38 kms from Gangtok, Tsomgo lake can be visited as part of a half day sight seeing tour from Gangtok. No overnight accommodation is available and you must return to the Capital town by the evening.
The famous lake of East Sikkim is know by many names. Commonly tourists refer to the lake as Changu. Other versions of hte name includ Tsomgo / Tsongo Lake. The lake is located 38 kilometers from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim and takes about 2½ hours to reach by car. The word Tsomgo in Bhutia language means source of the lake. The lake is about one kilometer long, 50ft deep, oval in shape and is situated at an altitude of 3780 meters.
The lake remains frozen throughout the winter up to April end. Snowfall is also common in this area even during the summer months. The Tsomgo Lake is considered extremely sacred by the local people. The place is a paradise for bird lovers with large number of Blue Whistling Thrush, Redstarts and Forktails around. The Tsomgo lake is host to a number of migratory birds prominent among which is the Brahminy ducks. The migratory birds use the lake as a stop over on their way to the Indian plains from as far as Siberia during the winter months.
About 26 kilometers from Gangtok en-route to Tsomgo is the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary. The sanctuary with an area of 4 square kms has wide variety of flora and fauna. The Rhododendron flowers remain in full bloom during the months of April and May allowing breathtaking views to the visitors. The way to the Tsomgo Lake is famous for a number of beautiful waterfalls. According to legend, The Lake was originally situated several kilometers away. An old women who used to leave at Tsomgo one night dreamed that the lake was to move to its current location. The old lady informed her friends but they did not pay heed to her words.
The lady milked her yak, poured the milk on the ground as an auspicious sign and left the place for Lhachungkar. Just before leaving she saw an old lady with milk like white hair entering Tsomgo. Immediately after this the Tsomgo Lake was formed. The friends of the old lady are believed to be sub-merged in the lake along with their hard of yaks.