By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Manasa-sarovara, MAnasa-sarovara, Maanasa-sarovara
Mānasa-sarovara literally means ‘lake that emerged out of Brahmā’s mind or heart’.
One of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for a devotee is the mount Kailāsa and the lake Mānasa-sarovara. The four-faced Brahmā while doing penance in the Himalayas is said to have created it out of his mind (or heart) and hence it is named so.
Geographical Significance of Mānasa-sarovara
- It is in Tibet at a distance of 32 km (20 miles) from the mount Kailāsa.
- Several rivers like the Sindhu (Indus), Sutlej and Brahmaputra originate from here.
- Its water is crystal clear and very cold.
- It is 90 meters (300 ft.) deep.
- It abounds in swans and ducks.
- There are eight maṭhas or monasteries on its banks.
- Some of the monasteries contain the images of gods like Kālī.
- It is situated at a height of 4500 meters (15,000 ft.) above the sea-level.
Worship of Mānasa-sarovara
- A bath in it is considered to be highly meritorious.
- Its actual circumference is 89 km (55 miles). However, the route of circumambulation is 113 km (70 miles).
- Those who visit this lake, often undertake the circumambulation of the mount Kailāsa also, which takes about 2 to 3 days.
- There is a twin lake called Rākṣasatāl, where Rāvaṇa is said to have performed tapas (austerity) to please Lord Śiva.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore