Tsomgo Lake, also known as Tsongmo Lake or Changgu Lake, is a glacial lake in the East Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim, some 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the capital Gangtok. Located at an elevation of 3,753 m (12,313 ft), the lake remains frozen during the winter season. The lake surface reflects different colours with change of seasons and is held in great reverence by the local Sikkimese people. Buddhist monks prognosticated after studying the changing colours of the lake.

Lake Tsomgo
Changu Lake
Lake Tsomgo
Lake Tsomgo
Location of Lake Tsomgo
Location of Lake Tsomgo
Lake Tsomgo
Changu Lake
Location in Sikkim
LocationEast Sikkim
Coordinates27°22′31″N 88°45′50″E / 27.37528°N 88.76389°E / 27.37528; 88.76389
Basin countriesIndia
Max. length836 metres (2,743 ft)
Max. width427 metres (1,401 ft)
Surface area24.47 hectares (60.5 acres)
Average depth4.58 metres (15.0 ft) (average)
Max. depth15 metres (49 ft)
Surface elevation3,753 metres (12,313 ft)


Etymology edit

In Bhutia language the name Tsomgo is made of two words 'Tso' meaning "lake" and 'Mgo' meaning "head" which gives the literal meaning as "source of the lake".[3]

Topography edit

The lake is surrounded by steep mountains which are covered with snow during winter. During summer the snow cover melts and forms the source for the lake.[1] The lake which remains frozen in winter season, sometimes extending up to May, receives an average annual precipitation of 1,183 millimetres (46.6 in) with temperatures recorded in the range of 0–25 °C (32–77 °F). [3]

The lake is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) away from Gangtok on the Gangtok-Nathula highway.[3] Further, the road to Nathu La skirts the lake on the north side. The Chinese border crossing is only some 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east-northeast in a straight line, but some 18 kilometres (11 mi) by road.[4]

Features edit

Sign for Tsomgo Lake

The lake is formed in an oval shape and has a surface area of 24.47 hectares (60.5 acres). The maximum length of the lake is 836 metres (2,743 ft) and has a maximum width of 427 metres (1,401 ft). The maximum depth reported is 15 metres (49 ft) while the average depth is 4.58 metres (15.0 ft). The lake water quality is of moderate turbidity.[3]

The lake is the venue for the Guru Purnima festival which is also the Raksha Bandhan festival when the faith healers known as Jhakris of Sikkim assemble at the lake area to derive benefits from the healing qualities of the lake waters.[1]

Alpine forests cover the catchment of the lake.[5] After the winter season ends in middle of May, the periphery of lake has scenic blooms of flower species of rhododendrons (the state tree of Sikkim), primulas, blue and yellow poppies, irises and so forth. Also seen in the precincts of the lake are several species of birds including Brahminy ducks. Wildlife seen includes the red panda.[2][3]

Tourist attractions at the lake site include joy rides on decorated yaks and mules where kiosks offer variety of food and drinks.[1] There is also a small Shiva temple on the bank of the lake.[2]

Entry permits edit

As the lake is located in a restricted area it is essential for all Indians visiting the area to obtain permits. In case of foreign nationals special permit is essential.[2]

Indian Postal Service released a commemorative stamp on the lake on 6 November 2006.[6]

Border trade market edit

The nearby habitation of Changgu was declared a border trade market in 2003.[7][8]

Gallery edit

See also edit

Tourist Attraction edit

It is one of the biggest tourism draws in the Eastern Himalayan state of Sikkim receiving around 300,000 (3 lakh) tourists annually. The best time to visit the lake is January to March.[9]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d "Tsomgo (Changu) Lake". Sikkim Tourism:Government of Sikkim.
  2. ^ a b c d "Tsomgo Lake". National Informatics Centre.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Kar 2014, p. 101.
  4. ^ deBruyn, Pippa; Bain, Keith; Venkatram, Niloufer; Joshi, Shonar (4 March 2008). Frommer's India (Frommer's Complete). Hoboken, New Jersey, USA: Frommer's. p. 586. ISBN 978-0-470-16908-7. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  5. ^ O'Neill, A. R. (2019). "Evaluating high-altitude Ramsar wetlands in the Sikkim Eastern Himalayas". Global Ecology and Conservation. 20 (e00715): 19. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00715.
  6. ^ "Changu Lake stamp and Sikkim Philately". Sikkimphilatelic Society.
  7. ^ "Documents signed between India and China during Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to China". Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. 23 June 2003. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  8. ^ Acharya, Alka (2008). China & India: Politics of Incremental Engagement. Har-Anand Publications. p. 134. ISBN 978-81-241-1442-1.
  9. ^ "Darjeeling and Sikkim Tourism places have the most beautiful sights for 2021 trip". Retrieved 12 June 2021.

Tsomgo Lake travel guide - Permit Regulations Climate Temperature

Bibliography edit