Pelkutso Lake in Tibet

From Tingri County, whether one is going southwest to Gyirong County or northwest to Mt.Kailash in Ali region, a piece of a tranquil blue lake will always be in sight for a long while, sometimes on the left or right, sometimes in the front. The lake is Pelkutso Lake (Lake Paiku). Located at the intersection of Gyirong County and Nyalam County, Pelkutso Lake is the largest lake in Chomolungma Nature Reserve. It is more than 300 km, sits at 4,590 m (15,070 ft.) above the sea level, and its watershed area is 2820 km2.

The north part of Pelkutso Lake is filled with saltwater while the south part is mainly freshwater, which is drinkable. The reason is that in the south, many streams fed by glaciers cascade into the lake. Pelkutso Lake is located in the ancient plateau in the South-Tibetan valley, which remains intact from other water systems. The fresh and clear water gives the lake a crystal blue color. On the shore, expanding meadows stretch all the way to the towering snow mountains afar. The lake is home to large groups of water birds, wild horses, kiangs, Tibetan antelopes, cranes and yellow and grey widgeons, all of which make the lake quite a scenic spot. In good weathers, the clear water could even show the reflection of Mt.Shishapangma, the only snow mountain more than 8000m high that is completely within Chinese territory.

Lying in the cradle formed by surrounding mountains, the pure blue Pelkutso Lake is sometimes as intoxicating as a dream. The tranquility of the lake is barely disturbed by ripples. With the azure sky mirrored by the water, the passing clouds sometimes look like flocks of sheep. The reflection of the sky beautifully overlaps with the reflection of the river, so much so that sometimes one cannot tell them apart. Although the lake is not as famous as Namtso or Lake Manasarovar, the magnificent Mt.Shishapangma nearby makes the gourd-shaped, auspicious lake the favorite spot for many.

Standing on the road beside Pelkutso Lake, one could see the towering Mt. Shishapangma shines the silver lights under the sun. Compared with many other highland lakes in Tibet, Pelkutso Lake looks indeed like a sapphire falling from heaven. Sitting on the open plateau, her tranquil blue and unworldly beauty are highlighted by the surroundings. Besides the magnificent Mt.Shishapangma, it looks rather like a drop of tear in the breast of the Himalayas, a tear of a lover. The lake is free of hustling, ostentatious prettiness. Besides sparse travelers and cars, the lake is accompanied by rare animals like kiangs, and black-neck cranes.