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Namu Lake

--Article and photographs by Gu Dongfang

In Tibetan, Namu means sky, so Tibetans regard Namu Lake as the "lake in the sky". Namu lake is the largest lake in Tibet, with a total area of 1920 km2,70 km in length from east to west, 30 km in width from north to south and more than 33m in depth. The lake is an approximate rectangle and is the head of three big God Lakes in Tibet. Opposite it, there are the hight snow-covered dominant peaks of the Danggula Mountain whose inverted image lies in the lake. This scene is very wonderful and marvelous.

The Danggula Mountains are the head of the God Mountains in Tibet. It is said that the Dangggula Mountains are the husband of Namu Lake. In people¡¯s minds they are God Lake and God Mountains, so they are personified. The shenxiao (any of the twelve animals, representing the twelve Earthly Branches, used to symbolize the year in which a person is born) of Namu Lake is sheep, so thousands of believers go to Namu Lake to pilgrimage in the year of the sheep. These believers circle the lake clockwise, waving the Jingtong (a kind of instrument used in Buddhist ceremonies), and reading Buddhist sutras. It takes them 10 days to complete their travel on foot. I f they walk and kowtow at the same time, it takes 3 months to accomplish.

In Buddhist's eyes, Laqiaridifang (place name) is the head of Namu Lake and Guorexiebo (place name) is the foot. During their travels, they will wash their heads and faces and drink from the cool and clear spring when they arrive at Jiangpangchuiguoshudifang (place name). Furthermore, they will heap up stones and present hadas (neckcloths made of silk, given to express respect) when they reach Gerilamudongdifang. There are many Manizuis scattered around Namu Lake. Believers will add a cobblestone when they come across a Manizui because they believe that adding one cobblestone equals to learn by heard classics one time.

Manizui is a heap of motionless classics. Tibetans carve one paragraph of the classics or six-character logions or josses on the stones and place it on the roadside. Over a long period, there will be a heap, which is called a Manizui. At the side of Namu Lake, there are many Manizuis. The classics on the stone is very fine. The Manizui embody Tibetans' worship of Buddha and their special culture.

Foshou (Buddha's hand) Rocks are two big rocks in Zhaxiduo Peninsula Namu Lake, more than 10m high and separated by about 5m. Many people called them Buddha's hand because these two rocks looks like Buddha's uplifted hands. Furhermore, believers regard them as the holy symbol of Namu Lake. Tibetans have built a little house nearby the Foshou Rocks, approximately 30 m2, for visitors accommodation.

Seen from mountaintop, Namu Lake looks wider and bluer; the snow-covered peak and distant floating cloud sparkle under the shining sunlight, like the stars in the night sky, like the fairy world of tales. Standing here, I feel an unprecedented heartquake that can only be felt by people who have been to Tibet by themselves. At the same time, I also feel that compared with nature, man¡¯s power is so tiny. So people who want to change nature completely will be harmed by nature. However, man can adapt to nature and change it to a limit. We just know that today, man is a part of nature, comes from nature and will return to nature in the end. Cherishing and protecting nature is protecting exactly the home to which the human beings will finally return.

--Materials are provided by "Chinese National Geography"

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