Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim | A Sacred Experience

Gurudongmar lake
Situated in northern most part of Sikkim, Gurudongmar Lake offers an experience for a life time. With its majestic emerald blue water, Gurudongmar Lake is surrounded by snow capped mountains and a glacier which shares its name with the lake.  Gurudongmar Lake is India’s second highest lake; the lake is located at an altitude of 17100 feet.  It is 15th highest lake in the world.  Gurudongmar Lake is highly revered by Buddhist, Sikhs and Hindus. Clear water of this sacred lake is believed to have miraculous properties and lake itself has many legends behind it.

Gurudongmar Lake In North Sikkim India's Second Highest Lake

Surrounded by barren and cold landscape;lake is fed by melting glacier. Lake's high altitude poses a challenge for its travelers. You need to be physically fit and more importantly mentally prepared for such high altitudes. Thin air and lack of oxygen supply can leave you wanting for more and more air all the time. But this challenge of hard terrain and the reward of glorious views of Gurudongmar lake makes this trip worthwhile for travelers. 
 
Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim
 
Geography of Gurudongmar Lake
 
Gurudongmar Lake is situated in northern most part of sikkim. This part of Sikkim has Tibetian platue as its northern border. This lake is just 5 km away from Tibet (now China occupied). One of the major rivers of north east India, River Teesta, flows through this region. Infact one of the major tributaries of this river has its origin in Gurudongmar lake only.  Gurudongmar lake lies on northern part of Kanchandzonga range. Due to its proximity to China border, this lake area is very sensitive. This entire region is under control of Indian army and you need special restricted area permit to visit this lake. Due to its extreme height, this lake remains frozen during winters. Even in summers you can find some part of the lake as partially frozen. 
 
 
Road Map of gurudongmar lake and cholamu lake
You can reach Gurudongmar lake from Thangu Village
 
Gurudongmar Lake route in north sikkim
An approximate road map from Gangtok to Gurudongmar Lake
 
satellite image of gurudongmar lake
satellite image of Gurudongmar lake
 
Permit and Other Requirements
 
make sure you have the required restricted area permit before heading towards this lake. One can get permit from the tourist information Centre which is situated at MG road in Gangtok. Permits can also be easily arranged by most of the local travel agencies. you must expect extreme whether condition at such a height so be well prepared for this. Make sure you have enough warm clothing with you. Bring a good supply of dry fruits and chocolates with you as you will require extra energy to keep up with high altitude fatigue.
Prayer Flags at Gurudongmar lake
                                                                                               Prayer Flags at Gurudongmar lake
 
How to Reach Gurudongmar Lake
 
Your journey to Gurudongmar lake starts from Gangtok. You can easily reach Gangtok from nearest railway station in Siligudi (New Jalpai Gudi) . You can also take a flight upto Bagdogra airport which is on outskirts of Siligudi. From Siligudi you can catch local taxies (recommended) or buses. If you don't have your own vehicle then contact local travel agencies in Gangtok and ask them for permit and Gurudongmar lake taxy fair. Make sure to consult at least 3 agencies to strike the best deal possible. During your visit to Gurudongmar lake, you are required to stay at a small mountain village, thangu over night. This is a beautiful village and an ideal spot for you to get your camera out of your bag and start shooting some awesome photographs from here upto Gurudongmar lake :)

Image courtesy: Regina Joseph

Cairn at Gurudongmar Lake
 
                                                                                          Cairn at Gurudongmar Lake
 
Gurudongmar Lake North Sikkim
 
Temple at Gurudongmar Lake
 
                                                                              Temple at Gurudongmar Lake

Partially frozen Gurudongmar Lake

 
                                                                          Partially frozen Gurudongmar Lake

Turquoise blue Gurudongmar lake

 
                                                                                               Turquoise blue Gurudongmar lake
 
Gurudongmar lake during summers
 
                                                                                       Gurudongmar lake during summers
 
Gurudongmar Lake from a height
 
                                                                                  Gurudongmar Lake from a height

Hi Vishnu, My wife and I (age

Hi Vishnu,

My wife and I (age 57 and 66) plan to travel tp Sikkim and make our base in Gangtok from 06th to 14th Oct 2015. We live in Bangalore, We are both free of any heart, diabetes or BP problems. Is it OK for us to travel from Gangtok-Lachung-yumthang-Gurudongmar Lake (say from 08th Oct to 10th or 11 Oct)? If yes, can you please suggest how to go about arranging the trip (transport, permit etc.) from Bangalore. I am an ex Indian Navy officer

Does one need acclimatization period to go to the Lake?

