This is a Ladakhi folk tale about how the Tsomoriri lake got its name. Legend has it that the lake was not always called as Tsomoriri. It used to be called something different but no one knows what.

Before we get into the details, it is important to get ourselves familiarized with a couple of Ladakhi words. Tso is the Ladakhi word for lake. And Mo is the Ladakhi word for a woman/girl.

The frozen shores of the Tsomoriri Lake

Long back, there was a little girl living in the Korzok village. She was responsible for taking care of her family’s herd of Yaks and Goats. Once during winter, one of her father’s prized Yaks escaped from its pen and ran off on to the frozen lake. This ‘Mo‘ was afraid of stepping on the frozen lake, but she was more afraid of facing her angry father. So gingerly, she stepped on the lake and called out “Ri.. Ri.. Ri..”. This is how the Lakdahi’s call out to their cattle.

The yak was too far to hear her. So she went a bit farther down on the lake and called out “Ri.. Ri.. Ri“. The yak now heard her and started walking nearer. But, just as the yak reached her the ice cracked and both of them were swallowed up by the icy waters of the lake never to be seen again.

Heartbroken, the villagers changed the name of the lake to Tsomoriri. In memory the girl, Mo, who perished in the lake, Tso, while calling out “Ri.. Ri.. Ri”. So Tso-Mo-RiRi.