Sanglaphu Lake In Mangan District Of Sikkim Opens To Visitors For The First Time

Nestled high in the mountains, the spectacular lake was once out of reach for travellers
The lake radiates a profound sense of peace and tranquility
The lake radiates a profound sense of peace and tranquility@tripssasti /Shutterstock

The Himalayan state of Sikkim is home to many natural lakes in the North-West, North-East, and extreme North parts of the state. These lakes are the sources of the tributary streams to Sikkim's largest rivers, Teesta and Rangit. Several lakes have become a popular attraction for travellers. For instance, Gurudongmar, one of the world's highest lakes, and Khecheopalri, one of the biggest lakes in Sikkim. However, some lakes are waiting to be discovered and have not been on people's travel radar for various reasons, such as lack of access. Last week, Sanglaphu Lake in the Mangan district was made accessible to the public for the first time. 

To celebrate the grand opening of Sanglaphu Lake, a special ceremonial prayer was held, led by monks from Samten Choling Monastery in Lachung. The attendees included the pipon, members of the Lachung dzomsa, as well as representatives from hotel associations, and cab drivers. Dzomsa refers to the traditional administrative institutions and local assemblies in Lachen and Lachung, and pipon refers to the headman.

About The Lake

Nestled high in the mountains, the spectacular lake was once out of reach for travellers. This hidden gem is situated at an altitude of 5,080 meters (16,670 feet), approximately 5 kilometers from Yumesamdong in northeast Sikkim, popularly known as Zero Point. The lake, also known as Sanglaphu Cho, is surrounded by a magical and serene landscape.

A tourist enjoys the scenic view of high altitude Gurudongmar Lake
A tourist enjoys the scenic view of high altitude Gurudongmar Lake Roop_Dey/Shutterstock

Sanglaphu Lake boasts the majestic Sanglaphu mountain as its backdrop, a prominent feature of the Dongkya range. On the western side of the mountain is the Gurudongmar Glacier which feeds into the Gurudongmar Lake. This lake is a crucial source for the Lachen Chu River, which eventually contributes to the flow of the Teesta River. Notably, on the glacier's opposite flank stands the towering main summit of Gurudongmar, at a height of 6,715 meters. The southern slopes of Sanglaphu mountain facilitate the flow of the Lachung Chu, further enriching the region's hydrological significance.

The Spiritual Connect

Many of Sikkim's pristine lakes are revered as the dwelling places of diverse local guardian spirits, including Devas, Yakshas, Nagas, Nymphs, and Demons, in addition to being linked with various Tantric deities. As outlined in the Naysol Text, a total of 109 sacred lakes are recognized for their association with different protective deities. Among these, Sanglaphu Cho, also known as the "Great Lake," holds a special place of reverence. Its waters are believed to possess significant religious importance, drawing locals who come to seek blessings and offer prayers. Encircled by majestic snow-capped mountains and untouched wilderness, the lake radiates a profound sense of peace and tranquility, making it a spiritual haven for visitors. During the opening ceremony, the pipon of the Lachung dzomsa eloquently expressed that the Sanglaphu Lake embodies a vivid mosaic, representing the local community's rich heritage and religious convictions.

Know Before You Go

Tourists and visitors now have the opportunity to embark on a spiritual journey to the lake. It is recommended that only four-wheel drive vehicles attempt to reach the lake. However, as the snow melts, access will progressively open to a broader range of vehicle types. To preserve the sanctity and environmental integrity of the lake, the local council has established specific guidelines. Visitors are strongly discouraged from bringing single-use plastics, including tetra packs, to the area. Spitting is strictly prohibited around the lake, and those found violating this rule will be subject to severe consequences.

The local assembly calls on all visitors to demonstrate responsibility by refraining from littering in and around the lake. They encourage everyone to engage with the local culture in a manner that is both sustainable and respectful.

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