Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim | A Sacred Experience

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.
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 :)

Hi Vishnu, We are planning

Hi Vishnu, We are planning for Darjeeling and Gangtok for Jan 27th to Feb 1st 2015.Please let me know how the climate will be usually by that time and can we get good places to visit including Lake and Sunrise at early morning near Kanchenzanga.Let us know good places or plan as we have more hopes to make it better with our first tripRegards,Giri

4 days are sufficient for

4 days are sufficient for Darjeeling and Gangtok. You should spend 2 days in Darjeeling and 2 in Gangtok. Jan and Feb are generally very cold in Sikkim. Weather is clear generally so you will see spectecular sunrise from Tiger hill

+- Vishnu

HI Dear    We are 2 family

HI Dear 


We are 2 family (6Adult and 2 Childern age 12 and 10) planning to have trip during Dec 25th to 2nd Jan 2015, We would like to see Snow falls and Snow. Kindly suggest me where can I see snow and snow falls.

For us main attraction is snow 

PL let me know what could be the Temp during these time and can I get South Indian food/







Yes, Chances are bright to

Yes, Chances are bright to see snow-fall in the last week of December. You can see snow around Nathula pass, Yumthang valley.

Temperature will be very low and it will drop below zero during night.

There is a South Indian Restaurant on MG Road, Gangtok

+- Vishnu

Hi  Iam planning my vist to


Iam planning my vist to Gangtok for 7 days trip during Dec 25th to 2nd Jan 2015,Kindly suggest me, can I get see snow fall and snow during my North Sikkim trip






Yes, Chances are bright.

Yes, Chances are bright.

Hi We are planning to visit


We are planning to visit Gangtok on last week of January (2 or 3 persons for 3 or 4 days). We are prefering bicycle ride (To hire from Gangtok). Could you tell about the wearher conditions, the scope of a bicycle tour on that time and the availability of bicycles.

John (Kerala).

Yes, you can hire bicycle but

Yes, you can hire bicycle but it will be very cold for a cycling tour in Sikkim. You can cycle in West Sikkim towards Pelling. There will be snow on most of the roads towards North Sikkim.

January is not the right time for cycling in Sikkim.

+- Vishnu

Hi Viahnu,   I'm planning to

Hi Viahnu,


I'm planning to visit from 19th to 25th Dec 2014.

1. Will Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Valley be accessible then?

2. Will this itinerary work:

Day 1 - Bagdogra to Gangtok. Will be reaching Gangtok in the evening.

Day 2 - From Gangtok - One Day tour to Nathula and back

Day 3 - From Gangtok to Lachen and Thongma.

Day 4 - Thongma to Gurudongmar and back to Lachung.

Day 5 - Lachung to Yumthang, Zero Point and back to Gangtok.

Day 6 - Gangtok to Bagdogra.

My priority is North Sikkim.



Hi Parth, There are 50-50 %

Hi Parth,

There are 50-50 % chance to find roads open till Gurudongmar lake. Yumthang is likely to be reachable and if it does not snow early in the season then Gurudongmar should also be acccessible.

Itinerary seems do-able to me.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,  Is it advisable

Hi Vishnu, 

Is it advisable to book hotels and packages for the itinerary mentioned in advance or can we do it as and when we reach there. In any case, could you please give me contact details of some travel agents in reference to my itinerary? Thanks in advance. 

its holiday window so you may

its holiday window so you may find it bit difficult to get the hotels after arrival. you may have to struggle a bit if you are doing the booking in advance. I have dropped you an email with information you asked.

+- Vishnu

Hi i am palnning to visit


i am palnning to visit sikkim in mid nov.

plzzz suggest the places where i can find snow.

is gurudongmar lake accessible at that time.


Gurudonmagr lake  will be

Gurudonmagr lake  will be accessible but chances of finding snow are bleak...

=== Vishnu

I am planning north sikkim

I am planning north sikkim tour from 4th oct,14 with me two children 3 and 8 years are also accompaning. i will be visiting ganktok,lachen,thangu valley,Gurudongmar Lake,lachung,Yumthang valley. what are the climate condition during this time and it is ok to carry 2 kids at these places.

