July 2013
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Travel – Lake Tsongmo or Changu Lake – Sikkim

Tsongmo Lake is also known as Changu Lake. It is a glacial lake in East Sikkim in India.

Overview of Tsongmo Lake

• This lake is located about 40 kms away from Gangtok.
• It is situated at an altitude of 3,780 m.
• On its northern side of this lake passes the road to Nathu La.
• About five kms away, the Chinese border crossing is present.
• This to the east-northeast in a straight line.
• It is about 18 kms by road.
• There was a stamp released by IPS (Indian Postal Service) on this lake.
• It was released on 6 November 2006.
• Its average depth is about 15 m.
• Its surface elevation is about 3,780 m.
• Tsongmo Lake is about 40 km from Gangtok on Nathula route.
• It is considered to be a large lake present in the East Sikkim district of India.
• The lake freezes in winter months.
• The area is controlled by the Indian Army.
• Visiting the lake is recommended before noon.
• This is due to the weather conditions.
• Bus ticket from Gangtok to Changu Lake to and fro is charged 150 rupees.
• Cabs and Jeeps are available at Gangtok for about 550 to 900 rupees.
• It is best to carry heavy woolen cloths.
• It is same all through the year.
• They are required to be worn throughout the year.
• There are rides that can be taken on the back of yaks which are available at the lake side.
• It is in oval-shape.
• The length of this lake comes to about a km.
• This lake is made home by many of the Brahminy Ducks.
• The lake is also a stopover for numerous migratory birds.
• “Tso” means lake and “Mgo” means head which in combination means “source of the lake” in the Bhutia language.
• Tsongmo Lake is considered a sacred lake by Buddhist and Hindu people living there.
• The lake is not very visible due to a forest cover which is very thick as if hidden.
• It is believed that no leaf is left afloat by these birds on the surface.
• From Pemayangtse, one can use the road which is right up to the lake area.
• It falls in the restricted area.
• An inner line permit is therefore needed by Indians in order to visit this place whereas foreign nationals are restricted here.
• For them a special permission is required.
• There is a three storied cave named Tseten Tashi Cave which is certainly worth a visit.
• Nathu La pass is closed to foreigners and Indians.
• It can be visited in a group of at least two along with a guide.

What do you need to get up there?

• Look for a tour company.
• This is because it is forbidden to visit individually.
• Apply for visitor permission.
• It is best to get the permission before the day of travel.
For this one needs:
– 3 passport photos
– Passports
– One passport copy
– A copy of our Indian visa
– Copy of the arrival stamp
• Get a car either individually for rent or for sharing or in the form of taxi.
• From Gangtok, the distance to the Lake Tsongmo is approximately 40 km and takes about two hours.
– All cars must pass a check point up the pass before 11.00 am.
– Cars are only able to drive back to Gangtok after 2.00 pm.
– The route for the check-point will be the narrow and steep road.

Places nearby Lake Tsongmo or Changu Lake

Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary
• The Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary that is situated in East Sikkim in India.

Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple
• The temple is situated on the road that lies between the Nathula and the Jelepla Pass.

Chumbi Valley
• Chumbi Valley is a valley located in Tibet and at the intersection of India, Bhutan and China.

Best time to visit/climate

• The weather condition is very changeable up North.
• Most of the times it’s very foggy.
• Best time to visit is Mid May to August.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

• Airports or railway stations are not present in Sikkim.
• The only method to enter Sikkim from most parts of India is simply by road.
• This is by using bus or jeep from West Bengal.

By plane
• Nearest airport for Sikkim is Bagdogra.
• This is near Siliguri in North Bengal.
• This is about 124 km and about 4 hours drive from Gangtok.
Airlines offering services are:
– Indian Airlines
– Jet Airways
– Spice Jet
– Go Air
• Bagdogra airport links with other airports of India.
• Druk Air flies twice weekly from Bangkok.
• It stops in Bagdogra.
• Then it continues to Paro in Bhutan.
• One can also take a helicopter from Bagdogra to Gangtok.

By train
The nearest railway stations are
– Siliguri
– New Jalpaiguri
• These stations connect to other parts of India.
• There are pre-paid taxis available to go to Gangtok outside the station.
• It takes about four to five hours.

By bus
• The Sikkim government has fixed rate buses.
• There are many of them that travel between Siliguri and Gangtok.

Some Travel Books on Australia

Sikkim : A Traveller’s Guide Sikkim & Northeast India Sikkim – A Guide and Handbook

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at wego.co.in
Hotels at touristlink.com
Hotels at gangtokhotels.org

Blogs / Sites about Lake Tsongmo or Changu Lake

blogs at mustseeindia.com
blogs at bharatonline.com
blogs at wikipedia.org
blogs and reviews at tripadvisor.com

Images and photos about Lake Tsongmo or Changu Lake

images at mustseeindia.com
images at flickr.com
images at wikipedia.org
images at google.com

Videos about Lake Tsongmo or Changu Lake

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