Tsomgo (Changu) Lake
38 km from Gangtok and at an altitude of 12,400 ft, the ethereally beautiful
Tsomgo 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.