Yamdrok Yumtso lies to the south of the Yarlong Tsangpo River and about a hundred kilometer to the southwest of Lhasa. The lake is 130 kilometers (about 80 miles) in length and 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) in width and is one of the four holy lakes. The other lakes are Lhamo La-tso, Namtso and Manasarovar. This freshwater lake, unlike other Tibetan lakes, is sweet and non-saline. During the summer, it is turquoise green in colour, but during the winter it has a thick crust of ice. The name of the lake literally means “green jade” and therefore it is also known as the Green Jade Lake. Some people also refer to it as Coral Lake because its irregular shape, like the two pincers of a large scorpion. It is abundant in fish and has a large migratory bird population.
Like mountains, lakes are considered sacred by the Tibetan people, and are seen as dwelling places of protective deities. Yamdrok Yumtso Lake is said to be the female Guardian of Buddhism in Tibet and the people here believe that it will bless and protect them. It is said that if its waters dry, Tibet will no longer be habitable.
Nagarje or Nakartse is the biggest settlement on the shores of Yamdrok Lake and in the lake are several small islands and nine bigger ones where one is home to the famous Samding Monastery. The islands are very fertile and green and together with the snow-capped mountains in the distant it gives an astonishing view. From the mountains you can also have this beautiful view on Yamdrok Yumtso making it an attraction not to miss when visiting Tibet.