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Sikkim is by all means an abode of beauty. It comparison to the majestic Himalayas it may seem small in size and one may not expect to find many lakes on this hilly terrain. But the fact is, Sikkim has ample of small lakes. There is more than one reason to fall in love with Sikkim. One of them is the lakes atop scenic mountains. Sikkim has plenty of gushing lakes surrounding its landscape. The Sikkim inhabitants regard these lakes as holy and offer prayers here. Both Hindus and Buddhists believe in the sanctity of these lakes. The meandering natural lakes originate from both springs and rivers. Sikkim is extensively famous for trekking tours where many lakes can be traversed. The serenity of the ambience where these lakes are located offers a thrilling experience to travelers. One feels rejuvenated while having pit stops at these lakes during exploring Sikkim. A feeling of nostalgia engulfs tourists at the time of visiting these sacred lakes. Tourists are drawn from across the globe here to witness the tranquility of the lakes surrounded by mountains.
Lakes in Sikkim
In case, you are planning to visit the mystic land of Sikkim, here is a list of must visit lakes in Sikkim:
1. Bidan Chu Lake
Located on the route from Nathula towards Zuluk, Bidan Chu is an impressive sight to cherish as a memory. It is situated in Kupup village located at an elevation of 4114m above sea level. This village is the highest altitude village in Sikkim. It was earlier the transit point for silk trade between India and Tibet. The lake bears a resemblance to elephant like shape and the water of the lake appears blue. On bright sunny days, the reflection of the encompassing mountain can be seen in the lake water and is a beautiful experience. Bidan Chu lake is popularly called as Hati lake. Bidan Chu is the first lake on the highway to Zuluk.
Best Time to Visit: The ideal time to visit this place is when the snow has melted. The best time is the months of May to June, and October.
To Do Things: As Bidan Chu is situated at the highest altitude the best thing to do here is to explore the village. Photography can be carried out as it has picturesque beauty.
Weather Conditions: Although it is cold in this region during the months of May to June and October, the lake is unfrozen and roads are free from snow blocking.
Means to Commute: The ideal way to commute is via a taxi from Gangtok. It is around 56km away from Nathula.
2. Cholamu Lake
It is the highest lake in India, and 14 highest in the world. It is situated at only some Kms away from the Tibet border. A special permit is needed to visit the Cholamu lake. It is moderately sized and almost frozen lake. Due to its difficult terrain, no travel agencies take the risk of reaching here, so you have to trek up on your own to the Cholamu lake situated towards the northern region of Sikkim, it is less traversed and hence the beauty is pristine. You can opt to visit the Cholamu lake only if the weather is cordial. The landscape of this place is stern and somber.
Best Time to Visit: The months of May, June and October are best.
To Do Things: This lake is a paradise for nature lovers. One can bask in its beauty and engross himself in photography.
Weather Conditions: The weather is pleasantly warm while the roads are free from snow during May.
Means to Commute: You can reach at this location by a taxi. It is situated at a distance of 80kms from Lachen.
3. Green Lake
North-Eastern Sikkim is among less trodden regions. It has abundance of natural magnificence. It is also known as a mysterious lake that once vanished and is now merely like a lake basin. It is situated at an altitude of 1437 meters and offers a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga and other major peaks. The uneven rocky terrains, the dense forests and the rich meadows surround this lake. Once you have climbed the top, the captivating mountain breeze welcomes you, away from the boisterous city life. Adventure seekers may opt to visit the Chopta and the Thangu valley as well.
Best Time to Visit: Ideal time is during summers from March to May.
To Do Things: Visit the Lachen Monastery which is situated 4km from Lachen village at the base of the Green Lake.
Weather Conditions: The region is in full bloom during the summers and the climate is pleasant.
Means to Commute: It is a 6 to 7 hours drive from Gangtok. Post reaching Lachen, it is a 20 minute drive to the Green lake base.
4. Gurudongmar Lake
Named after Guru Dongmar, this is the highest lake in the world, located at an altitude of 5425 meter. It is a magnificent lake that mirrors the snow clad mountains surrounding it from all the sides. As per Sikh and Buddhist religion, this lake is considered as sacred. The astonishing fact about this lake is that it never freezes, even in utmost cold weather during winters. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava; also known as Guru Dongmar, had once touched and sanctified the lake turning it partly frozen all around the year. There is a belief that this lake has curing powers and grants children to issueless couples. It offers an enchanting view of Kancahnedzonga. It is a popular choice among tourists due to pious importance, breathtaking beauty and thrilling treks.
Best Time to Visit: Ideal time is from the months of April to June.
To Do Things: Visit Sarva Dharma Sthala called as temple for all religions. One can also visit Thangu village which is at a 3-4 hour drive.
Weather Conditions: Weather is quite pleasant and the place is easily accessible by tourists. It may get cold during the months of November to Janaury.
Means to Commute: This lake is situated at extreme end of India. The nearest possible tourist lodging is Lachen which is 68km, nearly 3 hours away. After an overnight stay at Lachen, one may visit Gurudongmar lake the nest morning.