It's Autumn and the best time

It's Autumn and the best time to visit Sikkim....    Gurudongmar may be little high in elevation for Kids..

=== Vishnu

Is this tour will be tiring

Is this tour will be tiring for children.

It is the elevation which

It is the elevation which might be challenging for kids... Vehicles go all the way till Lake bed so its not about getting tired..

Hi. Me and my frnds planing

Hi. Me and my frnds planing tour to gurudongmer lake on bike. So can u tell me what we need to do? Like permit. Somekind of thing. Where i get all this

Outside Sikkim vehicles are

Outside Sikkim vehicles are not allowed in North Sikkim.. you will have to get special permit or hire bike from Gangtok...

Sikkim Tourism Department is the best place to get your queries answered...

Hi Vishnu, Thanks a lot for

Hi Vishnu,

Thanks a lot for helping new travelers and providing them important piece of information.

I wanted to check if we can visit Guadongmar lake around March 20? Is it good time to visit or it would be difficult to reach there? Can you please suggest itinerary for 8-9 days for Darjeeling and Sikkim? How many days should be spent for Gangtok?

Best Regards,



I don't think it will be

I don't think it will be possible to reach Gurudongmar before April Mid... There will lot of snow beyond Thangu and route will be blocked..

there are many itineraries for Gangtok, Darjeeling... 8-9 days are sufficient for Darjeeling and Sikkim... 2 nights in Gangtok are fine..

=== Vishnu

Hi, I am planning to go North


I am planning to go North Silkkim on Novemeber 3rd week 2014

16/11/14 - NJP to Gangtok

17/11/14 - Gangtok - changu - nathula - baba mandir

18/11/14 - Gangtok - Lachen

19/11/14 - Lachen - Gurudomber - Lachung

20/11/14 - Lachung - yumthang - zero point - gangtok

21/11/14 - stay at gangtok

22/11/14 - gangtok to NJP

I want to know can I gat the snow and also snowfall in this time?

Where I can get snow

Changu? Nathula? Baba Mandir? Lachung? Lachen? Yumthang? Gurudomber?

Please advise

There are bright chances to

There are bright chances to witness snow-fall at Gurudongmar lake and Yumthang valley in the 3rd week of November...  Nathula also receives early season snow..

=== Vishnu

planning this itinenary with

planning this itinenary with 3 other friends in btwn mid oct to mid nov,so can u tell me the budget per head and also tell me from where we can hire a permitted vehicle which will tk us to this places and from where we can our own permit to visit this places



Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra Airport – Gangtok (125 kms / 4 hrs)
In the morning catch the flight for Bagdogra from Delhi/Kolkata, On arrival at Bagdogra Airport & transfer to Gangtok (5,480 ft.). On arrival check-in to hotel & rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at Gangtok.

Day 02: Excursion to Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir
After breakfast start for an excursion to Tsomgo Lake (12,400 ft.) & Baba Mandir (13,200 ft.) which is 55 kms one way from Gangtok city. Overnight stay at Gangtok.

Day 03: Gangtok – Lachen (118 Kms/6 hrs)
Morning drive to Lachen (9,400 ft, 118 km). On the way visit Seven Sister Waterfalls. Lunch at a local restaurant on the way. Check in at Hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight stay at Lachen.

Day 04: Lachen – Gurudongmar Lake (40 kms each side) - Lachung
Morning drive towards Gurudongmar Lake (17,000ft) only Indian National is allowed. Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest situated lakes in North Sikkim. Remember the altitude here may cause breathing problem. Back to hotel & leave for Lachung (Alt 8,610 ft, 60 km). Overnight stay at Lachung.

Day 05: Lachung – Yumthang Valley – Zero Point – Gangtok (118 kms/6 hrs)
Early morning drive to Yumthang Valley (Alt 11,800 ft), 24kms an Alpine flower valley in North Sikkim. Enjoy the scenic landscape and hot spring and drive back to Lachung for Lunch. Optional tour to Yumesamdong Valley or Zero Point close to Tibet Border (Alt 15,000 ft, 23 kms from Yumthang) for Indian tourists only (at extra cost and prior notice). After lunch back to Gangtok, overnight stay at Gangtok.

