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Tso Lhamo Lake

Cholamu Lake, North Sikkim Overview

14th highest lake in the world and the highest lake in India, the Cholamu Lake in North Sikkim is situated at an altitude of 18000 feet from the sea level. While coming down the slope around 300 feet from Donkiala pass ( 18300 feet ), you can get the first sight of this moderately sized, almost frozen lake. Cholamu Lake is only a few kms away from the Tibet border and is off limits for commonplace tourists. One needs special permits, from Army and Sikkim police/administration to visit the Cholamu Lake.

Also know as Tso Lhamo lake, it is difficult to get permission to visit this lake and it is advisable not to visit this place in monsoons or winters. If you are on a family trip avoid visiting Cholamu Lake and visit the Gurudongmar Lake instead. However, if weather permits, and you get a permit easily then opt for Cholamu Lake. Since mostly no travel agencies risk their vehicles and driver in this risky terrain you can trek up to this stunning lake. The world does not have too many such places with more sublime associations than this calm sheet of water, 17,000 feet above the sea, with the shadows of mountains 22,000 to 24,000 feet high, resting on its surface.

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Best Time to Visit Cholamu Lake

The ideal time to visit Cholamu Lake are the months of October and November as one can witness a clear sky during this time of the year. Taking a trip to this lake right after the monsoons is not a good idea as by that time most of the roads would be washed away with rains, and Border road organization (BRO) will be busy patching up the roads.

How to reach Cholamu Lake

  • Air: The nearest Domestic Airport is Bagdogra Airport which is around four and half hour drive from Lachen. You will have to hire a taxi from the airport to reach Lachen where taxis and jeeps are available to go to the lake.

  • Rail: The nearest Railway Station to Gurudongmar Lake is Darjeeling Railway Station which is connected to most of the cities of Sikkim and is at a distance of 171 Kms from Lachen. Siliguri, Sukna, Tindharia, Mahanadi, Dilaram, Sonada, Jorebungalow and Ghum are the cities it is well connected with.

  • Road: Lachen is connected through Sikkim State Road Transport Corporation (SSRTC) and some private travel services to all the major cities of Sikkim. Regular buses ply from Lachen to these states. From Lachen, you can get jeeps and taxis to reach Chomalu Lake.

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