The route to Tobavarchkhili Lake is just as astonishing as the stories about it. Tobavarchkhili Lake is located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, to the south of the Egrisi Ridge. Surrounded by deciduous and coniferous forests, the lake is overlooked by subalpine and alpine meadows. In addition, there are three other small lakes around it: Kalalish, Didghlish, and Tsakatskarish Lakes.
Tobavarchkhili Lake, located 2,650 meters above sea level, overlooks Khobistskali.
The way to Tobavarchkhili Lake, in Khobistskali Valley, is bedecked with all the wonders of nature: caves, mineral waters, alpine lakes, Magani River Canyon, and a waterfall.
The higher you climb, the more you feel the peace and tranquility of untouched nature.
At the foot of Natifure Mountain, one can see a shepherd's wooden hut. If you decide to take a break here, be sure to try the popular Megrelian dish of elarji. As you do so, expect locals to tell you stories about Tobavarchkhili Lake, which they say is a holy lake. There, the legend goes, the descendant of God, Goliath Aramkhutu, washed a painful wound which he suffered in a fight against the evil Goliath, while protecting this sacred place. The legend holds that, the Goliaths Aramkhutu and Ochokochi, standing on the Kvira and Okhachkwe Mountains, started throwing rocks at each other. Those rocks fell to the ground, creating huge hollows on the slopes of the mountain, which deformed over time, taking the shape of a funnel.
The snow trapped in this funnel is called jishti and the herdsmen use it as a natural refrigerator. It is indeed worth noting that matsoni (Georgian yoghurt) when put in jishti to cool down is particularly tasty.
In the end, as it happens, good defeated evil, although Ochokochi still managed to hit Aramkhutu with a rock, cutting his arm. The descendant of God then washed his painful wound in the nearby lake, and that’s why even today it is believed that washing one’s hands in Tobavarchkhili Lake will trigger thunder and lightning.
From that point on, either walking around 8 km, or sitting on the horseback, you will reach Tsashikibuli (“stairway to the sky”). This is the highest peak in Samegrelo, yet even an inexperienced hiker can climb it. The other side of the peak however is steep, only to be climbed by professional alpinists. Standing on a peak the height of Tsashikibuli and seeing the world from a height of 3,116 meters, the serenity is indescribable. Yet even better sensations await, with the glittering lake shining shades of blue and silver to dazzle you. The depth of the lake, on average, is 16 meters, while the surface area is 0.21 km². Snow, rain, and groundwater all enrich the lake, with the water flowing out through Magana River. There are neither fish nor trees here, only alpine flowers, while the one and only Tsashikibuli is sublimely reflected on its surface.
If you lack the time or energy for hiking, a central road to the lake was built in 2021, making it significantly more accessible.