Trip to Tsomgo (Changu) Lake Sikkim

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tsomgo or Changu Lake is a must visit attraction near Gangtok in East Sikkim. Situated 40 KM away from Gangtok at a hieght of approximately 12000 Feet, Changu Lake is a part of the popular day trip from Gangtok to Nathula Pass. Tsomgo means "Source of the Water" in local Bhutia language, which for this lake is the melting snow from the mountains surrounding the lake. The lake is sacred to the Sikkimese and also sees an annual festival on Guru Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) when Sikkimese Faith Healers (Jhakris) congregate here to pray. The lake remains frozen during winter. Best time to visit Tsomgo and Nathula in my opinion is April-May and October-November because during these months, chances of land slides are less and one gets to avoid holiday season crowds. But these months are colder and one needs to be prepared for that. Views of the lake vary according to the weather conditions. I was there at the end of March and it turned out to be a cloudy day. Our shared taxi driver stopped at the lake on the way back from Nathula Pass and Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. During our brief halt at the lake, the Sun did not appear. The yak owners offering rides to the tourists looked annoying. They were almost running their yaks to the front of approaching vehicles which could have caused an accident hurting the poor yaks. There were some vendors renting local costumes for getting phorographed in them. The yaks and the costumes appeared more to spoil the serenity of the place rather than add to the fun of visiting Changu Lake. I remembered my earlier trip to Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim. Changu appeared nowhere near the beauty of the lake or the overall experience. See pictures and read more below...

Road around Tsomgo (Changu) Lake East Sikkim

Indian nationals need a permit to visit Nathula and Changu whereas foreign nationals can visit Changu Lake (not Nathula) with a special permission. These permits are arranged by travel agents in Gangtok. Sometimes, trips to Nathula Pass get terminated at Changu Lake due to bad weather or poor road conditions ahead. Trips only to Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir and Changu Lake are possible if one does not wish to visit Nathula Pass. I guess that would be a rather better ideal because one gets to spend more time at the Mandir and the Lake. pray for a sunny day because that makes the trip more memorable.

View of Changu (Tsomgo) Lake from the Road Above

Yak Rides at Tsomgo (Changu) Lake Sikkim

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Posted by Narinder Singh


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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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