Gangtok: With temperature dropping to -2 degrees Celsius, the Tsomgo (Changu) Lake in East Sikkim has turned into a winter paradise. Located at an altitude of 12,400 ft and 38 km from state capital Gangtok, the popular tourist destination got frozen on Friday with the area around it covered in snow.
Tsomgo Lake is associated with many myths and legends and is revered by the Sikkimese people. It is believed that in olden times, Buddhist monks would study the colour of the water of the lake to forecast the future.
The lake is also of special significance for the Jhakris (faith healers) of Sikkim who gather at the site annually on Guru Purnima, which coincides with the festival of Raksha Bandhan, from all over the state to offer prayers.
Tsomgo Lake falls on the Gangtok-Nathula highway. Further, the road to Nathu La skirts the lake on the north side. The Chinese border crossing is only some 5 km east-northeast in a straight line, but some 18 km by road.
The region has been marked by persistent snowfall this season. On December 27 last year, the army had to rescue around 15,000 tourists who were stuck near the lake and Nathu-la following heavy snowfall.
Around 300 taxis carrying the tourists couldn’t move because of huge deposits of ice on the road. As the temperature hovered below 2-3 degrees Celsius, they were stranded at altitudes above 12,000 ft.