that almost equated to the Everest base camp.
Watching the distant blue and prayer flags fluttering in the wind, the horizon of turquoise and lines of colourful flags gradually faded in our eyes yet lingered in our heart as we returned to Lhasa. Let the swift wind carry the sacred texts and symbols on the stringing flags, so that everyone touched by the wind would be blessed. For our heartfelt message, from this Tibet’s heavenly lake, is our unshakable wish for peace and goodwill to the entire world. ♦