Lake Tsongmo

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Lake Tsomgo
Changu Lake
Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake - East Sikkim.jpg
Location East Sikkim
Coordinates 27°22′31″N 88°45′50″E / 27.37528°N 88.76389°E / 27.37528; 88.76389Coordinates: 27°22′31″N 88°45′50″E / 27.37528°N 88.76389°E / 27.37528; 88.76389
Basin countries India
Max. length 836 metres (2,743 ft)
Max. width 427 metres (1,401 ft)
Surface area 24.47 hectares (60.5 acres)
Average depth 4.58 metres (15.0 ft) (average)
Max. depth 15 metres (49 ft)
Surface elevation 3,753.00 metres (12,312.99 ft)
Frozen winter

Tsongmo Lake, also known as Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, is a glacial lake in the East Sikkim, India, some 40 kilometres (25 mi) away from Gangtok, the capital of the state of Sikkim. Its elevation is 3,780 m (12,400 ft). During the winter season the lake remains frozen. The lake surface reflects different colours with change of seasons. The lake is held in great reverence by the local Sikkimese people. Buddhist monks prognosticated the future of the country after studying the changing colours of the lake.[1][2][3]

Etymology[edit]

In Bhutia language the name Tsongmo 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, some times 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 Tsongmo 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.[3] 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 red panda.[2][3]

Tourist attractions at the lake site are of joy rides on decorated yaks and mules where eating 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.[5]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

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 g 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 2009-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Changu Lake stamp and Sikkim Philately". Sikkimphilatelic Society. 

Bibliography[edit]