Lakes and Glaciers in and around Everest base Camp
There are a lot of lakes and glaciers around Everest Base Camp. Most of the lakes are named. However, some of them are still unknown. The lakes and glaciers have successfully added beauty to the trails od Everest Base Camp. Thus, the mesmerizing view of the lakes and glaciers has enhanced the look of the mountains. Well, the main lake near Everest Base Camp is the Gokyo lake system. This lake system is very popular among the trekkers.
Gokyo Lakes lie in the Sagarmatha National Park region of Nepal. It is situated at an altitude of 4,700-5,000m above sea level. Gokyo lake system is the world’s highest lake of fresh water. This system comprises of six main lakes. Out of these six lakes, Thonak Lake is the largest lake. In September of the year 2007, associated wetlands of 7,770 ha and Gokyo have been recognized as a Ramsar site.
Well, Gokyo lakes are located explicitly in Khumjung VDC of Khumbu District, which lies in the Sagarmatha Zone. The lakes associated with Gokyo are given below:
- Gokyo Cho
- Tanjung Cho
- Ngojumba Cho
- Gyazumpa Cho
- Thonak Cho
The six lakes of Gokyo lake system
Thus, Gokyo Cho is most commonly known as Dudh Pokhari. It is the main lake of the Gokyo lake system, which comprises the total area of 42.9 ha, which is about 106 acres. Besides the eastern shore of Gokyo Cho, a village of Gokyo lies. In addition to Gokyo Cho, Thonak Cho is the largest lake of the Gokyo lake system, which comprises of six lakes. It has a total area of 65.07 ha, which is about 160.8 acres.
Moreover, Gyazumpa Cho is also one of the important lakes of the Gokyo lake system. Gyazumpa Cho occupies the total area of 72 acres, which is about 29 ha. Thus, Gyazumpa Cho lake is accompanied by Tanjung Cho lake. Tanjung Cho covers the entire area of 41.9 acres, which is approximately 16.95 ha. Similarly, Ngojumba Cho is another famous lake of the Gokyo lake system, which occupies a total area of 14.39 ha, which is about 35.6 acres.
The fourth lake of the Gokyo lake system, also known as Thonak Cho, is known as the deepest lake of the Gokyo lake system. It is about 62.4 m above sea level. Therefore, it is accompanied by the actual Gokyo Lake, which is 43 m above the sea level. However, there is a direct connection between the Ngozumpa Cho lake, the upper Thonak Cho lake, and the Gokyo lake. Thus, some sources claim that these lakes are connected. People assume that they may be connected through underground seepage water.
Sources of freshwater for Gokyo lake system
The six lake system of Gokyo lake has a great hydrological value. It is also the main source of permanent freshwater. These lakes feed on the waters from various sources of water. Some of their sources are the great stream falling from Renjo La pass and a seepage coming from Ngozumpa glacier. Thus, the Renjo La pass comes from the north-west part. In addition to Ngozumpa glacier and Renjo La pass, another stream coming from the east acts as the source of freshwater for the six lake system. Thus, these are the freshwater wetlands fed by the glacier. They discharge water to Dudh Koshi, following the Longabanga Lake and the Taujon Lake. Therefore, these lakes are much deeper and larger than assumed by the researchers in the past.
The historical importance of Gokyo lake
Well, the famous Gokyo Lake system is considered as a sacred lake system by both Buddhists and Hindus. It is said that about 500 Hindu people take a holy bath in the six lake system. They mostly take a bath in this lake system during the festival of Janai Purnima, which falls in August. It is reported that, on average, about 7,000 tourists visit the famous Gokyo Lake system. On an important note, the Gokyo Lake system is mostly worshipped as the place where Snake God or the Nag Devata resides.
Moreover, there are Hindu temples built in the shores of this lake system. There are temples of Hindu gods or Devatas named Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. These temples are situated at the extreme corner in the western part of the lake. There is also a belief that wildlife and birds are the other forms of God. Due to this belief, people here don’t harm wildlife, and the fauna is protected.
Possible threat from the Gokyo Lake
Well, we can say that the Gokyo Lake system is a very risky zone. The lake system of Gokyo is very vulnerable naturally. It is also declared as an unstable and ecologically fragile zone. Thus, the outburst of Ngozumpa glacier has always been a great threat to the people there. Therefore, the existence of the lakes itself is a great threat.