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Sayram Lake, a Blue Diamond along Silk Road

 

Brief:


Sayram Lake is Xinjiang’s biggest and highest alpine lake, a sparkling sapphire along Silk Road, the last Oriental lover of the Atlantic, swan’s haven and a paradise on earth. Colorful events like cycling contest and Naadam Festival lend it with much vitality while the myth of water monster bestows it with mystery. From time immemorial, this captivating lake’s enduring legacy has been immortalized by legends, poems, myths and love stories.
 
 
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It is mainly feed by streams and underground water. Due to its high altitude, evaporation is more intense, hence, its water is slightly salty.


Detailed Introduction


Tucked away in a basin area between the northern stretch of the mighty Tianshan and picturesque Yili, China’s Provence, Sayram Lake is a fusion of spellbinding natural beauty and rich cultural legacy. Running 30km long from east to west and 25m wide from north to south, this oval-shaped lake sparkles like a stunning Goddess. Since ancient time, it has become the most beautiful memory of those intrepid wayfarers and merchants passing its shore, who helped to spread its fame worldwide.
 
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Sayram Lake borders Yining city to the west and nestles along the north section of Silk Road. It has many poetic titles. The warm and humid current from the Atlantic roams no more further after it kissed this lake, hence, it is heralded as “the last drop of tear from the Atlantic.” (in my opinion, it is more appropriate to describe it as the last lover of the Atlantic.).


Spanning 453km2 and elevated at 2073m, Sayram Lake is Xinjiang’s biggest and highest plateau cold water lake. Its average depth is 46.4m. At its deepest, it reaches 106m. Along its course, there is no glacier or permanent snow, so rain and underground water contribute a lot to sustain it. Since late December, it will freeze and sink into sleep till the warm breeze of May wakes it up. With the ice thickness ranges from one meter to two meters, a perfect ski playground is done.



Gorgeous Scenery


In early summer, Sayram Lake will stage the most intoxicating natural scenery: the crystal-clear azure lake will be fringed with an ocean of variegated flowers, such as wild poppy, golden lotus and pearl white chrysanthemum. There is nothing subtle about the bold colors of Sayram Lake. Their intensity, purity and vividness can actually hurt your eyes. When July or August set in, the flower ocean will give way to lush grasslands dotted with tens of thousands of horses and sheep. Local tribes will gather here, indulging in beauty and fun this heaven can offer.
 
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Swan’s Home


It belongs to alpine lake, even in summer, the temperature is no more than 10°C. Migrating birds include swans will come by to while away summer time.
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Colorful Activities


Naadam Festival


Each July 13 to 15, the Mongols and the Kazakhs will assemble to the lakeshore to host Naadam Festival. You can feast on local delicacies, watch festivities include horse racing, wrestling, archery, singing, dancing as well as buy some souvenirs in the market.

Cycling Contest


Sayram Lake Cycling Contest is a national sport event, which will draw cyclers from all over China. On May 29, 2013, the Seventh Sayram Lake Cycling Contest began and lasted for 4 days. All the participants cycled for 417km, and the Champaign has been awarded with a sum of 20,000RMB.
 
 
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Cultural background & Relics


Numerous poems have been devoted to praising its beauty. Since the 18th century, it has become a holy mountain to be worshiped annually. Thanks to Silk Road, this lake is studded with rich cultural relics, such as rock painting, Wusun Kingdom Ancient Tomb Clusters (From the second to the fifth century, Boertala area was inhabited by Wusun tribe, who left behind them an array of ten giant tombs, from where plenty of silk, golden ornaments, potteries and bronze wares have been unearthed), monasteries, Aobao of the Mongols, tablet inscriptions and relics of ancient relay stations.

Legends and Myths


When stare into the azure lake water, you will mostly be touched by its purity, mystique and even a touch of sadness. Legend has it that long ago, Sayram Lake was a grassland carpeted with flowers, the homeland of a beautiful lady named Qiedan and Xue Deke, her lover. One day, when Qie Dan was on her way home, a devil appeared from nowhere was bewitched by her supernatural charm. With the help of a horse, Qie Dan ran away. But Qie Dan was not a rival of the devil, who soon cornered her. At the critical moment, she threw off a piece of jade brocade on the ground. A thunderous quake shook the earth, and the ground parted to reveal a big pool. Qie Dan jumped into it. Hearing the voice, Xue Deke came to rescue his lover. But it was too late. Heartbroken, he threw himself into the pool also. In no time, this grassland was flooded by rising water, and this pair of ill-fated lovers, turned into two islands overlooking each other, for eternity. Today, in the heart of this lake, you can hear them murmuring loving words to each other incessantly.

Water Monsters?


In 2008, a group of cyclers saw a giant monster emerged above water surface and disappeared with lightening speed. Bewildered by its peculiar shape, most of the witnesses labeled it as water monster. Experts suggest that it could be Huchotaimen, one kind of carnival fish living in cold water. With an average length of 4m, it will weigh 70km after come age. In certain situation, it will turn red. In China, they are only found in Heilongjiang (Black Dragon River) and Eerqisi River in Xinjiang.

Sayram Lake is home to a rare-seen white monster, which resembles the bottom of a sailboat.

Travel Guide:


Add: It is 90km south of Bole city and 150km from Yining city. During the way, you will pass Guozigou and rolling lavender fields, the biggest in China and the third biggest on earth. You can stop by to buy some essence lavender oil. (新疆维吾尔自治区博尔塔拉蒙古自治州博乐市 )
Admission Fee: 70RMB (by 2013)
 
Operating Hour: 9:00am to 17:00pm

Get around: Leave Sayram Lake and hike along Guozigou, you will reach Lucaogou, which is famous for a dish called Yangzasui (a dish made of the plucks of sheep). Continue the hike, you will reach Qingshuihe Town. Follow the fragrance of lavender and cross a hill, you will see the biggest lavender plantation in China, the third biggest on earth.
 
 
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Posted by Sophia on July 8, 2013
Yuanyang Travel Tips
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