TSOMGO LAKE, East Sikkim
38 km from Gangtok and at an altitude of 12,400 ft, the ethereally beautiful Tsomgo lake or Changu Lake is a must on every visitors itinerary. A winding road through rugged mountain terrain and sharp cliffs takes you to Tsomgo, which means source of the water in Bhutia language. The lake derives its water from the melting snows of the mountains surrounding the lake. Of legendary beauty, the lake looks different at different seasons. In winter the placid lake remains frozen with the area around it covered in snow while in late spring the profusion of flowers in bloom adds a riot of colours around the lake.
The lake is associated with many myths and legends and is revered by the Sikkimese as sacred. It is believed that in olden times, Buddhist monks would study the colour of the water of the lake to forecast the future. The lake is also of special significance for the Jhakris [faith healers] of Sikkim who congregate here annually on Guru Purnima, which coincides with the festival of Raksha Bandhan, from all over the state to offer prayers. For the tourist a visit to the lake offers a wonderful outing. Rides on colourfully decorated yaks and mules are offered at the lake site, which also has a variety of eating stalls serving snacks and beverages. Snowboots and gumboots can be hired here.
Tsomgo lake is open for both Indian and foreign nationals, however foreign visitors have to be in a group of two or more and have to apply for a visitors permit through a registered travel agency.TSOMGO PASSENGER ROPEWAY
Tsomgo (Changu) LakeTsongo passenger ropeway at a height of 14,500 ft at Tsongo lake , on the way to Nathula and Baba Mandir. It has been designed , installed and operated by Conveyor & Ropeway Services Pvt.Ltd. in association with Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Government of Sikkim. Its scenic beauty grasp the minds of tourist by taking one round on the ropeway cable car.
Ropeway Cable car operation time : 8:00 am to 3 : 00 pm
Tickets are available at Tsomgo Lake.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
If you are looking for snow then January to March ( Temp: 8°C / -20°C ) is the best time to visit Tsomgo lake. During this time the lake and the surrounding hills will be covered in snow. However, if you are looking for beautiful views of Rhododendrons & Orchids in the hills then April to May ( Temp: 18°C / -17°C ) is the best time to visit. During October to December ( Temp: 26°C / -10°C ) of the year weather is clear and you’d get to see the best views of the surrounding hills. So plan your visit accordingly.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airways: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, West Bengal about 5 hrs drive from Gangtok. Sikkim also has got its first commercial airport at Pakyong, East Sikkim but weather hampers the operation of this airport most of the time. If you are lucky enough you can get a flight directly to Pakyong.
Railways: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal which is about 118 km from Gangtok, 135 km from Pelling & 98 km from Namchi.
Roadways: Gangtok is connected to the rest of India via NH10. After reaching Gangtok you can hire a taxi to reach Tsomgo Lake which is about 38 km.