Friday, 17 March 2017

The Best Thing To Do In Sikkim: Tsomgo Lake, A Temptation Hard To Resist!

The Best Thing To Do In Sikkim: Tsomgo Lake, A Temptation Hard To Resist!

All the way from Delhi, when I reached Bagdogra and came out of the Airport, my eyes got struck with the beautiful mountains at far distance. Once there at Tenzing Norgay bus stand, like as predicted, soon I was engulfed with variety of offers from agents for cabs, bus and hotels. But I decided to stick on to my own principles - explore yourself. Turning down all offers I hired a Cab to Gangtok. The route was amazing, with beautiful scenery of River Teesta. As I reached Gangtok, planned to stroll around M.G.Marg & relax, as I was exicted for the next day Trip to Tsomgo Lake, which I marked on my Trip map, even before finalizing travel dates.

Tsomgo Lake, also known as #Changu or #Tsongmo Lake, which means “source of water” in Bhutia language, is a glacial lake in #EastSikkim. Located at 38 kms from #Gangtok on Gangtok-Nathula highway, at an elevation of 12,400 ft, the lake is surrounded by steep mountains covered with snow during winter. The lake which remains frozen by snow-cover in winter season, some times extending upto April, melts during summer and forms the water source for the lake. The lake reflects different colours with change of seasons. After winter season in mid-May, surrounding of the lake has scenic blooms of flower species of rhododendrons, primulas, blue & yellow poppies and irises so forth.

A small bridge at the lake entrance will take you to a viewpoint cum cafeteria, from where you can view the complete lake & its surrounding mountains. You can trek along the lakeside in deep snow during winter or even try Yak ride at the Lake-side. Get the best panoramic view of the lake after crossing it on the way to New #BabaMandir. Carry warm clothes and shoes because of cold (temperature can be in range of 0–18°C). The lake is oval shape & surface area of 60 acres. The lake is highly revered by local Buddhists & Hindus as a sacred lake and is the venue for the Guru Purnima festival when faith-healers of Sikkim, known as Jhakhris offer prayers. From the Lake, Chinese border is only 5 kms east-northeast in a straight line across the mountains (by road some 18 kms).

Don't confuse it with just another trip to any lake. As you drive uphill leaving Gangtok, the weather changes instantly, and you are literally up in the clouds, a place which one cannot afford to miss if visiting Sikkim. The journey is quite enchanting, where you can view a number of waterfalls en route. You can stop in the mid of the Journey at 15th Mile & have Hot Maggie or Momos with Cup of a Tea & enjoy the panoramic picturesque surroundings. Keep your Camera fully charged with extra battery & Memory Card, so that later you don't feel you missed some.

The road condition is quite good from Gangtok to #Changu & to BabaDham Mandir, as it newly re-constructed. Start early by 7am from Gangtok, will take 2hrs drive by a reserved SUV/MUV 4-wheelers(i.e. Sumo, Scorpio, Innova, Xylo) which can be hired at Gangtok for Rs.2800 to Rs.3800 depending on season time (includes permit charges for 2 person as well). For visit to Changu Lake travel permit can be obtained on the day of the visit or previous day, but if you wish to visit #NathulaPass travel permit must be organized in Gangtok 1-2 days prior to travel,to obtain the permit require original & copy of your photo-id card and 2 photos(Pan & Aadhar are not accepted).

The Gangtok – Nathula Highway skirts the Changu Lake divides into two Roads & reaches one to #NewBabaMandir and the other to Nathula Point from #Serathang. Baba Mandir is 30mins drive from the Lake & should not be missed in Changu-Lake Trip. This is the Last Temple & at 13,123 height before China, which is beautiful & pleasant. The temple falls under Army area & to visit this you'll drive through the Army base & may be lucky enough to see the Army parade or Practices from very close. You will surely bump into jawans at these places as entire area under Army Camp with no mobile network available. If you plan to visit Nathula it will be 1hr30mins drive from Changu Lake.

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