Fri, 3 Apr 2015

CHANGU LAKE/TSOMGO LAKE/BABA MANDIR/NATHULA

by Anmolyatra Tours And Travels

CHANGU LAKE/TSOMGO LAKE/BABA MANDIR/NATHULA

Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake is perched within mountains at an altitude of 12,400 ft. Located at Gangtok – Nathula Highway only 37 kms. from Gangtok, the Changu Lake is one of the most spectacular landscapes of Sikkim. The lake is highly revered by the local Buddhists and Hindus as a sacred lake. With a depth of around 48 feet and spreading over 1 kilometre, the magnificent Changu Lake romances with its picturesque surrounding. The water of the lake comes from the melting of the snow of its surrounding mountains, which is why, this lake never dries up. In fact, Changu Lake is also the place of origin of Lungtse Chu River. This azure blue lake remains completely frozen during winter.


This oval-shaped deep blue lake is a treat to the eye from a distance. You would get the best panoramic view of the lake after crossing it on the way to New Baba Mandir. During winters the lake remains wrapped in ice, along with its surrounding region. The spectacle is truly breathtaking. The lake remains frozen up to April. In late spring, the lake is surrounded with wild flowers, which create a riot of colours. The rhododendrons, blue and yellow poppies, various species of primulas, irises create a breathtaking effect. The journey to Changu Lake from Gangtok is also quite enchanting, where you can view a number of waterfalls en route.
A small bridge just at the entrance of the lake will take you to a viewpoint cum cafeteria, from where you can view the complete lake and its surrounding mountains. There is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva built at the lakeside. You can trek along the lakeside in deep snow during winter or even take Yak rides along the coast of the lake. There is a small rustic market before entering the Changu Lake which sells yak cheese, trinkets and local curios to the tourists. Adventure seekers can also enjoy trekking at the surrounding Kyonqnosla Alpine Sanctuary. You would also get snow boots and gumboots on hire from here. There are few eateries too selling Momos and tea in this area. The Gangtok – Nathula Highway skirts the Changu Lake and reaches the New Baba Mandir and Nathula Point from Serathang.
Changu Lake is shrouded in myths and legends. It is said that in ancient times, the Lamas (Buddhist Saints) used to predict the future by observing the lake’s colour. If the water of the lake had a dark tinge, they predicted the future to be dark and gloomy, full of unrest. The faith-healers of Sikkim, popularly known as Jhakhris also visit this lake during Guru Purnima to offer prayers. But humans are not the only visitors to this lake; it is also home to Brahmini Ducks and a favourite stopover to other species of migratory birds.




During winters (From January to mid May) Changu Lake is complete covered in snow and you can enjoy trekking as well as Yak ride on snow along the coasts of the lake. From October to December, the lake is partly covered in sheet ice and migratory birds can be seen waddling in the lake’s water. From April to July, you can witness a good bloom of flowers. Most of the year, Changu Lake experiences a sparkling weather.


Nathula Pass / Nathu La – Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas connecting the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass is situated at an altitude of 4310 meters / 14140 feet). It forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. Nathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan. This pass is situatednearly 56 kilometers from Gangtok, the capital of Indian state of Sikkim on Jawaharlal Nehru Marg. Only citizens of India can visit the pass, that too after obtaining a permit in Gangtok. Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between China and India, the other two are Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) in Uttarakhand. Sealed after 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following bilateral trade agreements. The opening also shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region.

It has one of the highest motor able roads and is richly covered with varieties of alpine flora and fauna other than the snow. On the Tibetan side two highways i.e. from Kangmar to Yadong and from Yadong to Nathu La are listed in the 2006 construction plans. The nearest railheads are New Jalpaiguri Station in India and Lhasa in China. A tranquil place to visit, Nathu La is open only for Indian Nationals on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The visitors have to get a permit from the Tourism Department through a registered travel agency including us. With effect from 6 July 2006 trade between border residents of Sikkim Tibet region has been resumed. Tourist expects that touring Tibet will be on the card very soon.



Baba Mandir – "Baba" Harbhajan Singh (August 3, 1941 – October 4, 1968) was an Indian army soldier who died near the Nathula Pass in India. He was revered by the soldiers of the Indian army who have built a shrine in his honour near the Lake at an altitude of around 4000 meters / 13123 feet. Legend has it that he appeared in a dream a few days after he went missing while patrolling the border, and expressed a desire that a monument be built his memory. His fellow soldiers then built a monument that has over the years acquired the status of a pilgrimage centre. Believers leave a bottle to be collected a week later to be used for its healing powers.

Harbhajan Singh was born into a Sikh family on August 3, 1941 in Punjab (India). In June 1956 he enrolled himself as a soldier in Amritsar and joined the Corps of Signals. He was later granted a commission and posted to the 14 Rajput regiment. During the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war he served as an Adjutant of his unit. Later he was transferred to 18 Rajput. It was with this regiment that he met his end on October 4, 1965 in Sikkim.

The Mandir has two approach able road one via Gangtok the other is via Rongli. This temple has gained popularity in the last few years due to its history and belief of the followers. According to army folklore was a stickler for discipline and is known to admonish those who do not toe this line. A camp bed is kept for him and his boots are polished and uniform kept ready every night. The sheets are reportedly crumpled every morning and boots muddy by evening. Legend also has it that in the event of a war between India and China, Baba would warn the Indian soldiers three days in advance. Every year on September 14, a jeep departs with his personal belongings to the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri, where it is then sent by train to the village of Kuka, in Kapurthala district in Punjab. As per train rule the train reserved seat never left blank, but for Baba reservation is done to travel him at his home town every year with soldiers to drop Baba at his home town

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