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Lakes in Sikkim

Lakes in Sikkim

28 February 2024

10 Most Famous Lakes in Sikkim You Should Visit


Sikkim is known for its natural attractions. This state boasts majestic views of the Himalayas, beautiful meadows, the rapid currents of the Teesta River, trails that lead to breathtaking mountain ranges, cascading waterfalls, and mesmerizing high-altitude lakes. Sharing its borders with Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, Sikkim presents a perfect blend of diverse rich cultures that’s clearly evident in its vibrant traditions and practices. 


In this blog, we'll discover more about the popular lakes in Sikkim. From the mesmerizing Tsomgo to the vast Gurudogmar, the lakes in Sikkim will captivate you with their pristine beauty. Many of these are glacial lakes, which remain frozen in winter and transform into a canvas of colours in the warmer months of summer and spring. 


The natural lakes in Sikkim are surrounded by lush hills and greenery, offering splendid views. The reflections of the Himalayan peaks in the crystal-clear waters of these lakes create magic that’s unforgettable. With 227 high-altitude lakes, Sikkim is an ideal travel destination for nature lovers. Continue reading to learn about the top 10 famous lakes in Sikkim you must visit on your next trip. 



Here’s the list of 10 popular lakes in Sikkim.


1. Tsomgo Lake - Birds, Flowers and Yaks

2. Gurudongmar Lake - Largest Lake in Sikkim

3. Tso Lhamo Lake - Highest Lake in Sikkim and India

4. Samiti Lake - Camp Amid Serenity

5. Green Lake - Trek to the Majestic Kanchenjunga

6. Khecheopalri Lake - Wish-fulfiling Lake in Sikkim

7. Menmecho Lake - Witness Trout Fishing

8. Kathok Lake - Sacred and Serene

9. Aritar Lake - One of the Oldest Lakes in Sikkim

10. Elephant Lake - Located on the Historic Silk Route


1. Tsomgo Lake - Birds, Flowers and Yaks


Also known as Changu Lake, Tsomgo Lake is a stunning glacial lake nestled in the heart of Sikkim. Its surface reflects a diverse range of colours, changing with the seasons. During spring, the lake comes alive along with blooming alpine forests and rhododendrons, accompanied by the melodious chirping of birds. In winter, the lake gets frozen and mirrors the snow-capped peaks that surround it. 


Locals consider these colour changes sacred, believing them to hold prophetic significance. This Sikkim lake also hosts rare blue poppies and migratory birds like Brahminy Ducks.


For an added adventure, embark on a Yak safari, a popular activity in Sikkim that promises unforgettable experiences. It's important to note that visiting Tsomgo Lake requires obtaining entry permits, as it is located in a restricted area. So gear up for an extraordinary journey and prepare to be mesmerized by the natural wonders that await you at Tsomgo Lake.


Altitude: 12,400 feet

Location: East Sikkim, 40 km from Gangtok

Highlights: Reflections of surrounding hills, Yak safari

Best Time to Visit: January to March


2. Gurudongmar Lake - Largest Lake in Sikkim


Named in honour of Guru Padmasambhava, Gurudongmar Lake holds a sacred place in the hearts of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus. It stands as one of the highest lakes in both India and the world. Nestled amid snow-clad mountains, Gurudongmar Lake shows the sheer beauty of nature at its finest. From November to mid-May, the lake transforms into a frozen wonderland. 


A visit to Gurudongmar Lake also offers sightings of high-altitude wildlife including yaks and blue sheep. The lake has a unique spot that never freezes, no matter how cold the winter is. Locals believe tjhat paying tribute to the lake fulfills the wishes of childless couples. Just 5 km away lies the India-China border. You can visit it for more adventure.


Altitude: 17,800 feet

Location: North Sikkim, 190 km away from Gangtok

Highlights: Sacred lake for Buddhists and Hindus, stunning panoramic views of surrounding peaks including Mount Kanchenjunga.

Best Time to Visit: April, May and December


3. Tso Lhamo Lake - Highest Lake in Sikkim and India


Tso Lhamo, the highest lake in India, is one of the most adventurous places to visit in Sikkim. Visit the lake during spring to witness orchids, rhododendrons, and other visually pleasing wildflowers. During winter, the entire area transforms into a snowy paradise. 


To visit Tso Lhamo, you’ll require a special permit thanks to its restricted location. Once you reach there, be prepared to encounter a diverse range of flora and fauna as you spend your day along the serene banks of the lake. Also, visit the nearby Tso Lhamo Valley for breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga and the vast Tibetan Plateau. 


Altitude: 16,400 feet

Location: North Sikkim, 74 km from Lachen

Highlights: Highest lake in India, pristine glacial lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains, serene and remote location. 

Best Time to Visit: December to April


ALSO READ: Best places to stay in Sikkim


4. Samiti Lake - Camp Amid Serenity


Located between the mountains Pandim and Kanchenjunga, Samiti is one of the smallest lakes in Sikkim. You can see Samiti Lake when trekking on the iconic Goecha La Trek. Located near the bottom of Onglakthang Valley, this Sikkim lake offers spectacular views of the Himalayas. 


If you visit the lake in the spring and summer, you may witness herders grazing their sheep and cattle. This is the period when the Rhododendron forest blossoms and the lake water turns turquoise. The lake freezes in the winter. Regardless of the season, it provides perfect locations for camping and photography.


Altitude: 13,700 feet

Location: West Sikkim

Highlights: Scenic alpine lake nestled amidst lush greenery, popular trekking destination, offers breathtaking views of surrounding Himalayan landscapes.

