Located in Southeast Asia remote, landlocked Nepal has one of the world’s most spectacular geographic tapestries. Adventurous trekkers are rewarded with eight of the 10 tallest mountains on the planet including Mount Everest, the tallest. The massive mountains and glaciers feed deep, shimmering lakes that are the jewels of Nepal.
The lakes reflect the big mountains through mirrors imitating hues of precious stones like sapphire and azure lapis-lazuli. Many of Nepal’s lakes are also of religious significance. Let’s explore six of the deepest, most beautiful lakes in Nepal.
Rara Lake, locally known as Mahendra Daha, is situated in Nepal’s far western reaches at an altitude of 2990 (9810 ft). Rara is the country’s deepest lake at an average depth of 167 meters (548 ft). It’s often referred to as a “shimmering blue diamond” because of its beauty and color.
But it’s the lake’s ability to change hues during the day, not the depth that is the most noteworthy. In good weather, it passes through seven colors from turquoise to smoky grey.
Another major attraction for Rara Lake is the famed snow trout that only exists in the waters of Rara. Travelers also love the lake for its solitude and surroundings. It lies in the Rara National Park and reflects the Sisne and Kanjirowa mountains.
Located in the Shey-Phoksundo National Park at an elevation of 3611 meters ( 11, 847 ft), Phoksundo is Nepal’s second deepest lake at 145 meters (478 ft). A trek to this sapphire blue lake takes you through the stunning landscapes of forests and snow-capped mountains of the Lower and Upper Dolpo region. You’ll find the culture-rich village of Ringmo along the ancient landslide dam that formed the lake.
The village practices Buddhism and Bon giving the lake religious significance. It’s a popular pilgrimage destination where people come for annual worship and prayers. Over 20 stupas (Buddhist shrines) can be found along the lake’s southern belt. Only one stupa is on the other side.
Nepal’s highest lake and one of the most impressive sits at an altitude of 4919 meters (16,138 ft). It lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area about 55 kilometers from the city of Pokhara. The lake has an average depth of 85 meters (180 ft) with silvery-colored waters that reflect the bare, snow-covered Khangsar, Nilgiri, Muktinath, and Tilicho peaks. The lack of vegetation makes the look of the lake even more dramatic.
While the lake doesn’t technically fall on the world-famous Annapurna Circuit, it is connected and can be part of the trek. Not for the faint of heart, trekkers will feel close to the clouds. Travelers can also get to the lake after going through the Thorang La Pass.
One of the largest glacial lakes in Nepal, Tsho Rolpha sits at an altitude of 4580 meters (15,026 ft) at a depth of 55 meters (180 ft). It lies within the Rolwaling Valley of the Dolakha district between the Everest and Langtang mountain ranges. The lake is also part of the Gaurishankhar Conservation Area, an important wetland.
Over the last 50 years, the size of the lake has significantly increased because of glacial ice melt. The lake’s dam is unstable, and water threatens to burst through. Therefore, one of Mother Nature’s best masterpieces has become a threat.
Travelers making their way to Tsho Rolpa Lake will pass through alpine forests and remote mountain villages in the high pastures while surrounded by mountain peaks.
One of Nepal’s most famous lakes, Gosaikunda Lake is located in the district of Rasuwa within Langtang National Park at an altitude of 4380 meters (14, 370 ft). Near the Nepal–Tibet border, the lake can be reached via the Langtang Valley trek. It’s one of 108 lakes in the region.
The lake’s average depth is 25 meters (82 ft). The area is popular with travelers for its birdwatching opportunities and splendid views of the valley below. Even though the lake only stays frozen for a short time in the winter season, it’s been given the moniker “Frozen Lake.”
Gosaikunda Lake has much religious significance for the people in the region as it’s an important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site during the Gangadashahara and Janai Purnima festivals. According to legends, it’s the sacred abode of Lord Shiva.
People of the Newari culture make the five-day trek known as “Silu” to take a dip in the sacred waters believing it will wash away their sins. One myth says that married couples should visit the lake separately.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.