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Photographer's Note

At an altitude of 4,595m (15,075 ft) in the Himalayas, not too far from the Tibetan border, sits the lake of Tso-Moriri, a large and mind-bogglingly beautiful teardrop of melted Himalayan snow.

A calm expanse of water 19km (12 mi) long, 3km (1.9 mi) wide and barely 40m (130 ft) deep, Tso-Moriri is the centrepiece of the Rupshu valley which cradles the lake in mountains six kilometres (20,000 ft) high.

Tso-Moriri has quietly acted as a receptacle for Himalayan snowmelt and natural spring water over the millennia. The lake's water ought to be pure and sweet, but because Tso Moriri is a closed lake — the water flows in but has no outlet — evaporation over the centuries has left it saturated with natural salts washed down the mountainsides with the snowmelt…

Here, a unique and delicate ecosystem flourishes: rare plants and flowers, small and threatened populations of animals such as the Kiang (red wild ass), and a drifting population of Changpa nomads who roam the plateau seeking nourishment for their lucrative herds of Pashmina goats, horses and yaks. There's also the tiny hamlet of Korzok — perhaps 50 dwellings on the northwest shore of the lake, overlooking precarious crops of barley, oats and vegetables: these are some of the world's highest and most difficult farmlands, so remote that Korzok is cut off from the rest of the world by snow for about eight months each year.

And, of course, there's a marvellous, picturesque monastery, Korzok Gompa, presiding over the village, where you'll find a tiny group of about 35 Tibetan Buddhist monks.

Korzok Gompa dates back somewhere between 300 and 500 years and is home to stunning old paintings, relics and statues, including a stunning Shakyamuni Buddha. The bell sits out in silhouette while in the BG out there is the calm, often mirror-reflective expanse of Tso-Moriri, offering your camera upside-down landscapes of brown, tan and black hillsides with white-capped peaks and piercing blue skies.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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