Heavenly Lake is a lake about 30 miles southeast of Urumqi in Xinjiang, China. It is an alpine drift lake shaped in the Quaternary Glacier period. Heavenly Lake is 2,000 meters (6,500ft) above sea level on the stunning Bogda mountain. (Bogda is a Mongolian word, meaning "God".)
Overview of Heavenly lake
Labeled as a Chinese version of Swiss lakes, Lake of Heaven is one of the few unspoiled places in China. The crystal water reflecting the snow-topped peaks, fluffy white clouds and blue sky create a breath-taking view.
This large pristine lake is surrounded by alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains. The steep Heavenly Mountains (tianshan) are densely packed with pine and cypress trees as well as fields of wild flowers and herbs. The banks of the lake are covered with lush spruce forest.
What to do in Heavenly Lake
Heavenly Lake is a natural paradise with breathtaking scenery. The 4 hour drive from Urumqi through the seemingly endless desert may seem tiring but Tianchi will provide travelers an experience that makes the drive worthwhile.
Heavenly Lake is frequently touristed in the summer months and offers a range of activities. Tourists can go for strolls on the mountain paths and can hike or ride a horse up to the glacier plains where the scenery is simply stunning. This spot is particularly refreshing for those arriving in Urumqi from the barren deserts elsewhere in Xinjiang or from one of China's numerous granite cities.
Heavenly lake got its name
A local legend says that the Heavenly Empress would hold a gala at this lake whenever a local peach tree bore fruit. As this only happened about once every 3000 years, the banquets were understandably grand affairs. All the mortals would gather for such a long-awaited occasion, making the lake area into something of a Little Heaven, so hence the name, Lake of Heaven.
Kazakhs people in Heavenly Lake
The Kazakhs bring their entire house, home and family with them when they set up base here. There are hundreds of Yurts built around the shores and slopes, surrounded by goats, sheep and horses. Kashmere goats and sheep are the main source of income for these people followed by tourism. Many will offer horse back tours of the hillside and accommodation in their homes for a small fee (Approximately RMB30 including food). This is a great experience, and a fun way to get a glimpse of the lifestyle of these people. Yurts are made from hide or canvas stretched over a wooden frame. The interiors are wonderfully colorful, with handmade rugs and tapestries adorning the walls.
Designation of Heavenly Lake
In 2006, it was designated for four years of restoration work at a cost of 800 million yuan (US$100 million). The plan calls for the tourism area around the lake to be increased from the present 158 km² to 548 km².