Lugu Lake in China

Lugu Lake is home to the Mosu minority, (China’s only matriachal society) and what has to be some of China’s most spectacular scenery.The lake is encircled with hills. The water is clean and inviting, with fish swimming in it. The forest around is dense and the air is fresh.It’s a 5 hour car ride from Lijiang travelling along some unmade roads but the journey is worth it when you get your first view of the lake and the surrounding mountains of Yunnan and Sechuan provinces.

Mystery and charm surround the lake, partly because it was once an unspoiled place and still retains much of its totally natural beauty. On the lake there are five islands. They are different sizes and are like green boats floating on the water. Heiwawu Island, Liwubi Island, and Lige Island are most notable. Heiwawu Island is in the center of the lake and has a variety of birds living on it. The smallest island on the lake is Nixi Island – an oblong rock covered with shrubs and moss. Besides the five islands, there are also three peninsulas and an island which is linked to a seawall on the shore by a path paved with small stones.

The small village by the lake has some basic accommodations and after taking a boat trip on the lake there is a beautiful Lamasary to visit. Go there soon before they build the planned airport and this place deteriorates into a characature theme park.Lugu Lake is called the “mother lake” by the Mosuo people. The lake is also well-known in Chinese travel pamphlets as the region of “Amazons,” “The Kingdom of Women” and “Home of the Matriarchal Tribe”, this last name highlighting the dominant role of the Mosuo women in their society because the Mosuo people who live there form a matriarchal society. There is no marriage. Men stay in the women’s home as mates called ‘Axia’ and the intimate relationship lasts as long as they like. Children are brought up by women, and use the surname of their mothers.

The Gaizu River, flowing out of the lake at its southeast end, has an outlet control which is operated seasonally, only during the rainy season, and the rest of the time (September to May) it remains closed. The shore line is winding and has thus developed many beaches which have become popular tourist attractions.

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