Gosaikunda

Religiously having great significance, the Gosain Kunda lake is an alpine freshwater oligotrophic lake. Located at an altitude of 4,380 m (14,370 ft) in the  Langtang National Park, the lake has a surface area of 13.8 ha (34 acres). Frozen for six months from October to June, it is one of the sources of the Trishuli River. The Gosaikunda Lake is particularly famous for having been the first lake to come into existence when Lord Shiva plunged his trident into the rock. There are 108 lakes in this area, small to medium in size. The challenging Lauribina La pass at an altitude of 4,610 m (15,120 ft) is on its outskirts. Gosaikunda can be reached easily by bus or by flight, but most eager and willing trekkers decide to trek that up to the sacred Gosaikunda Lake. The trek would take up to 5-6 days if the trek began from Dhunde. Daily buses can be found from Kathmandu- Dhunde or Pokhara – Dhunde.  The most auspicious occasion for the lake is the Full Moon day (Shrawan Purnima) in July. Many pilgrims from both India and Nepal travel up to visit the lake then.

History

Legend has it that when the Gods attempted to create the Elixir of eternal life, there was a poison created along with the elixir. Knowing the world to be in danger, Lord Shiva drank the poison which turned his throat blue and an unbearable scorch took over him. Not being able to bear the pain, Lord Shiva struck his trident into the rock, which resulted in the formation of the beautiful lakes, drinking the water of the lakes; he got rid of the pain.

The rock which is placed in the centre of the lake is said to be a shrine for Lord Shiva. Therefore it is considered a holy pilgrimage for Hindus and the Buddhists. Many people often claim to have seen Lord Shiva lying in the water. Devotees come here to pray and hope to witness such miracles. Locals here still live in contrast to the modern ways of the urban areas; there are plenty of huts made of cheap limestone braised with cow dung. During winter, the people here face a lot of difficulty due to the excess cold and strong winds.

Getting to & Around

Car/Jeep rentals can be easily available from any metropolitan city in Nepal; however a map must be used as the roads have plenty of intersections along the road. Most tourists opt out of this option as they have a trekking route in mind.

Buses, local and private, are available but not all the way up to Gosaikunda. The route all the way up is not fit for vehicles and so, even Hindu pilgrims who wish to visit the lake, walk the distance.

Attractions

The lake in itself is the main attraction for Gosaikunda. Since it is a Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage, many Hindus and Buddhists trek up to the lake. The lake is famous not only for religious purposes but also for the breathtaking view of the peaks, rocky terrains and glaciers.

Another must see, are the Tamang and Sherpa villages on the way to Gosaikunda. Many Buddhist Tibetan monasteries are located in this area, which are famous for their impeccable art and architecture. The ancient Gombas reflect the rich culture of Buddhism with pagoda styled structures and gold plated paintings. Photography is not allowed inside the gombas though.

The cheese factory is another main attraction here; yak cheese is the most manufactured item in the region. There is also the animal- The yak cow, which isn’t a sight most people have seen in the world. The animal is basically a very big cow and a famous sight for the tourists to witness.

Besides the obvious Lantang range, tourists also walk up to the Gosaikunda Lake mostly because sometimes, on a clear and lucky day, one can see a perfect view of one of the highest mountain peaks in the world- Mount Annapurna.

The local delicacies is another package of adventure among which popularly eaten are Tibetan bread, thukpa (a g

noodles based vegetable soup) and potatoes cooked with cheese.

Geography

The Gosaikunda Lake is located at an altitude of about 4360m (14,370 ft) above sea level in the Rasuwa District with a surface of 13.8 ha (34 acres). It falls directly on route to the Langtang Himalayan Range, and is the direct source of the Trishuli River.

Accommodation

Gosaikunda does not enjoy varieties of hotels and lodges, considering how difficult it is to get materials (even basic necessities) up there. However, pleasant teahouses and temporary shelters have been built by the local residents. Among the teahouses, the most famous one remains Lakeside Teahouse, this has been known for their famous yak cheese balls. The food here is excellent even with the chef having to work with so little. Two stops below Gosaikunda is Lauribinayak, tourists may find it more comfortable here as Hotel Mount Rest, offers comfortable accommodations, running hot water and hygienic food.

Notes:

For the first timer or a non regular trekker, it is advisable to take with you a guide and a porter. Medications for altitude sickness and one’s own prescribes medications should be kept at hand and most importantly, since the lake is at a considerable height, warm clothes, mufflers and mittens are a must.