Gurudongmar Lake is a high-altitude lake situated in the northern part of Sikkim, India, near the border with Tibet. It is located at an altitude of 17,800 feet (5,430 meters) and is considered one of the highest lakes in the world. The lake is known for its crystal-clear blue water and its breathtaking natural beauty. In this article, we will discuss in detail the history, geography, and significance of Gurudongmar Lake.
The Gurudongmar Lake is a popular tourist destination and attracts thousands of visitors every year. However, due to its high altitude and extreme weather conditions, the lake is only accessible during the summer months, from April to June.
The best time to visit the lake is during the early morning, when the sunlight reflects off the crystal-clear water, creating a stunning view. Visitors can also take a short trek to the nearby Thangu Valley, which is known for its beautiful landscapes and stunning vistas.
History of Gurudongmar Lake:
The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, who is believed to have visited the lake during his journey to Tibet. According to the legend, the lake was created by Guru Padmasambhava when he touched the frozen surface of the lake with his staff, thereby thawing the ice and allowing the local people to access the water.
Geography of Gurudongmar Lake:
The Gurudongmar Lake is situated in the northern part of Sikkim, near the border with Tibet. It is located in the midst of the Himalayan mountain range and is fed by glaciers and snowmelt. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is considered one of the most beautiful natural sights in Sikkim.
Significance of Gurudongmar Lake:
The Gurudongmar Lake is considered a sacred site by both Hindus and Buddhists. The lake is believed to have healing properties and is considered a holy site for pilgrims. The water of the lake is also believed to have medicinal properties and is said to be capable of curing a range of ailments. Many people also believe that the lake is inhabited by spirits and other supernatural beings.
Keypoints for Gurudongmar Lake
|Distance 👣||Approx 188.7 km|
|Duration 🗓️||12-13 days|
|Best time to visit||March to June|
|Grade 🧗🏼♂️||Easy (Drive through Car or Jeep)|
|Altitude 🏔️||17,800 feet (5,430 meters)|
|Approx. cost (per adult)||Rs. 3000/- to 4000/-|
Highlights of Gurudongmar Lake
- Located at an altitude of 17,800 feet, Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world.
- The lake is believed to have been named after Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, who is said to have visited the lake in the 8th century.
- The lake is considered to be sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus and is a popular pilgrimage site.
- The lake is fed by glaciers from the surrounding mountains and is known for its crystal clear waters.
- The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
- The lake is home to several species of birds and is a popular spot for birdwatching.
- The lake is frozen for most of the year, except for a few months in summer when the ice melts and the lake is accessible.
- Visitors can take a scenic drive from Lachen village to reach the lake, passing through picturesque valleys and forests.
- The lake is located near the Indo-China border and requires special permits to visit.
- The lake is a popular destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers who want to experience the beauty and serenity of the Himalayas.
How to Reach Gurudongmar Lake
Reaching Gurudongmar Lake can be a bit challenging due to its high altitude and remote location. However, there are a few options available for tourists who wish to visit the lake.
The nearest airport to Gurudongmar Lake is Bagdogra, West Bengal, which is around 200 km from the lake. From the airport, tourists can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the lake. The journey usually takes around 6-7 hours.
The nearest railway station to Gurudongmar Lake is in New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, which is around 200 km from the lake. From the station, tourists can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the lake. The journey usually takes around 6-7 hours.
Read more: Treks In Sikkim
Gurudongmar Lake is accessible by road from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Tourists can take a shared jeep or hire a private taxi to reach the lake. The journey usually takes around 8-9 hours, and it is advisable to start early in the morning to avoid any delays.
Itinerary for Gurudongmar Lake
A trip to Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim can be an incredible experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation due to the high altitude and remote location. Here is a suggested itinerary for a 3-day trip to Gurudongmar Lake:
- Arrive in Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim.
- Check into a hotel and rest for a few hours to acclimatize to the altitude.
- Visit the local markets and explore the city’s cultural and historical sites, such as the Enchey Monastery and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology.
- Return to the hotel and rest for the night.
- Wake up early and depart for Lachen, a small town located around 6-7 hours from Gangtok.
- Enjoy the scenic drive and stop at a few viewpoints along the way.
- Reach Lachen by mid-afternoon and check into a hotel.
- Spend the rest of the day exploring the town and its surroundings.
- Rest for the night and prepare for the next day’s journey to Gurudongmar Lake.
- Wake up early and depart for Gurudongmar Lake, which is located around 3-4 hours from Lachen.
- Enjoy the stunning views of the snow-capped mountains and the natural beauty of the region.
- Reach the lake by mid-morning and spend a few hours exploring the area and taking in the breathtaking views.
- Return to Lachen by late afternoon and rest for the night.
- The next day, depart for Gangtok, where you can spend another day exploring the city before returning home.
Conclusion for Gurudongmar Lake:
The Gurudongmar Lake is one of the most beautiful and sacred sites in Sikkim. It is a testament to the natural beauty and spiritual significance of the region, and it attracts visitors from all over the world. The lake is a reminder of the power and majesty of nature and serves as a source of inspiration and awe for all those who visit it.
Important Notes for Gurudongmar Lake:
- The road to Gurudongmar Lake is quite challenging and is not recommended for people with health issues or those who are not used to high altitudes.
- It is important to obtain the necessary permits from the authorities before visiting the lake.
- Tourists are advised to carry warm clothing and sufficient food and water supplies as there are limited facilities available in the area.
- The best time to visit Gurudongmar Lake is during the summer months from April to June when the weather is relatively mild.
- It is advisable to hire a local guide or join a tour group to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs for Gurudongmar Lake
What is the best time to visit Gurudongmar Lake?
The best time to visit Gurudongmar Lake is during the summer months from April to June when the weather is relatively mild and the roads are accessible.
What is the altitude of Gurudongmar Lake?
Gurudongmar Lake is located at an altitude of 17,800 feet (5,430 meters) above sea level.
Is a permit required to visit Gurudongmar Lake?
Yes, a permit is required to visit Gurudongmar Lake, which can be obtained from the authorities in Gangtok.
What is the nearest airport to Gurudongmar Lake?
The nearest airport to Gurudongmar Lake is Bagdogra Airport, which is located around 200 km away from the lake.
What is the nearest railway station to Gurudongmar Lake?
The nearest railway station to Gurudongmar Lake is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station, which is located around 200 km away from the lake.
How can I reach Gurudongmar Lake from Gangtok?
Gurudongmar Lake can be reached from Gangtok by hiring a private taxi or joining a tour group. The journey takes around 8-9 hours.
What are some precautions to take before visiting Gurudongmar Lake?
It is important to acclimatize to the high altitude, carry warm clothing and sufficient food and water supplies, and obtain the necessary permits before visiting Gurudongmar Lake.
Are there any accommodation options near Gurudongmar Lake?
There are limited accommodation options near Gurudongmar Lake, but visitors can stay in the nearby town of Lachen.
Is it safe to visit Gurudongmar Lake?
Yes, it is safe to visit Gurudongmar Lake if proper precautions are taken and a licensed guide or tour operator is hired.
What are some other nearby attractions to visit in Sikkim?
Other nearby attractions to visit in Sikkim include the Yumthang Valley, the Changu Lake, and the Nathu La Pass.
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