Location: Gangtok-Nathu La highway, Sikkim
Tsomgo (Changu) lake is a glacial lake located at a distance of 40 km from Gangtok. The word ‘tsomgo’ literally means ‘source of the lake’ in Bhutia language. The lake is about 1 km long and 15 m deep. The lake is situated at an altitude 3780 m and remains frozen during the winter months.
The Tsomgo lake is revered by the local people, who worship their deities in small gumphas near the lake. Prayer flags are hoisted around the lake.
A small temple of Lord Shiva is also built on the lakeside. During the olden times, lamas used to study the colour of the water of the lake and forecast the future. It was said that if the waters of the Tsomgo lake had a dark tinge, it foreshadowed a year of trouble and unrest in the state.
The star-shaped gurudwara (Sri Hemkund sahib) located on the banks of the lake is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for the Sikhs.Hemkund is also sacred for the Hindus. According to Hindu mythology, Hemkund is where Lakshman (Lord Rama’s brother) did his penance. The mythological name for Hemkund is ‘Lokpal’. There is a temple dedicated to Laxman on the banks of the lake.The river flowing through this valley along the path from Gobindghat to Gobinddham is called Lakshman Ganga.
The lake is the source of the Lungtze chu river that meets the Rangpo-chu down its course.
It is an important bird habitat. It is home to the Brahmini ducks besides being a stopover for various migratory birds. During the summer months, the areas adjoining the lake abound in alpine flowers like primulas, poppies, iris and rhododendrons.It is also an ideal habitat for the endangered red panda.
Since the lake is located near the Indo-Chinese border, special permit is required to visit the lake.