Day 06 :- Gangtok Sightseeing
After breakfast visit to Tashi view point, Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok. These viewpoints offering panoramic view of snow capped Himalayan peaks & Gangtok city. Proceed to visit Rumtek Monastery/ Jhakri Falls, Institute of Tibetology, Enchay Monastery, Dodurl Chorten etc. In the evening visit to M G Marg, the busy market of Gangtok, for shopping and having Sikkimese delicacy at the local restaurant. Overnight stay at Gangtok.

Day 07 : Gangtok to Pelling (124 km./ 5 hrs) 
After breakfast embark for Pelling (7,000 ft. /134 km/6 hours) .The first phase of the journey rolls along the picturesque valley of River Tista till Melli and then it runs along the beautiful valley of Rangit till Legship. Take a refreshing break at the view point near Melli and watch the magnificent bird eye view of the confluence of both the rivers. From Legship the road takes a steep turn through Geyzing. The view of the entire surrounding widens as you proceed towards Pelling through the clouds and forests.. Pelling is situated at an altitude of 2072 meters / 6800 feet in west Sikkim is famous for its spectacular view of eastern Himalayan range i.e Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Kumbhakarna, Rathong, Zopuno, Shimbho, Narsing, Sinolchu. Enjoy a comfortable overnight stay at the hotel. 

Day 08: Pelling Sightseeing 
Pelling Local sightseeing (Full Day) - After breakfast at hotel – Drive for Full Day Sight Seeing. The routes are forested and the botanical and zoological richnessll is inspiring. Places of visit are Rimbi water Falls, Rimbi Rock Garden, Kechopalri Lake, it is one of the holy Buddhist lake and it is believed that any wish in front of the lake comes true - Myth is that when a leaf falls on the placid clear water surface, it is picked by a bird and thus the water surface is always free of leaves, Kechopalri Monastery, Kanchenjunga water Falls, Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdantse ruins, the scenic view from the top of the ruin to the mystic heights of Kanchendzonga ranges is something to be cherished – Back to hotel – Evening free to roam around the helipad or Shopping center - Over Night stay at Pelling.

Day 09: Pelling to Siliguri/Bagdogra (145 km. / approx 6 hrs)
Morning after breakfast check out from the hotel drive back to Siliguri (NJP)/ Bagdogra (IXB) via same route for your onward journey with happy memories to cherish .

Hi Soham,I can not make an

Hi Soham,
I can not make an estimate of expenses as it entirely depend on travel style...

Vehicle for Nathula, Pelling North Sikkim can be hired from Gangtok... For Bagdogra to Gangtok, you can hire sumos from Airport itself...

Hey Guys We are visiting

Hey Guys

We are visiting Sikkim in mid August this year. This is the itenary... Kindly give us your comments about the same ... thanks :) 

Day 1 -  Mumbai flight at 7.55am Land in Bagdodra by 2.30. 

          Take a Car to darjeeling.Check in. Visit one place.(not decided). Dine out.

Day 2 - Go out morning 4 am to tiger hill. LAVA. Batasia loop.

         Go to passenger rope way in the afternoon

Day3 - Check out of the hotel.  Kheocheplari Lake, Rabongia on the way to gangtok

           Check in Club mahindra. Visit Local Areas like MG Road and the market.

Day4 - Nathula Pass, Menmecho Lake. Tsangmo lake.Ganesh Tok. Flower show.

Day5 - Otherwise Aritar or/and Namchi (In case only nathula pass is visited on Day4 then visit

          Ganesh tok,  Flower show, Enchy monestry on this day)

Day6 - Check out of Club Mahindra. Head to Gurudongmar Lake 

          Check in at lalchung. Stay overnight.

