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La'nga Co
ལག་ངར་མཚོ
Satellite view of lakes Rakshastal (left) and Manasarovar with Mount Kailash in the background
Location Tibet
Coordinates 30°41′58″N 81°14′11″E / 30.69944°N 81.23639°E / 30.69944; 81.23639Coordinates: 30°41′58″N 81°14′11″E / 30.69944°N 81.23639°E / 30.69944; 81.23639

La'nga Co (officially: La'nga Co; Tibetan:ལག་ངར་མཚོ་ ; Wylie transliteration: lag-ngar-mtsho; Chinese: 拉昂错, Pinyin: Lā'áng Cuò) is a lake in Tibet, China, lying close to the west of Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The Satluj River originates at Rakshastal's northwestern tip. Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar—over the road to Purang County, Lake Rakshastal does not share the lore of worship with its east neighbor. Named 'lake of the demon', Lake Rakshastal is considered to be the residence of Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Ceylon in Hindu myth. In Buddhism, Lake Manasarovar, which is round like the sun, and Lake Rakshastal, shaped as a crescent, are respectively regarded as 'brightness' and 'darkness'. Its salty water, a stark contrast to the fresh water of Lake Manasarovar, produces no waterweeds or fish and is considered poisonous by locals.

History

According to Hindu mythology, this lake was created by the demon King Ravana for the express purpose of garnering superpowers through acts of devotion and meditation to the Lord Shiva who was presiding on Mount Kailash. It was upon the banks of a special island in this lake that he would make daily offering with one of his ten heads as a sacrifice to please the Lord Shiva. Finally, on the tenth day, Lord Shiva was moved enough by his devotion and granted Ravana his wish to obtain superpowers. This lake is set as a contrast to the holy god-created Lake Manasarovar.

However, despite its notoriety, Lake Rakshastal bears no less beauty than other lakes in Tibet. Originally joined with Lake Manasarovar and later separated by geological movements, it is still connected with Lake Manasarovar by a natural channel, Ganga Chhu. It covers a total area of 70 square kilometres (27 sq mi), at an altitude of 4,752 metres (15,590 ft). Though absent of nearby grasslands, the white cobbles, the hills and the island colored with dark red, and the deep blue lake water present another distinctive picture absent from many of the places more frequented by visitors.

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