The Gokyo Lakes
Gokyo lakes are the world’s highest freshwater lake system located at an altitude of 4,700-5,000m above sea level. These lake system comprising six main lakes, of which Thonak Lake is the largest. The beautiful Gokyo lakes are quite magnificent and surrounded by the mountains. In September 2007, Gokyo and associated wetlands of 7,770 ha (30.0 sq mi) have been designated a Ramsar site (wetlands of international importance).
Gokyo Lakes are oligotrophic lakes in Nepal’s Sagarmatha National Park. A remarkable alternative to the Everest Base Camp is the Gokyo Lake which provides perfect views of four of the highest mountains in the world – Mount Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8,516m), Makalu (8,481m) and Cho Oyu (8153m). The sparkling, pristine blue and green waters of the Gokyo Lakes are one of Nepal’s most memorable sights.
Both Hindus and Buddhists consider the Gokyo lakes as a sacred one. About 500 Hindus take a holy bath in the lakes during the Janai Purnima festival, which usually occurs in the month of August. On an average 7,000 tourists annually visit these lakes. The site is worshipped as the residing place of ‘Nag Devata’ (Snake God); a temple of the Hindu deities Lords Vishnu and Shiva is situated at the western corner of the lake. The belief that birds and wildlife in the area should not be harmed has traditionally protected fauna.
Gokyo is among the most popular tourist destinations leading towards the Everest base camp and other areas. People with slightly more time hike this route trek as the trail is 4 days longer than the standard EBC trek. These lakes trek also has the added benefit of being a circular route as opposed to the standard EBC trek which returns along the same trail.
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