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 :)

Will Gurudongmar lake be

Will Gurudongmar lake be accessible during Mid of March?

Chances are very bleak.

Chances are very bleak.

Hi Vijay, Earlier I visit

Hi Vijay,

Earlier I visit Sikkim twice, both around November & got very scenic view of Sikkim, both the time North Sikkim. In Changu I also got Snow fall... !!

I am planning to visit Sikkim in Jan'2015 (3rd till 6th) this time. I am planning for North Sikkim (Lachung & Lachen if possible) & Changu Lake, Is it possible to get to Gurudongmar at this time & what about yumthang ? Is it possible to go till Nathula, .? On which days Nathula trip is not possible ? (Monday & Tuesday ?)

Pls advice. !!

Thanks in Advanced !!

Gurudongmar would not be

Gurudongmar would not be possible in January. You might reach Yumthang if weather permits. Nathula will also depend on road condition.  Nathula is closed on monday, tuesday and friday.

+- Vishnu

Hi! I'm visiting Sikkim in


I'm visiting Sikkim in February last week. My itinerary is set to visit nathula pass on friday. could you please confirm if what you're written above is correct? Nowhere have i read that Nathula is closed on friday including on the sikkim tourism website. 

Thanks in advance


Sorry. My mistake. Nathula

Sorry. My mistake. Nathula remains closed only on Monday and Tuesday.

Hi, Nathula is not accessible


Nathula is not accessible hopefully at the time you'll b visiting sikkim. Today I I went to Changu trip..Currently sikkim tourism is only providing permit till Changu Lake, even Baba mandir is not accessible due to heavy snowfall.

Thanks Sourav for you

Thanks Sourav for you comment.

HI, I and my friend are


I and my friend are planning to visit gurudongmar and yumthang in the 2nd week of january 2015, can we make it? or will the roads be closed at that time ?

you can not make it by road.

you can not make it by road.

hey vishnu, which all snow

hey vishnu,

which all snow places in sikkim will b accessible in jan first week?

and will the roads be clear to visit yumthang and lachung?

You may reach Lachung if

You may reach Lachung if there is not much snow else route gets blocked very often. For Snow, Nathula pass and Changu lake will be more accessible options.

+- Vishnu

Hey! We are planning to go to

Hey! We are planning to go to sikkim in the 3rd week of december, 2014. Will it be possible to go to Gurudongmar lake? 

chances are very bleak. I

chances are very bleak. I think you can go as far as Thangu but not beyond that.

+- Vishnu

hi Vishnu, I m planning to

hi Vishnu,

I m planning to visit gangtok from 2 jan to 6 jan 2015. can you tell me how can reach gangtok from New Jalpaiguri station.

how many days are sufficient for gangtok. can we plan to darjling between these days.

There are many shared jeeps

There are many shared jeeps between New Jalpaiguri and Gangtok.

2 days in Gangtok and 2 days in Darjeeling are good for the visit.

+- Vishnu

Hey! We are planning to visit

Hey! We are planning to visit sikkim from 26-31 december. I just wanted to know whether we will be able to see yumesamdong, tsomgo lake, cholamu lake, menmecho lake and gurudongmar lake? Will all the lakes be full frozen or are there any chances we will be able to see the "emerald green" colored water? Please reply asap.

Cholamu is not open for

Cholamu is not open for tourists even in Summers. Gurudongmar lake would not accessible in December. Tsomgo lake will be possible to reach. Tsomgo should be partially frozen in December. These lakes get completely frozen by January end.

Hi I am planning to visit


I am planning to visit yumthang and gurudongmar lake around 2nd March next year. I wanted to know if the roads will be blocked because of snow and also will the lake be frozen that time? 

It would not be possible to

It would not be possible to reach Gurudongmar lake in the first week of March.. roads will be closed.

However Yumthang should be possible.

+- Vishnu

HI i am planning a 4 day trip


i am planning a 4 day trip from 24th to 27 jan 2015 for gurudongmar lake from kolkata. is it feasible to go there and from where i can get all those permits , as per my plan

24th jan -  reaching gangtok till noon

25th - heading to lachen

26 th gurdongmar  then back to gangtok

27th site seeing in gangtok n then back to njp to kolkata

if guruongmar is accessible then can u suggest some palces in sikkim which can be thrilling in winters



Gurudongmar would not be

Gurudongmar would not be accessible in January. you should consider something else.

+- Vishnu

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

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