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Tangra Yumco, at an altitude of 4,528 m, is the deepest and fourth largest saltwater lake in Tibet, and also the largest sacred lake worshipped by Tibetan Bön believers. In 2011, it was identified as a "National Wetland Park". It is located in Nyima County, Nagqu Prefecture, Tibet, and floats on the Wenbu wasteland in the Changtang uninhabited areas of northern Tibet. Surrounded by mountains, Tangra Yumco looks like a vajra pestle, with the blue water and sky merging into one color. In the south, Darguo Mountain has a row of seven peaks, with a dark body and white snow on its top, which resembles seven neatly arranged pyramids. Together with Tangra Yumco, it is revered as a sacred site by the Bon religion.

Tangra Yumco

Due to its location in the deep hinterland of Tibet and the inconvenient transportation, Tangra Yumco has preserved the original natural scenery and local customs. For thousands of years, Buddhists and Bon believers have walked around the lake clockwise and counterclockwise respectively. The pilgrims and caravans have stepped out a trail around the lake. It is about 250 kilometers to circle the lake, and most of the road sections are accessible to cars. The road conditions are relatively smooth, without a high mountain pass. However, some mountain paths are rugged and only suitable for trekking. There are snow mountains and ancient villages along the way, which is the choice for deep travel in Tibet.


Dangchung Tso Lake: About 50km away from Tangra Yumco, there is a lake named Dangchung Tso (which means the smaller Tangra Yumco). Actually, they were in the same lake basin and split into two lakes after the water dried up. The two lakes have different styles, one is as blue as the sky and the other is as green as jade. It is said that the lake can change three colors in a day.

Wenbunan Village

Ancient Village: Wenbunan Village is situated on the bank of Tangra Yumco, whose buildings are all made of stone. It is the birthplace of Bon - the mysterious ancient religion on the Tibetan Plateau, and also the hinterland of the ancient Zhangzhung Kingdom. The small village is backed by the extinct volcano Talqin Mountain. Without leaving the house, you can have a panoramic view of the beautiful scenery of Darguo Mountain and Tangra Yumco from the window. On the hillside behind the village, there are seven ancient pagodas arranged in a row. The Mani stones next to them are engraved with scriptures and animal patterns, which carry the blessings and beliefs of the villagers. The primitive village appears very peaceful and mysterious against the backdrop of the sacred mountain and lake.

Qiongzong: One of the ruins of the Zhangzhung Kingdom, Qiongzong, is located on the top of a hill on the east bank of Tangra Yumco. It is a huge stone wall that is not connected to the surrounding mountains. The grey rocks cast a thick dark shadow under the scorching sun on the plateau. There are several ruins on the cliffs that are said to be the ruins of the ancient Zhangzhung Kingdom, with layers of stones stacked up, silently witnessing the change of history. Now it can only be proved that it actually existed through the murals on the rock and some incomprehensible words.
Yuben Monastery: There is also a temple, Yuben Temple, preserved in the cave of a cliff by the lake. It is said to be the oldest monastery in the history of Bon religion. Yuben Temple is dedicated to the wolf-faced goddess and is very popular.


Qiongzong, the ruin of ancient Zhangzhung Kingdom

Before the 5th century AD, the ancient Zhangzhung Kingdom appeared on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, developing its own script and civilization, and Tangra Yumco was the location of the ancient kingdom's palace. There are still many relics of ancient Zhangzhung along the lake, and the last Bon tribe, the Wenbu tribe, is still guarding here. According to legend, Tangra Yumco was originally the Devil’s Lake. And the first prince of the kingdom, also the founder of the Bon, Shenrab Miwo, subdued the demons in the lake and purified it into a divine lake.

How to Get to Tangra Yumco?

There is currently no direct public transportation to Tangra Yumco, and the most suitable way is by car. Drive from Lhasa, along the Beijing Tibet Expressway and G317, passing through Namtso to arrive in Nyima County. Turn southwest from Nyima County and drive along S205 for about 100km to reach Wenbunan Village, a village on the shores of Tangra Yumco.

Travel Tips

1. Admission is free.
2. The best time to travel is from July to September. During this period, the grassland was green and vibrant, with a mild climate, making it the golden season for the grassland.
3. Do not exercise vigorously to avoid altitude sickness due to hypoxia and high altitude.

Attractions nearby Tangra Yumco

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