The Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, and Baba Mandir stand to be the top attractions of Sikkim Tourism. These destinations not only are the geographical treasures and serene ambiance but also have historic and political significances particularly when it is Nathula Pass.
It is the most familiar tourist circuits of East Sikkim. Those who reach Gangtok, after traveling at Pakyong from Silk Route via Tsomgo Lake, they should not plan separately to travel in this route. They already cover the destinations Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir. Nathula Pass entry permission is not available from Rangoli with your Silk Route tour permission. It is only available from Gangtok. So, you may ask your tour operator for the Nathula Pass permission before you book the package tour for Silk Route. But those who do not travel silk route, they will visit Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, and Nathula Pass after reach at Gangtok. Let’s take a tour of these destinations.
In Bhutia Language, the word ‘Tso’ means Lake and ‘Mgo’ means Head. Therefore, the meaning of Tsomgo is the source of the lake. 40 kilometers from Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake is situated at a height of 12,400 ft and is stretched till 1 kilometer. Also known as Tsomgo Lake, Tsomgo is a sacred lake of the Buddhists as well as the Hindus. It is nearly 15 meters deep and is oval in shape. This glacial lake is the pride of East Sikkim.
This serene destination is a must see in Sikkim because of the natural beauty and splendor. Lake Changu is the temporary home of migrating birds and brahmini ducks. Those who wish to enjoy the snow-covered lake; winter is the ideal time for them to explore. From January to March, the lake remains snow covered.
Tourists are found enjoying themselves in the snow. Besides enjoying the enigmatic natural beauty, they can play in the snow or walk through the frozen lake to explore the wonder of the heavenly surroundings,yak-riding & visiting the temple of Lord Shiva. Summer is the best time to enjoy the view of the watery lake, surrounded by great mountains. May to August is the time of the flowers like the blue & yellow poppies, rhododendrons, irises and primulas.
The nearby shops run by the local people there mainly trade Chinese-Sikkimese toys like the fury yaks, jackets and different souvenirs. Tourists can bargain for the best deals.
Nathula Pass in Sikkim is the passage between India and China and is world famous for the incredible natural beauty of the highway. Tourists need permission to visit this destination of Silk Route. This is around 57 km driving distance from Gangtok and is situated at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) altitude. Tsomgo Lake to Nathula Pass is about 16.6 km driving distance via Jawaharlal Nehru Road and will take around 30 minutes to reach.
The road is itself a great attraction here. Besides the check post has historic significance. The exhibition center preserved by the Indian army is a must see. To reach the Gates of the memorial, tourists have to cross 90 steps. Mondays and Tuesdays are remained closed for the tourists.
Best time & Close Days:
Best time to visit Nathula Pass is between May and October, when the average temperature may be around 10°C. But, winter has a different view in Nathu La Pass, due to heavy snowfalls, sometime temperature may drops to -25°C. And for the snow lover, winter is the best time to visit. But unfortunately, in winter Nathula Pass may be closed most of the time due to road condition. Else, Nathula Pass remain open only for Indian citizen, except Monday and Tuesday.
Baba Mandir is one of the most significant destinations of East Sikkim. A shrine of Baba Harbhajan Singh a soldier of the Indian Army who died close to the Nathula Pass. The Old Baba Mandir is located in the Kukup Valley (Bunker) where he was posted and the new one is built close to the Changu Lake. At around 56 Kms from Gangtok, this temple is surrounded by stupendous natural beauty. Baba Mandir to Nathula Pass distance is about 8.5 km and it will take a 20 minutes’ drive by car to reach. And the distance between Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir is about 16.3 km, a journey of 30 minutes by car.
From Gangtok, tourists can book a package for Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, and Baba Mandir tour. Tsomgo and Baba Mandir are accessible every day but Nathula is permissible for five days only, except Monday and Tuesday. To visit Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass and Baba Mandir, have to apply for the permission with a copy of your photo ID proof and two copies of recent passport size photos. Hotel owner or your tour operator will collect all this on behalf of you. It is a 38 km journey to Tsomgo Lake from Gangtok and 56 km for Nathula Pass. The package charge may vary around INR 750-1,000 (depending on the season) per head.
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