Lake Lugu is home to the Mosuo, an ethnic group of the area ruled by women. This matriarchal community, which has lasted for years, is considered the country’s cultural heritage and many travel to learn about the way of life of its people around this natural area.
What is Lake Lugu like?
Between the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, Lake Lugu is located in a privileged location at more than 2,500 meters of altitude. In addition, its extension and depth have given rise to a total of five small islands and peninsulas.
This crystal clear freshwater lake is protected by forests and large mountains. Thanks to the changes in light, we can see different colors in its waters. Shades ranging from emerald green to light blue and even some gray. The clarity is such that many compare it to a living mirror where clouds and mountains are reflected.
Among the high peaks, the well-known Montaña del León stands out, considered a sacred place by the ethnic group of the region: the Mosuo. This natural environment far from civilization has not only protected the culture of its inhabitants, it has also served to preserve natural life.
Numerous species of animals coexist in it, from aquatic plants to fish and birds that come from every corner of China. Lake Lugu is one of the most characteristic landscapes in the country and one of the most visited sites for all those who wish to observe the giant panda bear in the wild.
The real protagonists of Mosuo culture are women. This ethnic group, which is characterized by the fundamental role of women compared to men, is part of China’s national and cultural heritage. Their matriarchal society relegates men to the background.
Here the women are the owners of the businesses and family homes, the administrators and regulators of the community. They are in charge of sowing the fields, taking care of the cattle and distributing the food.
This ethnic group still preserves what is known as traveling marriage. In it, each member of the couple lives in her mother’s home, so they live apart all the time. Even, the woman has the right to have offspring with different men if she wants it that way, although it is not very common. The inheritance is passed only from mothers to daughters.
The Chinese government itself pressures them to take the general rules of the country and accept monogamous marriagebut nothing has been achieved yet.
Tips to make the most of your visit
Getting to Lake Lugu can be complex if you don’t prepare in advance. As it is far from civilization, we will not be able to access it except by private vehicle or by taking a trekking until you get to him. We recommend wearing comfortable clothing and visiting during the summer and fall months to avoid low temperatures.
One of the most characteristic tourist attractions is taking a spin around the lake in one of the Mosuo women’s canoes. We will have to negotiate with them the price of the trip so that it is not too expensive. Without a doubt, it will be worth the hour climbed on one of these boats. A privilege that will allow us to feel part of the natural and cultural environment.
We can also take a dip in its crystal clear waters, do several hiking trails in the area and try its local cuisine. Most of the dishes are based on roast meat accompanied by sautéed vegetables and fruit. In addition, they are known for their crafts, such as their brightly colored clothing.
Spending a few days in the villages around Lake Lugu is a golden opportunity to live in a peaceful environment where there is no violence or conflict. It may seem strange, but the Mosuo, while curious about life out there, say they are content with their way of life.