Yarab Tso Lake
February 23, 2023
The Holiest High-Altitude Lake In The Valley
Nubra Valley is a magical place. While people are quick to admire its surreal skies, magical mountains, and awesome orchards, there are also a number of lakes in this high-altitude heaven. In this blog, we will look at one of the most enchanting of these lakes – the Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik village in Nubra Valley, Ladakh.
How to get there
Reaching Yarab Tso Lake is not difficult. It lies close to the villages of Panamik and Sumur and can be reached from either side but cars cannot go all the way up to the edge of the lake. Instead, one has to get off the road, drive as close as possible, and then make a short trek of about 15 minutes up and down a small mountain.
When you first see the lake, it is not difficult to imagine why it is so famous and why many consider it to be a “holy lake.” The lake’s waters are crystal clear and strangely very reflective of the blue skies and tall mountains surrounding it. In fact, from one angle, one can see the reflection of a monastery, which is called the “lost Gompa” or “lost monastery.”
Why it’s considered holy
The locals of Ladakh have long revered this lake and its clear waters. They believe that it is a gift from god because it seems to appear out of nowhere at this high altitude. Actually, it is watered from an underground spring, which automatically replenishes the water when the levels drop.
No doubt ancient travellers would have been astounded to see a freshwater lake in the middle of nowhere with no discernable water source. The lake’s crystal clear waters must have tasted delicious to travellers who are used to river water, which is full of silt and minerals.
As it is considered to be holy, swimming, bathing, and washing in its waters are strictly prohibited. There is a prominent sign here that alerts tourists of the rules that must be followed and what is not allowed. Given its sublime appearance, most people will be automatically reluctant to pollute this heavenly lake and its magical surroundings.
What to do
While there is no swimming allowed here, one can sit on the side of the lake and enjoy the scenery, inhale the fresh air, and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of this sacred lake. It is a great place to get pictures by using the lake’s reflective waters or by using it as a backdrop.
One can also make a wish here. Legend has it that wishes made here are granted by the deity that has given this gift to mankind and many people find the area ideal for meditation or to get inspiration. Some tourists also like to leave a “stupa” or a small pillar of 3-8 stones to mark their visit.
When to go
The best time to visit Yarab Tso Lake is in the summer between the months of May and October. In the winter, the lake is inaccessible due to heavy snow and the trek to the lake is all but impossible. In the coldest months, the lake can be frozen and its clear waters are hard to see.
Where to stay
Yarab Tso Lake is in Nubra Valley and there are some resorts in Ladakh that are close by. As mentioned, the villages of Panamik, Sumur, and Teggar are all close enough that if you stay there, you can easily visit the lake within a short drive.
One of the best places to stay is the Lchang Nang Retreat – The House of Trees. It is a beautiful resort run bya well-cultured Ladakhi family that provides an authentic and memorable experience for its guests.
The resort offers some unique experiences such as Sundowners, Picnics, Local Culinary Experiences, Seasonalfruit-picking & harvesting that make the resort one of the most sought-after places to stay for visitors to Ladakh.
Interestingly, Lchang Nang Retreat – The House of Trees also offers an exclusive Yoga session on the banks ofthis Holiest & High Altitude Lake – Yarab Tso. This 40-minute session by a trained Yogi at a sacred spot with great views is perfect for raising your consciousness and imbibing inner peace.
Additionally, the resort is the very model of an ecologically sound, culturally responsible, and carefully conservative establishment. Made out of local and sustainable materials, the resort exemplifies the enlightened lifestyle of the Ladakhi people who have lived here for millennia.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1 What is the most beautiful lake in Ladakh?
Ans. While Ladakh has many lakes, the most beautiful of them may be Yarab Tso Lake. Its clear waters, sublime surroundings and pristine banks make it a popular tourist spot.
Q2 Where is Yarab Tso Lake located?
Ans. Yarab Tso Lake is located near the village of Panamik in Nubra Valley, Ladakh.
Q3 How to reach Yarab Tso Lake?
Ans. One can take the road to Panamik. From here, you have to go off-road for a while and then make a short trek of about 15 minutes up and down a small mountain to reach the lake.
Q4 How far is Yarab Tso from the centre of Leh?
Ans. Yarab Tso is about 150 Km from the centre of Leh and it takes about 4 hours to reach there from Leh.
Q5 How much does it cost to stay at Yarab Tso?
Ans. One cannot stay at Yarab Tso but visiting is completely free for everyone.