Best Time to Visit: March to May


5. Green Lake - Trek to the Majestic Kanchenjunga


Looking for some adventure in Sikkim? Trek through a beautiful trail to reach the Green Lake. One of the most beautiful lakes in Sikkim, Green Lake boasts panoramic views of several majestic peaks. It is located at the base of Kanchenjunga. Once you reach here, you’ll come across a perfect setting; a gorgeous blue lake amid snowy and earthy mountains. 


You can start your trek to Green Lake from Lachen Village. On your way, you can encounter dense forests and vibrant meadows adorned with blue poppies, primulas, and a variety of rhododendrons. Experience the refreshing cool breeze at the summit, revitalizing your senses along the way.


Altitude: 14,300 feet

Location: North Sikkim

Highlights: Situated at the base of Mt. Kanchenjunga on the Zemu Glacier, renowned for its scenic beauty, pristine environment, and stunning views of the Himalayas.

Best Time to Visit: March to May


6. Khecheopalri Lake - Wish-fulfiling Lake in Sikkim


Khecheopalri is among the holiest and most serene lakes in Sikkim. Its local name is Sho Dzo Sho, which means "Oh Lady, Sit Here". Surrounded by pristine forests, it offers a serene escape for relaxation and rejuvenation. Formed 3500 years ago, this sacred lake can be reached via a 5-hour trek from Pelling. Along the trail, you'll be treated to breathtaking landscapes of Pelling and the other parts of West Sikkim.


According to legend, Khecheopalri Lake fulfills wishes. You can watch the prayer flags nearby and monks feeding the fishes. There’s another belief about this lake. According to this, leaves cannot float on their surface, and any leaf that does is promptly picked up by birds. Experience a profound sense of peace and calmness that surrounds Khecheopalri Lake.


Altitude: 6,000 feet

Location: Near Khecheopalri village, West Sikkim, 34 km away from Pelling

Highlights: Sacred lake worshipped by Buddhists and Hindus, surrounded by dense forests and lush greenery, known for its crystal-clear waters and serene ambience.

Best Time to Visit: February to March


ALSO READ: Historical places in Sikkim


7. Menmecho Lake - Witness Trout Fishing


Trek along a narrow 4 km winding road alongside Baba Mandir to reach Menmecho Lake. Nestled amid pristine pine forests and steep slopes, this enchanting lake is popular for its ever-changing colours. Fed by the waters from the surrounding mountains of Jelep La Pass, it remains frozen from January to August. 


Menmecho Lake is one of the most famous natural lakes in Sikkim that boasts an abundance of Trout fishes. You’ll also find a cottage nearby, that’s maintained by the Fisheries department.


Altitude: 12,400 feet

Location: East Sikkim, 14 km from Nathula Pass

Highlights: The picturesque glacial lake surrounded by dense forests and alpine meadows, beautiful fisheries cottage.

Best Time to Visit: June to December


8. Kathok Lake - Sacred and Serene


Kathok is another one of the most beautiful lakes in Sikkim. Locals believe that any wish asked from pure heart will be fulfilled at this lake. So, many people visit here to seek blessings. During your visit, you might witness priests performing purification ceremonies beside this lake. 


Surrounded by lush forests of Himalayan Chestnuts and Alnus trees, the Kathok Lake in Sikkim exudes serenity and beauty. The reflections of Tibetan prayer flags on the tranquil green water create an enchanting view.


Location: Yuksom Village, West Sikkim

Highlights: Scenic valley with multiple lakes, known for its tranquil environment, ideal for nature walks and birdwatching.

Best Time to Visit: March to June and September to November


9. Aritar Lake - One of the Oldest Lakes in Sikkim


Also known as Lampokhari Lake, Aritar is one of the oldest lakes in Sikkim. It is popular for its overwhelming natural beauty. Situated in a small village ‘Aritar’ on the edge of the eastern Himalayas, this Sikkim lake boasts splendid natural views, pleasant weather, and Tibetan monasteries. 


The Lingsay monastery is a popular attraction in the village. Want some adventure? You can enjoy boating on this lake, making it the only lake in Sikkim to offer such an activity. Don't miss exploring the colonial-era Dak Bungalow in Aritar.


Altitude: 4,600 feet

Location: East Sikkim

Highlights: Stunning lake surrounded by lush greenery and hills, offers boating facilities, and scenic viewpoints, Dak Bungalow

Best Time to Visit: March to June


10. Elephant Lake - Located on the Historic Silk Route


Here’s another stunning high-altitude lake in Sikkim, named Bidan Chu. It is also known as Hati (Elephant) Lake thanks to its resemblance to an elephant. Its other name is Kupup Lake. Situated on the edge of a mountain, this lake offers a striking sight, especially when clouds roll in from a distance. 


Positioned along the iconic Silk Route of India near the China-India border, this Sikkim lake holds sacred significance for locals. At times, Bidan Chu appears blue, creating a magical scene. Enjoying a hot cup of tea beside this heavenly lake, surrounded by rhododendrons in the nearby valley, is one of the top things to do in Sikkim.


Altitude: 13,000 feet

Location: East Sikkim

Highlights: Small yet picturesque lake nestled amidst dense forests, known for its tranquility and natural beauty, ideal for a peaceful retreat.

Best time to visit: April to July


Take Away!


Natural lakes in Sikkim are stunning examples of beauty. Whether you visit them during spring, witnessing reflections of beautiful rhododendrons in crystal-clear waters and iconic sunrises with birds chirping in the background, or in winter when lakes are frozen, reflecting images of snow-capped mountain peaks, the views are ethereal. Camping around lakes in Sikkim will be a must during your Sikkim tour. 

Are you ready to explore the famous lakes in Sikkim? Book your Sikkim tour package today and kickstart your journey to nature's splendour amid the Himalayas.

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