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Lakes in Sikkim

On the face of it, one would not expect to find lakes on such a rugged terrain. But surprisingly, Sikkim does have lakes though not very large in size. These lakes are both spring fed as well as river fed. On the highway between Gangtok and Nathu La , 34 kms. from Gangtok lies the serene Tsomgo(Changu) Lake at an altitude of about 11,000 feet.  Khecheopalri lake is another well known lake that lies on a bifurcation of the route between Gyalshing and Yuksom . Menmecho lake, Green lake and Samiti lake are some other beautiful lakes.

Tsomgo(Changu) Lake

Tsomgo literally means  "source of the lake " in Bhutia language. ' TSO' means lake and ' MGO' means head. At  about 40 kms. away from Gangtok ,  this serene and holy lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft on the Gangtok - Nathu La highway. It is about 1 km. long, oval in shape, 15 meters deep.  It is also a home of brahmini ducks besides being a stopover for various migratory birds. 

The  lake remains frozen during the winter months up to mid-May. Between May and August it is possible to see a variety of flowers in blooms, including the rhododendrons, various species of primulas, blue and yellow poppies, irises etc. It is also an ideal habitat for the red panda and various species of birds.

Menmecho Lake

20 Kms. further away from Tsomgo (Changu ) Lake is this beautiful lake which lies cradled between the mountains below the Jelep La Pass and is the  source of river Rangpo-chu. It derives its water from melting snows around. The lake is famous for its Trout and a farm to cultivate these fish also exist nearby.

Khecheopalri Lake
Khecheopalri lake is considered as one of the sacred lakes of this state both by the Buddhist and the Hindus. The lake remains hidden in the rich forest cover. It is believed that the birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface. There is a motor able road from Pemayangtse right up to the lake area. For those interested in spending a night or two in the peaceful environment a trekkers hut has been provided by the tourism office. The hut is presently managed by a local person and provides comfortable stay providing a taste of local cuisine which may include 'chang' brew made of fermented millet. There is also a pilgrim's hut, managed by the tourism department , which is meant to provide accommodation to the people who come on pilgrim tours.
Karthok Lake
Kathok and Khecheopalri are two important lakes of this area. Khecheopalri, known as the "Wishing Lake", is one of Sikkim's most sacred lakes. A festival held every year at Khecheopalri Lake during February-March draws people from all over Sikkim. Another is held at Yuksam during Decembe-January in connection with Kathok Lake. 
Green Lake
The Green Lake is fast developing into a take-off point for mountaineering expeditions to the peaks of this area. The Green Lake may in the minds of many conjure up an image of beautiful, exotic waterbody, but sadly it is not true. Infact in 1899 the lake had disappeared according to D. W. Freshfield who writes, the hollow enclosed between the covering moraines of Zemu and Green Lake Glaciers has been lately a lake, and was now a lake basin.
Samiti Lake
As you climb towards Gochala Pass and pause to take a deep breadth, you can enjoy the colour of transparent torquise of Lake Samiti- A glacial lake in the Onglathang valley. (a view from west sikkim)
Tso Lhamu Lake

Tso Lhamu is a lake which lies on the plateau that juts into Sikkim into Tibet. From this moderately sized lake, the Teesta River takes birth as a trickle hardly a foot wide. The water in the lake flirts with ice before getting frozen in winter. The reflection of the surrounding mountains doubles the beauty. Everything looks so prehistoric that you almost expect to see a Dinosaur amble by. A flock of birds, the cranes swims on the placid ice water of Chola Mu. These birds are migratory from Russia, China and other parts of India.

Lakshmi Pokhari

It is a big natural lake cupped in deep crater. The rim of the crater is so hard above the lake level that it is easy t o photograph the complete lake without using a wide angle lens. As you invoke the blessing on the bank of this Pristine Lake, you cannot help thinking that it is here that God really resides.


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