Tsomgo (Changu) Lake
Situated at an altitude of 12,400 feet and approximately 38 kms from Gangtok is the majestically surreal beauty of the Tsomgo Lake. This lake is a must see on any visit to Gangtok. Tsomgo means "source of water: in the Bhutia language and this lake is certainly that. The lake is fed by the melting snow off the mountains surrounding the lake. In order to get to the lake, one has to take a winding road that goes through rugged mountain terrain and sharp cliffs which present a unique experience to enjoy the legendary beauty of the area. The lake is known to have a different look depending on the season. The winter months ensure that the lake is frozen and surrounded by snow cover on the banks while in spring and summer there is a profusion of flowers in bloom which adds a riot of colors and perfumes around the lake.
The Tsomgo (Changu) Lake is associated with many myths and legends and is thought to be sacred by the Sikkimese. Legend has it that the Buddhist monks used to study the color of the water of the lake in order to forecast the future.
The lake also features in the legends and the religion of the Jhakris (faith healers) of Sikkim. Every year on Guru Purnima faith healers congregate on the lake to offer prayers. This is even more significant as this time coincides with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.
The Tsomgo Lake is open to all visitors, both local and foreign. However, it is required that foreign nationals arrive in groups of two or more and they have to get permits through a registered travel agency.
Since much of the lake is enclosed in some steep and rugged mountain terrain, tourists are treated to quite a journey on the backs of colorfully decorated yaks and mules. The lake site also has many offerings of stalls serving snacks and beverages. Rental of items such as snow boots and gum boots can be done here as well.