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Tsongmo Lake / Changu Lake

Lake / Backwaters | Pilgrimage

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Gangtok): 38 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 3 Hours

Place Location: On The Way To Nathula Pass

Transportation Options: Cab

Travel Tips: Tsomgo lake is accessible to both Indian and Foreign nationals, however since this is a protected area, all require Protected Area Permits. Foreign nationals must be in a group of two or more.

At a distance of 17 km from Nathula Pass and 38 km from Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake or Tsongmo Lake is a glacial lake located in the East Sikkim district of Sikkim. Also known as Changu Lake, it is one of the top places to visit in Gangtok and among the beautiful lakes in Himalayas.

Located at an altitude of 3,753 m, Tsongmo Lake is one of the few and awesome high altitude lakes in India. In Bhutia language Tsomgo means 'Source of the Lake'. The lake gets its water from the melting snow on the surrounding mountains. The lake is formed in an oval shape and has a surface area of 60 acres. The maximum length of the lake is 1 km and an average depth of the lake is 15 m. The River Lungtze Chu originates from this lake and further falls into Rangpo-chu.

Highly revered by the Buddhists and Hindus, the lake surface reflects different colors with change of seasons. According to the history, the colour of water of this lake was studied by Lamas so as to forecast about the future. They believed, if the water had a dark tinge, it indicated a year full of trouble and unrest in the state. The lake is also of special significance for the Jhakris (faith healers) of Sikkim who congregate here annually on Guru Purnima to offer prayers.

Surrounded by steep mountains covered with snow, this azure blue lake remains completely frozen during winter. In late spring the abundance of flowers in bloom adds colors around the lake. One can see a small Shiva temple and some food stalls near the Lake. Tourists can also enjoy a yak ride and a cable car ride at the lake. It is also a paradise for Ornithologists, as the migratory birds takes a break near the lake while flying long way from Siberia to the Indian plains such as Brahminy Ducks.

The journey to Changu Lake from Gangtok is also quite enchanting, where you can view a number of waterfalls enroute. One can either take a reserved vehicle or in high season join a group tour on shared basis. A reserved large vehicle costs about Rs. 4,000 for a round trip, the shared vehicle rate is about Rs. 450 per person. Along with Tsomgo, tourists can also visit Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass as part of a day trip from Gangtok.

Tsomgo lake is accessible to both Indian and Foreign nationals, however since this is a protected area, all require Protected Area Permits. Foreign nationals must be in a group of two or more. The permit can be obtained from the Police through a Sikkim Government authorized Tour Operator.

The best time to visit this lake is from March to late May and from October to mid-December.

Timings: 8 AM - 3 PM

Cable Car Ride: Rs.295 per person

Yak Ride: Rs.100 - Rs.300 per person