Sikkim is distinguished for its natural scenery, which gets further enhanced by the picturesque lakes of the state. Actually, one could not think of locating lakes in a craggy terrain like that of Sikkim in India. However, Sikkim has many lakes even though they are not very big in volume. The alluring glacial valleys along with austere mountain peaks provide the perfect setting to the eye-tempting lakes of Sikkim.
Perhaps, Sikkim boasts of the most beautiful natural lakes in the world. The Lakes in Sikkim are spring fed as well as river fed. In fact, Sikkim lakes can provide some of the transcendent places, where you can spend a quality time in solitude. Tsomgo Lake, Menmecho Lake, Khecheoprai Lake, Green Lake, Samiti Lake, Cholamu Lake, Lakshmi Pokhari and Bidan Chu Lake are the graceful lakes of Sikkim. In this article, we will discuss the major ones in brief.
Tsongmo Lake has perhaps one of the most beautiful landscapes in Sikkim. On Gangtok – Nathu La highway, Tsomgo Lake is situated at an altitude of 12,400 ft. Also known as Changu Lake, Tsongmo Lake is regarded as a sacred lake by the local Buddhists and the Hindus. Tsomgo Lake extends to 1 km in length, deepens to 15 meters and happens to be oval in its shape.
Khecheopalri Lake is a tranquil lagoon amidst the dense forests in West Sikkim. Located at a distance of 30kms, Khecheopalri Lake can be easily reached from Geyzing via Pemayangtse. The significance of Khecheopalri Lake lies in the fact that it is worshipped both by the Buddhists as well as the Hindus. The serene waters of this lake appear to comprise a celestial charisma. Pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the world come to visit this placid lake.
Gurudongmar Lake is the largest, perhaps the highest lake in Sikkim, India. The very appearance of serene waters of the lake brings a sense of relief to the beholder. Situated at an elevation of 17,100 feet (5,148 m), Gurudogmar Lake rests on the northern side of the Khangchengyao Range, in a high plateau area next to the Tibetan Plateau. Gurudongmar Lake is a watercourse of high reverence for the Sikkimese and Buddhists.
Tso Lhamu Lake / Chola Mu Lake
Near Donkiala Pass, Chola Mu is a charming lake to be found on the plateau that extends from Sikkim into Tibet. At an altitude of 18,000 ft, Tso Lhamu Lake is surrounded with snow crowned mountains. The renowned Teesta River emerges from this moderate-sized lake. In winters, the lake gets frozen, but before getting frigid, it doesn’t forget to flirt with ice. The beauty of this lake gets further enhanced by the reflection of adjoining mountains in its waters. The chilly water of this lake, invites many migratory birds from Russia, China and other parts of India, to take a placid halt.
Menmecho Lake is located at a distance of 20 kms from Tsomgo (Changu) Lake. Nestled between the mountains, Menmecho Lake is the prime source of Rangpo-Chu River (a tributary of Teesta River). In summers, Menmecho gets its water from melting snows of the surrounding hills and with rains in the monsoons. Not accessible for tourists, Menmecho Lake is renowned for Trout.
As expected, Green Lake doesn’t comprise any greenery on its banks nor has green waters. In 1899, the lake disappeared and today, this lake is just a lake basin. Recently, Green Lake has been developed into a take-off point for mountaineers, who go for expeditions in this area.
Karthok Lake is another sacred lake like Khecheopalri of Sikkim. During December- January, a festival is celebrated to commemorate Karthok Lake at Yuksam.