Phoksundo Lake, a mythical lake in wild west Nepal, offering extraordinary feast to the eyes

Normally, during the early days of the trek to Dolpo, Phuksondo Lake appears as the most beautiful reward for the eyes to the trekkers to Dolpo. On the seventh day of the West Dolpo Trek, as the trek resumes with the steep uphill climb, it just prolongs for the next three hours. Minimal plant life and dusty barren hills in the surroundings come into view. Hills almost full of gray stones and the bare projection have rough peaks and that is beautiful. After the strenuous three hours uphill climb, a view tower arrives from where the exceedingly beautiful Phoksundo Fall can be observed. An incredible 3-step waterfall which drops down almost 170 meters down from the lake is worthwhile watching. Continuing the walk after a brief halt, the view of the most beautiful lake on Earth, Phoksundo comes into view just after 10 minutes walk beyond the view tower. Then onwards the trail goes downhill. An hour downhill walk will bring trekkers to Lake Shore Buddhist Village, Ringmo. Few more minutes of trek will finally arrive to Phoksundo Lake.


Phoksundo is a word derived from Tibetan language. It is a combination of three different words. “Phok” refers to expand, “sung” symbolizes three and “Du” means stone. Collectively, the meaning of Phoksundo refers to the “lake expanded in three sides and surrounded by stones”. The local myth related to the formation of the lake is equally interesting. Long time ago, a sacred monk was chasing the demon, who was troubling the people of the Tibetan region. During the chase, the demon carried a bowl of oil in one hand and the bowl of water in another. The chase began at Tibet and as it arrived to the site the demon drop dropped the bowl of water there, forming the Lake wherein the Lama was trapped.


Phoksondo Lake, the deepest freshwater lake in Nepal, is one of the highest altitude lakes of the world as well. The sources of water to the lake are small streams originated from the Himalayas and hence the lake water is always freezing cold. The interesting part of the lake is that it has no animal life at all. Also the feature of changing its color is a fascinating fact about the Lake. Though the lake is known for its deep aquamarine blue color, it changes its color according to the amount of light falling upon it. Its color changes from deep green, gleaming silver, to its original color bluish gray. Surprisingly, the lake water doesn’t freeze during the winters as per the natives of Dolpo. Also, the views of Numala and Bagala passes which are on the way to Dho Tarap from the lake bank are exceptionally spectacular.


This small piece of HEAVEN on the planet Earth is often considered as the most beautiful place in the world by few of the trekkers who choose to trek along these untrodden trials that lead them to the wild west of Nepal. Eric Valley chosen location to film extraordinary movie Himalayan Carvan, Dolpo deserves to be on the bucket list of every trekker willing to explore the wildest of the Himalayas.