Day 7 -   Leave for Airport


Also, i wanted to know approximately how much time it will take to travel from 

1- Airport to Darjeeling

2- Darjeeling to Gangtok

3- Gangtok to Gurudongmar

4- lalchung to Airport


Thanks a Lot :) 

Hi Aditi... There is a huge

Hi Aditi... There is a huge gap in your planning... your Day 6 and 7 are not well planned... For Gurudongmar, you will have to do a whole day journey till Lachen and then stay overnight... next morning, visit Gurudongmar in the morning and then drive back to will reach Gangtok by evening...

Journey time for stretches you asked:

1) 3-4 hours
2) 3-4 hours
3) 8 hours to Lachen and then 3 hours from there.. should not be done in single day from Gangtok
4) 12 hours

=== Vishnu

Hi, I want to know what is


I want to know what is the best vehicle to travel in North sikkim, we are planning for 4D / 3N from gangtok - Lachen - Lachung - Dzongu - Gangtok!

Please comment thanks in advance!

In North Sikkim, Government

In North Sikkim, Government does not allow outside Sikkim vehicle so there is no point to hire a nice vehicle outside Gangtok... i think Sumo/Tavera/ runs fine in North Sikkim...

4D/3Ns are fine for the stretch you mentioned.. with 1 night stay in Lachen, Lachung and Dzongu each...

=== Vishnu

I'm planning a trip to

I'm planning a trip to Gurudongmar Lake in November mid,please let me know if it is accessible that time. Also i'm very much keen to view half frozen/ half crystal blue water of Gurudongma with clear blue sky and snow capped mountain, rather than total frozen lake. Please suggest the month of travel

Hi Gargi... Chances to reach

Hi Gargi... Chances to reach Gurudongmar in November are bit bleak... Road might be blocked beyond Thangu however there are still chances...

Unlike Pangong lake, Reaching Gurudongmar when frozen is a hitch... Road is really trecherous and more or less impossible to drive... I think if you want to see half frozen lake then Feb end-March should be the best time but for that you need to prepare yourself walking from Thangu till the Lake.. it will be more like an expedition... Lake won't be much frozen in November when you are planning this trip..

==== Vishnu

Hello vishnu  we 4 friends

Hello vishnu  we 4 friends are planning for a trip to gangtok and north Sikkim that is lachen lachung yumthang gurudongmar lake and a lttle bit sghtseeing of gangtok. we have 5days . so can u suggest me a ittenary and How much sould b our approx budget CoZ we thought of approx 10k each we dnt have any idea. thanks in advance.

10K each head is good enough

10K each head is good enough for 5 days tour... You can spend 2 nights in Gangtok, 1 night in Lachen (for Gurudongmar lake tour), 1 night in Lachung (For Yumthang valley)...








April till June mid and then

April till June mid and then August Mid till October end is the time when Gurudongmar will be accessible... September-October is best time...

Hi, I am planning a trip to


I am planning a trip to Sikkim-Gangtok between 18th and 25th May 2014. I would need some suggestions on what would be the best Itinerary for this duration.


There are plenty of

There are plenty of itineraries in our forum for 6-7 days duration... please check those sample itineraries and let me know if you need any specific information...


Hi Vishnu,

We(myself,souse,6yr old son) are planning below itinerary from 17thMay to 24th May. 

Please suggest whther it would be comfortable or suggest a better one..

Day 1. NJp to Darjeeling,darjeeling sightseeing..

Day2. Darjeeling Sighseeing. reaching Peling at evening

Day 3.Peling Sighseeing reaching Gangtok at evening.

Day 4. Gangtok sightseeing

Day 5 Gangtok -- Yumthang- 

Day 6 . Yumthang to Gurudongmar lake reaching Gantok at evening

Day 7. Gangtok : Nathula,Baba Mandir

Day 8.Return back to Njp









Hi Kaushik... your itinerary

Hi Kaushik... your itinerary is quite hectic... rather than including all the places of the  region, i will recommend you to stay longer at one place..

Darjeeling to pelling is quite a long trip ..Similarily Gangtok-Yumthang-Gurudongmar-Gangtok is very hectic..

will recommend to skip pelling all together..

do as follow,.

