Chaggu/Tsomgo Lake Travel Guide

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Tsomgo Lake in the month of Dec'09

Tsomgo Lake in the month of Dec'09

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Changu or Tsomgo Lake is a small, sacred lake far above the treeline on the Chinese-Indian border.  Because of its sensitive location, a special permit is required to venture to the lake.  Foreigners can obtain the permit in a day or two from local tour companies.

The route to the lake winds for hours through high mountain passes and next to sharp cliffs on roads built by the intrepid Border Roads Organization (masters at signage who miss no opportunity for self-promotion along the roadside).

Upon arriving at the lake you will be beset by hordes of competing yak-wallahs, each of whom wants you to part with 10  rupees to be trotted around on a placid, garishly decorated yak.  Tea and momos are available from the disturbingly large number of vendors clustered around the otherwise-serene lake.

Although most of the region is off-limits, a brisk hourlong hike to the top of the hill overlooking the lake is the best part of the visit.  The views take in not only the lake but much of the Himalayan peaks and valleys surrounding it.

The lake itself freezes during the winter.

The Indian military closes the region to hiking on days when it conducts patrols.  Verify with your guide that you will be able to hike around the lake before paying for your trip.

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