The Great Himalayan Lakes

Moriri Lake

The Great Himalayan beauty is not just limited to mountains! The Himalayan Lakes are breathtaking too! I am sure once you get to know about these stunning lakes in Himalayas, you will feel that any trip to the Himalayas is incomplete without paying a visit to this awe-inspiring water bodies!

Many of these high altitude lakes are freshwater lakes formed by glacial activity. Some of these stunning lakes are only accessible through difficult treks to these regions and that’s one of the reason they have managed to retain their beauty and charm! These high altitudes will take your breath away by not only their beauty but by their unique features! Some have ever-changing colors and some are the best birding spots.

People might not know about these mesmerising lakes but some determined trekkers trek for days all the way just to see the beauty of these great Himalayan Lakes!

I have picked up some of the most beautiful ones. When I look at them, I imagine myself sitting on the shore, gazing at them and peacefully taking in all the beauty.

  1. Namtso, Tibet
    Namtso is one of the most beautiful natural sights in Tibet. It is said that it is the largest high altitude salt water lake in Tibet with an elevation of 15479 feet. The heavenly lake is also one of the three sacred lakes of Tibet. You will be spellbound by its crystal clear water surrounded by snow-capped peaks and yak herds with local nomads making it a picture perfect spot. The sunrise and sunset at the lake are breathtakingly beautiful. People have witnessed magic at dusk when the sky turns red and golden!
    Don’t miss the nebula of Milky Way!
    Location: 220 KMS north of  Lhasa, 60 KMS northwest of Damxung
    Elevation: 15479 Feet
    Best Time to Visit: May – September
    Namtso Lake
  2. Lake Mansarovar in Western Tibet
    This exceptionally beautiful lake is one of the most important pilgrimages for Hindus and Buddhist. The blues of the lake mirror the blue sky, clouds and the white mountain peaks. The mystical beauty will surely leave you in awe!  The highest freshwater lake in Tibet looks magical in moonlight.
    Location: 13 Days Trek from Lhasa, Tibet
    15060 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    May – October
    Lake Mansarovar
  3. Yamdrok Lake, Tibet
    One of the three sacred lakes in Tibet, Yamdrok looks stunning amidst the Himalayas! Enticing turquoise color surrounded by snowy peaks, glows with a riot of colors when the sun is shining. It is the largest habitat for migratory birds in Southern Tibet, and it looks spectacular when thousands of birds fly above the lake! It’s also “fish Treasure of Tibet”. Remember to take your camera to capture some of the rare natural encounters!
    Location: 90 KMS west of Gyantse and 170 KMS south of Lhasa, Tibet
    14570 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    May – October
    Lake Yamdrok
  4. Hemkund Lake
    Surrounded by seven spectacular snow-capped Himalayan Peaks, the “Lake of Snow” will be an amazing adventure experience for you! The trek will also take you to the Valley of Flowers. Before touching the water, remember that it  is as cold as snow!
    Location: 5 Days trek from Govindghat, Uttrakhand
    14202 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    July – September
    Hemkund Lake
  5. Dal lake
    Picture perfect and easily accessible, Dal Lake is called the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir”. It’s absolutely breathtaking! The best way to explore the gem would be by taking a ride in the colorful shikaras.
    Location: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
    5194 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    Throughout the year
    Dal Lake
  6. Suraj Tal
    Just below the Barcha La in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh sits the magnificent Suraj Tal, the third largest lake in India!
    Location: Leh- Manali Highway
    16020 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    May- October
    Suraj Tal
  7. Gurudongmar Lake
    The splendid emerald blue colour lake surrounded by snowy peaks, mountains and glaciers, lies in the remote valleys of Sikkim! This fresh-water lake is located northeast of the Kanchenjunga range, and is difficult to access. The panoramic beauty of this place is a sight to behold.
    Location: 9 Hours’ drive from Gangtok, Sikkim
    17800 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    March- June
    Gurudongmar Lake
  8. Tso Moriri, Ladakh
    You will feel blessed to have witnessed this enchanting lake in Ladakh! Be ready to spot the wildlife of Ladakh here like the migratory birds, marmots and rarely the Tibetan Wolves.
    Location: Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
    14836 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    June- September
    Moriri Lake
  9. Chandra Tal, Himachal Pradesh
    Heavenly Chandra Tal is known for its ever-changing color from dawn to dusk. Camping is the best way to make the most of your time here. The Moon Lake is barren but beautiful! Remember to capture the many colours of the lake.
    Location: Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
    14170 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    June- September
    Chander Tal
  10. Gangabal, Jammu & Kashmir
    This captivating lake is accessible by a trek or a horse ride via Ganderbal. The path leading up to this place offers many breathtaking sights.