 

T.K.

T.K you may plan

T.K

you may plan as

8th:gangtok to lachen enroute sightseeing

9th:lachen gurudongmar lake chopta valley and to lachung

10thlachung yumthang valley zeropoint and then to gangtok or stay at lachung

11th to gangtok if stayed 2nights in lachung.

 

yes its better you acclamitize as gurudoingmar lake is about 18000ft above MSL

hey vijay will end of july or

hey vijay

will end of july or beginging of august be the right time to go to gurudongar lake for photography??

is there a possibility of camping near the lake for a few days ???

 

thanks

July is monsoon time so i

July is monsoon time so i would recommend to try in Mid-August. Its good time for doing photograph. Camping is not allowed near lake. you will have to return back by evening.

We want to visit Gangtok for

We want to visit Gangtok for 7 nights. We want to make base at Gangtok
From here we want to make trip to Pelling ,Lachen-Gurudongmar lake.
Our queries are
1. What are the temp at lake in sept. We are senior citizen. Not much of health problems. No blood pressure or heart problem.
2. What should be the itenerary.
3. How many days are required to visit Lachen-Gurudongmar lake, what all permission is required. Who are best travel agents.
Please advise.
Dr Abha Jain

7 days are good time to visit

7 days are good time to visit Pelling and North Sikkim. September is not very good and in fact one of the best times to visit Sikkim. Temperate near Lake will drop drastically. I would suggest you to make 2 nights/3 days tour to North Sikkim from Gangtok.

Gangtok-Lachen (overnight)-Thangu-Gurudongmar Lake-Lachung (Overnight)-Yumthang-Gangtok.

Inner line permit will be required but can be obtained with the help of any tour agent at Gangtok.

will send you details about travel agent.

+- Vishnu

Dear Sir,   We plan to reach

Dear Sir,

 

We plan to reach bagdogra on 21st June 2015 and return on 28.06.2015

We are from down south Chennai, four people plan gangtok 3 days, pelling 2 days wish to hire a pvt taxi to carry four person for full period ie.21-28covering maximum place is and around gangthok, namchi,legship,pelling

 

Wish to have full guidence on taxi, accomodation and vegetarian resturant

 

please give your suggestion

 

govind

Hi Govind,  Your itinerary

Hi Govind,
 
Your itinerary looks do-able to me. I will send you details regarding tour operator, taxi over the email.

Vegeterian food is not a problem in Sikkim. It available every where.

+- Vishnu

Hi vishnu thanks for your

Hi vishnu thanks for your response.  witing for your email details.  I also place for Lauchan.  what about monsoon is it severe or we can able to travel

its unpredictable. Generally

its unpredictable. Generally its not advisable. Landslides, flashfloods are common during monsoon.

+-Vishnu

want to go Mangan avoiding

want to go Mangan avoiding Gangtok please tell me another rout.

you can reach mangan directly

you can reach mangan directly from siliguri by taking a detour from singtam.

instead of following the NH you follow the north sikkim highway from singtam town.

Hey,  Can anyone please tell

Hey, 

Can anyone please tell me if it is fine to visit north sikkim from 16th june to 23rd june. Are the roads for Gurudongmar lake open as of yet ?

And we are traveling without a touring agency. So can someone please advice all the details that we would need to have apart from the permit that would be required for us to get till gurudongmar lake. Thanks !!! 

Yes. Roads are open but its

Yes. Roads are open but its monsoon time so weather is quite unpredictable. Roads get blocked very often due to landslided. Yes, you will need a permit which can be procured with the help of any tour agents at MG Marg.

Hi Vishnu, I read many your

Hi Vishnu,

I read many your blogs helping tourist to plan their journey. We two families are planning for Sikkim in Mid Sept'15. we have 6nights / 7days in hand for tour. We are planning as below.