Gangtok-Lachen-Thangu (overnight stay).
Thangu-Gurudongmar-Lachung (overnight stay)
Lachung-Yumthang-Gangtok (overnight stay)

One day tour to Nathula and all

=== Vishnu

HI , i would like to know is

HI ,

i would like to know is the following iteneary possible (16-20th  April'14 ) 

Day 1 : Siliguri

Day 2 : travel form Siliguri to Darjeeling and local sight seeing and travel to gangtok (overnight stay)

Day 3 : visit to tsomgo lake and then travel towards gurudongmar lake -(overnight stay at chungthang)

Day 4 : Continue towards  Gurudongmar lake . Reach there and return back to gangtok on same day. (overnight at gangtok)

Day 5 : Gangtok to Bagdogra (flight 1230 pm) 


Thanks in advance. 

Day 2 is going to very

Day 2 is going to very hectic... Visiting entire Darjeeling in one day and then transfer to Gangtok... you should spend at least a night in Darjeeling..

Day 3: again impossible... Changu lake, Nathula pass is one day tour... Gurudongmar is very far... Gangtok to Lachen/Thangu itself is whole day drive..

Day 4:It's can visit Gurudongmar early in the morning and then drive back to gangtok on the same day...

lot of correction is required in your itinerary.. no point making it hectic just for visiting number of places..

Vishnu Kumar

Hi,    I am planning to visit


   I am planning to visit Gurudongmar Lake during 4th week of Apr this year. Our travelling grp comprises of 2 kids, each about 4 yrs old. Should this be a problem? Will the kids be able to accommodate themselves to the thin air and altitude or would have breathing suffocations? It would be of help if someone who has travelled during this period of the year share their exerience as well. In case there are difficulties, are there any alternatives/Suppliments that would facilitate?

Hi Krithika,              

Hi Krithika,
               reaching Gurudongmar lake in the month of April should not be a problem. With respect to Kids, Here is comprehensive document about Acute mountain sickness.

One of the travelers was sharing that Army post beyond Thangu may not allow kids to go further till Gurudongmar lake... AMS is quite may hit..may not hit... Chances are low as travelers don't stay at Gurudongmar for long and recede back to lower altitude soon after visiting the lake..

Vishnu Kumar

Dear Krithika, I will be also

Dear Krithika, I will be also traveling with my 2 young kids of age 9 and 10 so please do share details of any travel agent you went through for the bookings of tour and hotels. my date are 23rd arival at Bagdogra and Leave NJP on 2nd Night. My email is jograjpurohitatgmaildotcom


Dear friend,       I booked

Dear friend,

      I booked my stay and touring through India Beacons.  you can dind details of this travel organisor Mr sandeep is the person of contact there. You can refer my name as I already spoke to him about your inquiry. 

Let me know if you need further details.

Have a wonderful trip!!


Krithika Ramakrishnan

hi i am planning to visit

hi i am planning to visit gurudongmar lake around 12th april this year.will it be a good vtime?also i will have total 5days.what other places can you suggest? thanks in advance

I think Gurudongmar lake is

I think Gurudongmar lake is reachable in the month of April... its good time... In 5 days, you can visit Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba mandir... spend 2 days in North Sikkim...and couple of days in West Sikkim (Robong and Pelling)..

Vishnu Kumar

Dear Vishnu,   I travelling

Dear Vishnu,


I travelling to Gangtok in the month of June (19th-25th / 6N/7D) with my family of 6 (which includes my 21 month old daughter). i am willing to cover much of gangtok and neighbouring attractions in 4 days without stressing too much by long hours of mountain traveling. i have reserved 2 days for Darjeeling. Please can you help with an itinery, which does not stress us of traveling and we dont miss much as well...

i know i am asking too much, but your article suggests you are the best person to ask this over internet.





Hi Harsimran,
                   you total have 6 days in hand... I would suggest the following itinerary which will cover all the major attractions of Sikkim..

Day 1) Tour to Nathula pass, Changu lake
Day 2) Drive to Lachen, stay overnight
Day 3) Gurudongmar lake  drive and return back to Lachung.
Day 4) Visit Yumthang valley in the morning and come back to Gangtok..

from here on you can continue Darjeeling part of your trip..

Vishnu Kumar

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