Qinghai Lake, also known as Kokonor in Mongolian (and English atlases), is China’s largest saline lake at 4500 sq km. At 3200m above sea level, this is also a huge highland lake at the edge of the Tibetan cultural sphere in China. On its shores live Tibetan and Mongol herders who have long regarded the lake as sacred. Indeed, as I walked on its shores, the many magnificent snowcapped mountains that surround the lake and the green pastures along its shores were simply evocative of the many legends linked to this land. Near the city of Xining is the Kumbum Monastery (known as Ta’er Monastery to the Chinese), the second most important of the six great Tibetan Buddhist monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. It is also the home monastery of the Panchen Lama, the highest ranking lama after the Dalai Lama. Great works of art abound in this gem of Tibetan Buddhism.