 

2nights: Darjeeling (or instead we can do Borong? I saw many beautiful pics on net)

2nights: Gangtok

2nights: North Sikkim (Lanchen - Gurudongmar lake - Lachung. can we do this trip on our own? we will be hiring car for full 7days. or we have to go through local trou operators?)

 

waiting for your suggestions...

Thanks,

Harit

Hi Harit, Your itinerary

Hi Harit,

Your itinerary looks fine to me. Bery much doable in the month of September. Yes. you can take help of local tour operators as well. I will drop you an email with details regarding the same.

+- Vishnu

Can one hire a self driven

Can one hire a self driven car (from Gangtok) to go to Lachen-Gurudongmar-lachung and back to Gangtok ? If yes who are the operators who give this ?

Hi Anupam, Dropped you an

Hi Anupam,

Dropped you an email with details of tour operator. Please revert back on the same.

+- Vishnu

no self drive hire cars

no self drive hire cars availavle isn sikkim..non sikkim registered vehicles cannot go beyong toong check post in north sikkim.

Hi Vijay,   Planned a trip

Hi Vijay,

 

Planned a trip with family for North Sikkim in the last week of May 2015. Little worried about the recent earthquakes in Nepal and accross North Bengal. Please suggest the road conditions, any adverse effect on the raods and other amenities in North Sikkim, are the raods accessible and open to tourist etc. Also it will be appreciated if you can give me a relaibale contact number of a vehicle who can arrange this trip for us (3N).

 

Thanks,

Sumit

dear sumit, all the roads in

dear sumit,

all the roads in sikkim are open and the weather also is very pleasent now..gurudongmar lake was 80%frozen yesterday

There is no affect of

There is no affect of Earthquake on Sikkim. all the roads are open and places are accessible.

i m planning to visit sikkim

i m planning to visit sikkim on 16th of may but really worried bcoz of the tremours of earthquake as we felt it yesterday also, so plz suggest us is it really safe to travell now???

I am late in responding to

I am late in responding to your query. Yes, there was earthquake and subsequent tremors but Sikkim is not affetced. I would not discourage you to drop your travel. Please carry on. I hope you are traveling Sikkim and enjoying it.

+- Vishnu

Hi, We are planning to travel

Hi, We are planning to travel Sikkim in this Oct with a 3 year old kid, just want to know whether we can take the kid to Lachung & Lachen. We know that we can't risk taking the kid to Gurudongmar lake but can we stay in the hotels of lachen without doing any sightseeing with the kid. Just to inform you we had visited Gulmarg last year in snow & God willingly the kid had no issues with the snow. Thank you.

I do not think there is any

I do not think there is any problem taking kid to Lachen and Lachung however i would not suggest to take your 3 year old to Gurudongmar Lake, Nathula pass. Snow and cold weather is not a primary challenge for kids (for that matter to grown ups), its the altitude which makes these places little more changing. Anything above 12000 feet is challenging for those you had been living in the plains for long.

+- Vishnu

I have planed to visit

I have planed to visit gurdangmar on fast week of june..How will be the weather on this time..please tell me how much possibility is there to reach gurdangmar at that time.

you can visit gurudongmar

you can visit gurudongmar lake in june..the weather will be good.

Hi, I am planning to visit

Hi,

I am planning to visit Sikkim on 9th may to 16th May, 2015. I am bit scared about the Lachen & Lachung road condition after the earthquake. Could you please let me know How is the road condition and are those placess safe to visit?

my travel itinerary is like:11th May, gangtok -> Lachung (Yumthang, Zero Point), 12th May, Lachung -> Lachen (Gurudongmar Lake, Katao), 13th may, back to Gangtok.

Please let me know that the journey will be safe or not during the 11th May to 13th May, 2015, after the earthquake effect? Or do I need to change the plan as soon as posible?

Thanks & Regards,

Sudipta

Dear sudipta, there were no

Dear sudipta,

there were no anykind of damages in sikkim due to the recent earthquake in sikkim..you can go ahead with the planned trip.

Dear Mr Vishnu, Hope you are

Dear Mr Vishnu,

Hope you are doing well.

We are travelling to North Sikkim on 18th of May 2015. Would you kindly advice us about the road condition of Lachen, Lachung and Gurudongmar from Gangtok.

