Lake Manasarovar (Mapam Yumco) is a freshwater lake in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China 940 kilometres (580 mi) from Lhasa. To the west of Lake Manasarovar is Lake Rakshastal; toward the north is Mount Kailash.
Lake Manasarovar lies at 4,590 metres (15,060 ft) above mean sea level, a relatively high elevation for a large freshwater lake on the mostly saline lake-studded Tibetan Plateau. Despite claims to the contrary, there are hundreds of higher freshwater lakes in the world, including a larger and higher freshwater lake at 4,941 metres (16,211 ft) above sea level and 495 km2 in size, Angpa Tso (East Chihpuchang Hu), further east on the Tibetan Plateau at 33-24N 90-17E. The largest freshwater lake of its size (290 km2) over 5000 meters elevation is Pumoyong Tso (Pumuoyong Tso), also on the Tibetan Plateau, at 28-34N 90-24E and 5,018 metres (16,463 ft) elevation.
It is connected to nearby Lake Rakshastal by the natural Ganga Chhu channel. Manasarovar is near the source of the Sutlej River which is the easternmost large tributary of the Indus. Nearby are the sources of the Brahmaputra River, the Indus River, and the Karnali River (Ghaghara), an important tributary of the Ganges River
The word “Manasarovara” originates from Sanskrit, which is a combination of the words “Manas” “sarovara” manas meaning mind and sarovara meaning lake. According to the Hindu religion, the lake was first created in the mind of the Lord Brahma after which it manifested on Earth.
As per Hindu theology, Lake Manasa Sarovar is a personification of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake will go to the Abode of Lord Shiva after death. He is believed to be cleansed of all his sins committed over even a hundred lifetimes.
Like Mount Kailash, Lake Manasa Sarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious people from India, Nepal, Tibet and the neighboring countries. Bathing in the Manasa Sarovar and drinking its water is believed to cleanse all sins. Pilgrimage tours are organized regularly, especially from India, the most famous of which is the Kailash Manasa Sarovar Yatra which takes place every year. Pilgrims come to take ceremonial baths in the cleansing waters of the lake.