I joined a tour to Yili, and visited Sayram Lake along the way.
Look at the pebbles on the ground – we were told to pick three up each.
We were then driven to a viewing platform –
And invited to make three wishes using the three pebbles.
Bit of a Tibetan practice: Walk clockwise around the pebble mound, make a wish, then cast your pebble onto the mound. Repeat for the remaining two pebbles.
A general word of advice – have a care with what you pray for. The local belief, as far as i understand, is that if your wish is granted, you must make a return trip for thanksgiving (actually, applies to Buddhist sites across Asia). Therefore, if you are uncertain about your ability to return as a pilgrim, it may be best not to request for something major there. These would include stuff like a childless couple praying to conceive, a long-time single praying to be married etc.
On a side note, what do people actually do at lakes (and beaches?) The bus drops you off, gives you time to enjoy the view and take pictures, and off you go. This was the same at Loch Lomond in Scotland…where my friends and I pottered about on the pebbly shore until it was time to board the bus. Perhaps I sometimes simply do not know how to relax and do nothing.
On another side note/warning: Lonely Planet says you could find accommodation with some herdsmen around the lake. They are few and far between, also sparsely located – by that I mean these lone clusters of 2-3 huts are located 8-10mins drive apart, if any…if one group has no space for you, it’s a long walk with no real certainty that you’ll find accommodation down the road! Either be prepared to join a tour, or rent a car, or book one with a driver for several hours…or pitch your own tent maybe.