Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim located at a height of 18,700 ft is one of the highest lakes in the world. This post is all about my experience at this lake. It was a scenic delight to be around the pristine beauty with breathtaking views. The terrain of the way to this lake was rugged but the picturesque views and the cold breeze is all that you get there. We saw the lake with our eyes wide open, teeth chattering, and a shiver in our body. We were so close to mountains like I never was, right in front of us.
Gurudongmar Lake is one of the unexplored and uncharted attractions of Sikkim and one of the highest motorable road, this lake is just a few kilometers away from the Chinese Tibetan border. Named after Guru Padmasambhava who is famously known as Guru Rinpoche, the lake is considered holy and sacred.
Would like to share one of the tales about Gurudongmar lake is, this culturally rich destination is home to captive mountains, glaciers, alpine meadows, and sacred lakes. According to locals, the lake was blessed by Guru Padmasambhava, he deemed it to be worthy of a divine place. Owing to the high-altitude location, the lake remained frozen almost the entire year, depriving locals of clean drinking water. So, locals asked the guru to help them and he placed his hands on a particular part of the river, which stopped freezing during the winter season.
Since this miraculous incident, pilgrims considered this lake to be very sacred and carry its sacred water for religious purposes. It has been a saying that whosoever drinks Gurudongmar' s water will be bestowed with bravery, valour, and strength.
The lake itself is a sight but what is more beautiful is the journey towards it. It reminds me of one of the famous quotes on travel that It is the journey that matters. While going to the lake, you will also see white yaks. Mentioning below a few places where you can hop on:
Your journey will be incomplete if you did not taste the unlimited coffee and momos here. You will find this café on your way to Gurudongmar Lake which is run by the Indian Army. And this place has a lot to offer you than food. Visit and feel the vibe. Also, in front of the café, you can see the Flags hoisted with the utmost respect and the battle honor boards.
Once you reach Gurudongmar Lake, you must walk down for around 1-2 km to see the mountains and the lake. Once you have reached the destination; it is a mandatory photo session time with that victory pose and the colorful flags making it a wish lake to show that you made it to this place despite being in that high altitude location as many could not make it due to breathing problem or vomiting sensation.
In the late 20th century, a Gurdwara was constructed in its vicinity and was renovated by the '22 Sikh Regiment (Indian Army)' that started from December 2009 to May 2011.
Gurudongmar lake is one of the highest altitude lakes which I have ever visited in my life. I remember, reaching there was so difficult for me, I started having breathing problems, vomiting sensation and my headache started, this all just made it a little bit hectic for me but my will power and wish to see that beauty kept me hooked to my decision of embracing the vibrant place. When we reached the point, we need to walk down for around 1-2 km to see the lake and the mountains. In our group, I was the only one who was finding it difficult to cover that last mile, but my friends encouraged me to join them and they said do not worry, if anything happens, we will carry you on our shoulder and will deliver you to your place safely. Do not worry, come with us, walk slowly, and take deep breathes. And I was freaking happy that I was able to make it. I guess it was possible because of my will power and my friends who supported me.
If you are planning to visit Gurudongmar lake, then keep in mind these few things.
1. One needs to take permits in Gangtok before going to Gurudongmar lake as there will be checking and a permit is required so if you are planning to go there, better go with a travel agent who will get all the permits done otherwise it will consume your one day unnecessarily.
2. Carry at least 2-3 copies of your photo ID and photographs as these are required to be submitted for the permits.
3. Do not plan a direct trip to the lake from Gangtok, like a stop at Lachung or Lachen, because it is important for the body to adjust to the different altitudes.
4. Also please carry few spicy eatable stuff as the extreme height of the lake cause breathing and vomiting sensation problem.
5. Pack well according to the weather during the month of visit.
Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri, West Bengal is the nearest airport to go to the lake. One can hire a taxi for Lachen here which is at 200 km, and from there taxis and jeeps are available to go to the lake. Also, you can hire share cabs and taxis if you are in a budget trip.
Darjeeling Railway Station is the nearest railhead for the lake and is at 171 km from Lachen.
Buses are available from various cities of Sikkim to Lachen. One can take the jeep or taxi to the lake, after reaching Lachen.
Accommodation near Gurudongmar Lake is available here.
If you want to visit Gurudongmar lake, then you should choose the months between November to June because at that time the weather will be pleasant. In Lachen, summers are quite pleasant and moderate, and you can also encounter the annual yak race.
Note: No foreigners will be allowed to visit Gurudongmar lake or Nathula Pass because it is a part of the International border area. One will require the necessary permit to visit the restricted places like zero point, Yumthang Valley and Tsomgo Lake.
Thank you everyone for taking time to read. Do let me know your thoughts.Pr
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