The Tsongo Lake (pronounced Chhangu) is one of the most popular tourist places in Sikkim; it is located at a very high altitude - 4000 meters or 12,000 feet. It is a kilometer in length, oval shaped and 15 meters deep. The serene and beautiful lake is considered very sacred by the people of Sikkim. Located at a distance of 38 km from Gangtok along the Nathu-la Highway, the lake remains frozen in the winter months until late April or early May. The area near the lake is covered with rhododendrons, primulas, poppies, irises and other exotic flowers from the months of May-August. In addition, it is also home to migratory birds like the blue Whistling-thrushes, Redstarts, Forktails, Brahminy Ducks, Solitary Snipes, Dippers and many more.
The beautiful location; the cool, fresh mountain air blowing on your face and making the prayer flags dance; devotees and tourists enjoying the blissfull peace of the mountain and the serene surroundings; all this provides a mystical and spiritual charm to the Tsongo Lake. As you watch the yaks grazing peacefully in the grassy meadows you are reminded that spring has finally arrived in the mountains. On the other hand, if you plan to see the snow covered landscape and the frozen lake covered with mist, you can visit in the winter months and you won’t be disappointed either.
According to Sikkimese folklore, the Tsongo Lake was originally situated in a different place from its present location. One night, an old woman of Tsongo dreamt that the lake was to be shifted to its current location. She told about the vision to her friends but none paid heed to her prophecies; then the old woman guided by some unknown power milked her yak and poured it on the ground, just then a Goddess with milk white hair appeared and entered the milk that was on the ground and immediately the Tsongo Lake materialized. People believe that the Goddess still resides in the Lake.
Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir: Harbhajan Singh was a sepoy in the 23rd Punjab Regiment of the Indian Army. The temple lies near Tsongo Lake between the Jelep-La and Nathu-La Pass. There is also a legend associated with the temple which goes that after the death of Harbhajan Singh he was still actively present in the army camp and doing his day-to-day activities in the form of spirit. It is also said that once he communicated through a dream to one of his colleagues asking to build a temple in his memory, thus, the Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple came into being.
The temple now has become a pilgrimage center and devotees attend the temple to be blessed by the divine spirit of Baba Harbhajan Singh.
Menmecho Lake: This beautiful lake is located 20 kms from Tsongo couched between the mountains and is the source of the Rangpo-Chu. It is a glacial lake that is fed by the melting snows of the mountains.
Nathu-La Pass: The Nathu-La Pass that makes the border between India and China is located 18 km from Tsongo and 56 km from Gangtok. The Nathu-La Highway at an altitude of 14,450 feet is among the highest motorable road in the world and is surrounded by alpine flora and fauna. Foreign nationals are not permitted into Nathu-La.
Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary: The alpine wild life sanctuary with its wide variety of flora and fauna lays en-route to Tsongo from Gangtok. It is situated between Gangtok and Tsongo located at a distance of 26 km and 12 km respectively.