Regards,

Ertadad

ertadad, the road conditions

ertadad,

the road conditions to gurudongmar and yumthang valley  are okay as of today.

we are planning for a trip to

we are planning for a trip to gangtok for north in the month of OCTOBER 2015 from 19 to 26 (5N //6 D) is the month is good to go please sugest , I have heard that for GURUDONGMAR lake 3 yr kids are not allowed by Indian ARMY please suggest.

1-Kolkata-Njp

 

2.Njp-Gangtok

 

3.Gangtok-Lachen

 

4.Lachen-Gurudongmar-Lachung

 

5 Lachung-Yungtham-Gangtok

 

6.Gangtok-Njp-Kolkata

october is one of the best

october is one of the best times to visit north sikkim,,you can plan for the trip

we are planning for a trip to

we are planning for a trip to gangtok for north in the month of OCTOBER 2015 from 19 to 26 (5N //6 D) is the month is good to go please sugest , I have heard that for GURUDONGMAR lake 3 yr kids are not allowed by Indian ARMY please suggest.

1-Kolkata-Njp

 

2.Njp-Gangtok

 

3.Gangtok-Lachen

 

4.Lachen-Gurudongmar-Lachung

 

5 Lachung-Yungtham-Gangtok

 

6.Gangtok-Njp-Kolkata

s panja, gurudongmar lake not

s panja,

gurudongmar lake not possible with a 3yr old kid..you should plan for gangtok and pelling and come back after three or four years for the north sikkim trip

We are planning to Sikkim in

We are planning to Sikkim in mid May from Gangtok for two days,north Sikkim include lichen ,lachung and gurudonmar lake for 3 days and two days in kewzing. Will be a good plan? Will have snow at gurudonmar lake.worth to visit zero point?

Yes, you can see snow around

Yes, you can see snow around Gurudongmar lake in the month of May. Gangtok-Lachen-Gurudongmar Lake-Lachung-Yumthang-Gangtok can be covered in 3 days and 2 nights. Zero point is little further from Yumthang and can be included in the same tour.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, Can you please

Hi Vishnu,

Can you please suggest which route from Gangtok would be ideal to reach Gurudongmar Lake by own vehicle, I mean i will be driving down from Kolkata. Kindly share me the name of the agency where from i can arrange the permits as well. Is travelling in the month of May first week ok?

 

Outside Sikkim vehicles are

Outside Sikkim vehicles are not allowed beyond Gangtok. you will have to hire a local taxi from Gangtok. Permits can be arranged with help of tour agent in Gangtok. First week of May is good time.

+- Vishnu

We r 4 people wish to visit

We r 4 people wish to visit gurudongmar lake alongwith yumthung zero point katao in may 1st week  this year. will we get snow in any point?

Katao is out of bound for

Katao is out of bound for tourists so you can not visit. Yes, you can visit Gurudongmar and Zero point. There are chances to see snow at Zero point and Gurudongmar lake.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, I'm Planning to

Hi Vishnu,

I'm Planning to visit Gurudongmar Lake during this month, most probably 25th April 2015.

1) Will it be possible to go to Lacen from NJP Rly Station directly.

2) have any contact to conduct my trip including permit.

Thanks.

@shu

NJP to Lachen in a single day

NJP to Lachen in a single day would be very very hectic. Possible but not recommended at all.

Will send you email about contact for permits.

+- Vishnu

Can you give me some advise

Can you give me some advise on where to get relaible drivers for North sikim visit. Also is it ok to go to gurudongmer lake with 6 year old ?

I do not think there is any

I do not think there is any problem visiting Gurudongmar lake with 6 year old. Will send you details about the driver.

+- Vishnu

HI,  we are planning to visit

HI, 

we are planning to visit gangtok and gurudongmar lake during end of september or early october.

Would like to know if wheather is suitable for 1.5 year old kid?

 

Regards

Gangtok is not a problem to

Gangtok is not a problem to visit 1.5 year old but visiting Gurudongmar will your baby will challenging considering the altitude of the region.

+- Vishnu

I and my family 4 person are

I and my family 4 person are planning to visit gurudongmar and yumthang 15th april to 19th april some advice from you

I think Route is gurudongmar

I think Route is gurudongmar is open. should not be any problem. have a good trip.
+- Vishnu

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