5. Raj Kathok Lakel
In the local lingo, this lake is also known as ‘Kathok Tsho’. It is an appealing lake situated in western Sikkim. It is regarded as the soul of Lama Kathok. He is believed to have introduced Buddhism to this majestic land and sanctified the lake. Every year, the Lamas, perform a purification ceremony called ‘Tru-Sol’ to consecrate this lake. The beauty of the mountains and the clouds above is reflected in this serene lake. It is surrounded by prayer flags. Thus, it is a popular pit stop for the travelers looking for some peaceful time in solitude.
Best Time to Visit: The months from March to May are suitable.
To Do Things: Visit the Dubdi and Tashiding Monastery.
Weather Conditions: The weather is tourist friendly during these months.
Means to Commute: From Yuksom, the Kathok Lake is just a few meters away. In order to reach Yuksom, one can hire a shared jeep or a private taxi from Geyzing which is 35 kms away or from Pelling which is 40kms away.
6. Khecheopalri Lake
Other than being a tourist attraction, this lake is counted among the most holy lakes in Sikkim. It is revered by both, Hindus and Buddhists. It is situated at an altitude of 38,170 feet above the ground level surrounded by forest patches. It is located between Gyalshing and Yuksom. It is believed to be so pious that even birds take care of its pristine sanctity by carrying away even a leaf that has fallen on its water and pick them up in their beaks. If you prefer camping, you can lodge here overnight. A hut has been constructed near the lake to aid the tourists to have some rest. The crystal clear waters of this river offer a calm and soothing aura to the tourists.
Best Time to Visit: The months from February to March are ideal.
To Do Things: Trekking and sightseeing the flora and fauna. Visit Pemayangtse Monastery which is located at a distance of 24km from the lake.
Weather Conditions: Quite pleasant
Means to Commute: Khecheopalri Lake is at a distance of 34km from Pelling and nearly 145 km from Gangtok. Taxis are available from these places to reach this attraction.
7. Lakshmi Pokhari Lake
The matchless beauty of this lake makes it seem like God’s dwelling. It is the most sought out lake by nature photographers. It is a must visit high altitude lake in North India. True to its name, the scenic gorgeousness of this lake is astonishing. The mesmerizing views of the splendid Kanchendzonga, Pandim and Narsing can be seen from here. A meandering path directs towards this lake. The essence of the lake is immaculate and pure. It provides a peaceful ambience to travelers.
Best Time to Visit: The months from March to May are ideal.
To Do Things: The nearby located monastry such as Kathok Wosel Ling is worth visting. Wild life lovers can check out the diverse flora and fauna.
Weather Conditions: Cordial environment during the mentioned months.
Means to Commute: Lakshmi Pokhari lake situated in the charming town of Yuksom. You can reach here by a jeep or SSRTC buses from Geyzing or via Pelling. One can also opt for private taxis.
8. Menmecho Lake
Engulfed by pine forests and steep slopes, Menmecho is a high altitude lake located underneath the Jelepla pass. It dervies its source of water through the icy mountains. It is a tributary of the river Teesta. The shore of this magnificent lake is covered with sand, similar to a beach. The clear water of this lake is flourished with trouts and thus this lake is regarded as the cultivation center for trouts. Plethora of tourists around the globe are drawn towards this lake to witness its changing colors. You can try fishing over here but you need to obtain a permit from Gangtok and assure the availability of fishing gear.
Best Time to Visit: The months from June to December are ideal.
To Do Things: Visit Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple situated near the lake.
Weather Conditions: The lake remains snow covered from early winter to late spring.
Means to Commute: This lake is situated towards the east of Sikkim. It is around 60kms from Gangtok. One can hire a jeep or a private taxi.
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9. Tso Lhamo Lake
It is a splendid lake located in North Sikkim. It is also known as Chho Lhamo, Cholamu Lake or Cholamoo Lake. Positioned at an altitude of 5330meter, it is among the highest lake in the world. It docks extreme temperatures and is thus a remote area to traverse by tourists. Surrounded by snow clad mountains, it is the source for river Teesta. This isolated part of planet earth is sanctified with pleasant views that forms a captivating environment and offers peace to the visitors. A special army permit is needed to visit this lake.
Best Time to Visit: The months from October to November are ideal.
To Do Things: Explore the beauty of Chopta and Thangu valley. Wildlife lovers can visit the Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary.
Weather Conditions: Clear Sky during the mentioned months.
Means to Commute: This lake is at a 7 to 8 hour drive from Gangtok to Lachen near Gurudongmar lake. You can choose to ride in a bus or a shared jeep from Keyzing or Pelling.
10. Tsomgo Lake
This lake is popularly called as Changu among the locals. It is a holy river for the Sikkim inhabitants. It carries religious sentiments among faith healers called Jhakris of the state. The stunning beauty of this glacier lake makes it famous among tourists. The expedition starts with the trek around winding trails and steep cliffs towards the Tsomgo lake. Once there, colorfully decorated yaks and mules await for further journey and add a fun element.
Best Time to Visit: The months from October to December offer pleasant atmosphere and best view of the mountains.
To Do Things: Visit the nearby Nathang valley and the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary.
Weather Conditions: Frozen during the months of January to March, while it is pleasant during October to December.
Means to Commute: At a distance of 38km from Gangtok, the tourists can hire either a shared vehicle or a taxi to cover the 1 hour journey to reach Tsomgo lake.