    Location: Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Kashmir
    11729 feet
    Best Time to Visit: June- September
    Gangabal Lake
  11. Kedar Tal, Uttarakhand
    Pristine splendour that you can’t afford to miss in Uttarakhand! To enhance the beauty of this lake are the surrounding peaks of – Thalaysagar, Meru, Bhrigunath and Jogin whose melting snow sustains it. On a clear day the lake mirrors a breathtaking reflection of the Thalaysagar peak.
    Location: Gangotri, Uttarakhand
    16110 feet
    Best Time to Visit: June- September
    Kedar Tal
  12. Yarab Lake, Nubra Valley
    Another gem from Ladakh that will leave you awestruck. Yarab Tso is one of the most unexplored lakes in the Nubra Valley. It is located near Sumur, a village about 15 kms from Diskit, Nubra Valley.
    Location: Sumur, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
    10826 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    June- September
    Yarab Lake
  13. Tsomgo, Sikkim
    Rugged mountains and sharp cliffs will take you to Tsomgo or Changu Lake, the high altitude glacial lake near Nathu La in East Sikkim. The lake is known for its scenic beauty and blooming colourful flowers!
    Location: Gangtok, Sikkim
    12313 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    June- September
    Tsomgo Lake
  14. Roopkund, the Mystery Lake
    The mystery lake is famous for hundreds of human skeletons found at its edge. The skeletons happen to belong to pilgrims who fell to their deaths due to the unexpected natural calamities.The trek trail is worth capturing! It is a must visit once in a lifetime!
    Location: Chamoli, Uttarakhand
    16499 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    May- June
    Roopkund 1
  15. Kyagar Tso
    Ladakh has limitless beauties if we talk about lakes. Kyagar Tso is yet another picturesque lake with amazing vistas!
    Location: Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
    15436 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    June- September
    Kyagar Tso
  16. Sela Lake
    This extremely beautiful and crystal clear blue lake glistens when the sun shines high in the sky. It is located near India’s second highest pass, Sela Pass, in the north eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
    Location: Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
    Elevation: 13680 feet
    Best Time to Visit: May to September
    Sela Pass
  17. Pangong Tso
    One of our favorites and the most famous Pangong Tso will always allure us by its pristine blue saline water! Camping by this lake is one of the most memorable experiences! Not only in summers, but the lake looks majestic in winters too when it’s frozen!
    Location: Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
    Elevation: 13940 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    June- September
    Pangong Lake Ladakh 2
  18. Samiti Lake
    There are some places on earth which will make you stop and think if they are for real. Samiti Lake is one of those! You will be stunned to see the endless beauty of the breathtaking lake! Enroute the Goecha La trek, it’s a sight to behold.
    Location: Goecha La Trek, Sikkim
    Elevation: 14100 feet
    Best Time to Visit: May- September
    Samiti Lake
  19. Lake Rara, Nepal
    The Rara Lake is the biggest and deepest freshwater lake in the Himalayas in Nepal offering you endless beauty! Rara Jumla Lake Trek is one way to visit the lake and it’s a scenic trek with pristine and stunning views of the lake!
    Location: Rara National Park, Nepal
    Elevation: 7510 feet
    Best Time to Visit:
    February- April, October and November
    Rara Lake
  20. Phewa Lake
    What could be better than looking at the Annapurna Mountains perfectly reflecting on the mirror surface of Lake Phewa in Nepal! On a clear day, the lake shines in pure emerald color!
    Location: Pokhara Valley, Nepal
    Elevation: 2434 feet
    Best Time to Visit: March- June
    Phewa Lake
  21. Gosainkunda Lake
    A 9 day trek from Kathmandu will take you to the pristine alpine freshwater Gosainkunda Lake. The lake has spectacular views of the Himalayas; the snow covered white Giant Langtang Lirung will surely take your breath away!
    Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
    Elevation: 14370 feet
    Best Time to Visit: October- April
    Gosainkunda Lake
  22. Tso Lhamo, Sikkim
    The sense of isolation, peace and calm is what you get upon visiting this beauty! Special permits are required to visit the lake.
    Location: North Sikkim
    Elevation: 17490 feet
    Best Time to Visit: October and November
    Lhamo Lake
  23. Tilicho Lake
    There is only one way to reach this enticing lake, Annapurna Circuit Trek. 18 days trek will take you to the magnificent Tilicho Lake.
    Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
    Elevation: 16138 feet
    Best Time to Visit: February – June and September- November
    Tilicho Lake
  24. Gokyo Lakes
    Witness the enchanting beauty of Gokyo Lakes in the Everest region. Take a note adventure lovers, enroute Everest Base Camp you will encounter these series of small turquoise mountain lakes that will take your breath away.
    Location: Everest Region
    Elevation: 15400- 16400 feet
    Best Time to Visit: September to December
    Gokyo Lake

About Author

Kanika Chopra