Guatativa Lake became one of the most historically significant sites of Colombia. This lake is also known as Laguna de Guatavita and it is a beautiful natural reserve located in the northeast of Bogota. This site is quite popular and mysterious as it is believed that lake Guatativa has hidden gold under its water and though it is known as the site of ‘El Dorado’.
There are various mysterious stories revolving around this lake and everybody wants to know how Guatative lake becomes the golden secret of Colombia! From where this whole myth originated?
Here’s everything you want to know about this mysterious Lake Guatavita —
A Small Town – Guatativa la Nueva
Lake Guatativa is located around 30min away from a small village – Guatativa la Nueva of Bogota, in short, it is known as Guatavita. This village is one of the most popular destinations among those travelers who want refreshment from their daily hustle-bustle lifestyle.
In the 1960s, this town was established to relocate the citizens of the original Guatavita that was drowned during the construction of the Tomine reservoir. Later Guatavita was redesigned as per the Spanish colonial town style. Now it has unique restaurants built-in wooden style, traditional handicrafts stores, a beautiful church and a museum with a small collection of original artifacts from the colonial era.
Moving towards the ancient, sacred and mysterious Lake Guatavita. The lake is famous for the Legend of El Dorado, which means that the treasures existed deep inside the waters of the lake. I know you all are wondering why I said this lake scared!! The reason is that this lake was once a sacred ritual site of the Muisca civilization (peoples of Central Colombia), which finally led to the rumoured saga of El Dorado. Muisca people also threw gold offerings into its depths and this inspired the legend of El Dorado. Further, this lost city of treasure drove thousands of men on a quest throughout South America and several efforts were made to empty the Guatavita Lake.
Talking about the origins of the lake – There are several reasons given for its circular shape. Scientifically, the shape of this lake can be due to a volcanic crater or the result of a meteorite impact. From the top of this lake, visitors can walk up to the edge of the crater for observing the extensive landscape of the Guatavita Village.
Stories Related to the Origin of El Dorado, Lake Guatavita
There were several stories cooked for the hidden treasure and to unfold the mystery of Lake Guatavita. Two common stories I am saying with you. Check them out –
It was said that all this historical sequence of El Dorado started from a Muisca myth of a leader whose wife committed suicide by drowning herself and her daughter in the Guatavita lake. According to this myth, the Muisca leader was married to a hitched to a lovely princess from an alternate tribe with whom he had a child. Muisca leader loved drinking and spending time with his mistresses. Seeing this leader’s wife started an affair with one of the leading warriors of the tribe. Her husband found out this and killed that warrior. Later he organized a feast in the honour of his wife and offered her the heart of his lover. This grief his wife left the feast with her child and jumped into Lake Gutavita
After he found out his wife and daughter laid dead at the bottom of the lake, Leader ordered regular offerings be made to the lake that had become the kingdom of his late wife and daughter. Over time, the princess became the goddess Bachue, who regularly would appear from the misty waters with her child in her arms.
As per the legend, the process of selecting the new Muisca Chief used to occur at the centre point of this lake. It is said that the new Muisca boss was covered in gold dust and then sailed to the centre of the lake in a wooden raft from which he would jump into the water. The raft was overfilled with precious treasures that were later thrown into the water as a symbol of worship to their gods. The raft ritual is portrayed in the popular golden ornament placed at the Gold Museum of Bogota.
The Story of Gold Rush, Lake Guatavita
By the 16th century, when the Spanish colonizers visited this place, they heard about the legend of El Dorado, and thus arranged many campaigns to find the gold which was immersed in the lake. They did several attempts to drain this lake but nothing was never found there.
Although jewellery and artefacts were recovered from the lake, the rumours of abundant golden treasure hidden beneath the water lake proved to be false. This gold rush lasted for 300 years later that the quest for El Dorado finally stopped itself and remained as only a myth.
Closing this mystery of El Dorado here yet there are various proofs of El Dorado that excellent Lake Guatavita holds. But you noticed that stories mentioned above, the and artifacts and jewellery kept at the Gold museums of Bogota are pointing towards that all the myths the Columbian lake with the golden secret might be true!! Stay curious, and think about it!!! If you liked this blog, share with your friends too.