Gokyo Lakes are oligotrophic lakes in Nepal’s Sagarmatha National Park and is the second largest glacier in the World. It is located at an altitude of 4,700–5,000 m (15,400–16,400 ft) above the sea level. These lakes are the world’s highest freshwater lake system comprising six main lakes, of which Thonak Lake is the largest. It offers stunning views of Mount Everest in the adjacent range including lovely valleys, lush rivers and friendly people in quaint villages.
Gokyo lakes are located in Khumjung Village Development Committee of Solukhumbu District in Sagarmatha Zone in north-eastern Nepal. Gokyo Cho, also called Dudh Pokhari, is the main lake with an area of 42.9 ha (106 acres). Thonak Cho is the largest lake with an area of 65.07 ha (160.8 acres). Gyazumpa Cho is 29 ha (72 acres) in size, followed by Tanjung Cho with an area of 16.95 ha (41.9 acres), and Ngojumba Cho with an area of 14.39 ha (35.6 acres). They have high hydrological values being the permanent source of fresh water and feed on waters from various sources. Such as seepage from the Ngozumpa glacier, a stream coming from the Renjo La pass from north-west and another stream originating from the Ngozumpa glacier in the east. These are glacier-fed freshwater wetlands and discharge water to the Dudh Kosi headway via the Taujon Lake and the Longabanga Lake. These lakes are deeper than previously assumed by the researchers. Fourth Lake (Thonak Cho) is the deepest lake (62.4m) followed by the Gokyo Lake which is 43 m. The Gokyo lake system of 19 lakes is spread over an area of 196.2 ha (485 acres) lying between 4,600 and 5,100 m (15,100 and 16,700 ft). The wetland lies on the head of the Dudh Kosi, which descends from Cho Oyu.
The Gokyo Lakes are considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. During Janai Purnima festival which occurs in the month of August, hundreds of pilgrims visit here to take a holy bath. The site is worshipped as the residing place of ‘Nag Devata’ (Snake God). At the western corner of the lake there is a temple of the Hindu deities Lords Vishnu and Shiva.
Gokyo is one of the most popular tourist destinations leading towards the Sagarmatha base camp and other areas. A major center of this area is the Gokyo village which is at 4,790 metres (15,720 ft) elevation and lies on the eastern shore. The site is two days walk uphill from Namche Bazaar and often includes climbing Gokyo Ri.
The Gokyo Lakes are also part of an extended Everest Base Camp trek known as the EBC trek via Gokyo Lakes. This trek is commonly hiked by people with slightly more time to trek as the trail is 4 days longer than the standard EBC trek. The Gokyo Lakes trek also has the added benefit of being a circular route as opposed to the standard EBC trek which returns along the same trail.