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.
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.
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.
You can reach Gurudongmar lake from Thangu Village
An approximate road map from Gangtok to 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
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
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
Image courtesy: Regina Joseph
Cairn at Gurudongmar Lake
Temple at Gurudongmar
Partially frozen Gurudongmar Lake
Turquoise blue Gurudongmar lake
Gurudongmar lake during summers
Gurudongmar Lake from a height