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NE-GQ Tour: Sikkim – Day2 : Icy Tongso Lake

It was an early morning start as we had to drive to Tongso lake. Tongso Lake in west sikkim is a sacred lake set admist icy mountains. The lake remains frozen during winter season. The lake is considered to be sacred to the local people.  This can be done as a day trip along with Nathula Pass and Baba Harbhajan Singh memorial. Before leaving bangalore I had inquired about visiting nathula pass however I was told the pass would be closed at this time of the year. When I inquired with the driver about nathula, he told us it was open, however since its china’s border, one cant go without permits and cant stay there for too long.

I had checked with the receptionist about the possibility of viewing an early sunrise and I was told, one can view it just outside our rooms. Woke up early to catch the sunrise, however cloud cover meant there was little chance of seeing the sunrise

Early morning in Gangtok

I was told that the sun would come up, between 6.30 and 7, however I wasnt lucky as the peaks in front of the balcony and the cloud cover meant there was no sunrise

Early morning view from the resort

Soon it as time to get ready as the driver had told us he would be picking us up at 8 and drive to  Tongso lake and Baba Harbhajan memorial.

Facts about Tsongo Lake

Name of the Lake: Tongso Lake

Location: West Sikkim

Altitude at which it is located: 3780 mts

Importance of lake: This ia a holy lake for the local people. Boating and other activities are not allowed in the lake

Time taken to reach the lake: 3 Hrs

We set out for the lake at 8.30 and reached the gangtok bazaar after a few minutes. Since there is a huge army presence in the area, permits are required to visit the lake. One needs to be submit a photo and personal details, which is used for making the permit. The driver went to make the permit while me and my wife waited in the car.

Permit

Once the permit was received we continued towards the lake. One needs to show the permit at the checkpost and purchase tickets before proceeding further. With the sun shining brightly the distant mountains provided a good landscape which I took a few snaps. The driver in the meantime had completed the formalities in the meantime.

Sun kissed mountains

BRO was doing some road widening work here also, and the roads were muddy and minor traffic jams were encountered here also.

Road widening work

Negotiating the treacherous roads we continued on our way. We could see lot of army personnel stationed in the area, as the area borders china. Photography is not allowed where army personnel are present. We continued for another hour and we could see icy mountains. The lake was just round the corner n we could see it from the huge no of people present there. I asked the driver to stop so that I can take a few photos. He told me we would get a better view from the top and also  we had to get to the baba harbhajan singh memorial soon and if delayed would not be allowed inside.

We climbed a little higher and the driver stopped at a place from where we could see the lake and mountains more clearly. I got busy with a small photoshoot, as I was planning to take more photos when coming back

Icy mountains and Tsongso Lake

It was time to get back in the car and the next stop was baba harbhajan memorial.There was a huge amount of cars parked by the time we reached. Wife went to see the shrine while I headed to the nearby coffee shop for a cup of cofee

Baba harbhajan Shrine

We spent some time at the shrine before going back to the lake. On the way back we saw another small water body which the driver said is an artificial lake. The mountains surrounding the lake made for a good landscape. The clear weather meant it was time for another photoshoot. Took a few snaps and then headed straight for the lake

Artificial Lake amongst mountains

Mist had began to engulf the place by the time I reached the lake. This meant I had to miss an opportunity to take photos of the lake from a close range.

Whiteout at Tongso Lake

There were a few yaks around and my wife wanted a photo sitting on of them. The yak owner told us he could take us for a walk in the snow and make the yak slide around for a small fee. This was the first time my wife was seeing snow and ice and she was enjoying it. The yak excursion took an hour or so. We asked the guy to drop us back to car. There are signboards put up asking tourists to vacate the lake and shrine by 2.30. By the time we left the lake after having Tea it was close to 2. We reached the checkpost in couple of hours where the driver submitted the permit. With the sun behind the clouds the place looked amazing and I couldnt resist taking a few snaps before we headed back to the resort thus concluding an amazing day

Evening

Evening was spent relaxing at the resort. We had an early dinner and it was time to hit the bed as we had a drive to kalimpong the next day

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About Subbu
Name: Subbu Interests : Trekking,travelling Hobbies: Photography

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