A winding road to Tsomgo Lake
Tsomgo Lake is a high mountain glacial lake at an elevation of 3.753m (12,313ft) above the sea level, located in the East Sikkim of the Indian state of Sikkim.
The road to the lake, also known as Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake, starts at Gangtok, the capital of the northern Indian state of Sikkim. It’s called Jawaharlal Nehru Road (Gangtok-Nathula highway) and is 37 km long, mostly paved. Within this 35 kms journey span the road elevates a whooping 7,500 ft with breathtaking view and number of hair pin bends. Don’t stuff your belly too much. Eventually, you might feel vomiting temptations while climbing circuitous roads at higher altitudes. And people don’t like to open window to invite freezing air inside.
Perched between the mountains, the drive was pretty extreme. But no longer so, proper road has been built, although condition of the road usually remains bad due to snowy & foul weather conditions. From Gangtok which is at 5,410 ft, the altitude rises to about 7,000 ft in just 15kms. You can imagine how steep the gradient would be in this stretch of the road. On the way to the lake are a few waterfalls.
The lake is open to visitors all year round. Tsomgo Lake is one of the most popular glacial lakes in India. It remains frozen during the winter season. Along the road your wheels will be astounded at the wonderful views of the mountains spread out before you! They are terrible for drivers who are prone to vertigo. It’s a winding road through rugged mountain terrain and sharp cliffs that takes you to Tsomgo, which means source of the water in Bhutia language. Tsomgo lake is open for both Indian and foreign nationals, however foreign visitors have to be in a group of two or more and have to apply for a visitors permit through a registered travel agency. Further, the road to Nathu La skirts the lake on the north side.
Pic: debasish borgohain