Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar is a high-altitude lake close to the Tibet border in North Sikkim. It is the land of Yaks, blue ships and other high-altitude animals of Sikkim and Tibet. The snow-fed milky water of the lake is one of the major sources of Tista, the most important river in Sikkim and North Bengal.

The Gurudongmar Lake
The Gurudongmar Lake

About The Lake

At an altitude of 17000 ft, Gurudongmar is one of the highest lakes in the world. It lies on the North side of the Khangchengyao Range and is encircled all around by snow-covered mountains, the sacred lake freezes during the winters except at one spot, which the devout belief has been especially blessed. The Chinese-Tibetan border is just a few kilometres away from the lake.

The blessed water of the lake is believed to possess the miraculous power of granting children to issueless couples. Interestingly, the myth of Gurudongmar is believed as reverentially by the Hindus as by the local Buddhists.

The name Gurudongmar is derived from the name of the Guru Padmasambhava who is thought to have visited Tibet in this area. The area is said to be blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. There is a temple of the Guru beside the lake. Devotee tourists as well as the Army personnel offer prayer at the temple.

Getting There

Tour to North Sikkim requires a special permit (Inner Line Permit). The permit is given to Tourists through an authorized tour operator. Only Indian tourists are allowed to visit Gurudongmar Lake. For international tourists, the tour is limited to Chopta Valley a few kilometres before the lake.

The lake is located in an extreme corner of India. The nearest tourist accommodation at Lachen is 68 km (3 hours) away. A typical tour starts at Gangtok from where Lachen is about 120 km (6 hours). After an overnight stay at Lachen the next morning, you may visit Gurudongmar. You should start early in the morning and be back to Lachen latest by lunchtime. As the day progresses weather in the high altitude begins to worsen.

Road to Gurudongmar

The first phase of the journey starts at Lachen at 8800 feet and in the next 35 km reaches Thangu at 13000 feet. As you gain altitude you will find the green forests of lower altitude gives way to smaller trees and bushes. Beyond Thangu is the second phase of your travel. The road towards the lake from Thangu passes through the high alpine pastures carpeted with occasional rhododendron bushes. One can get a prized view of rare Sikkim Rhubarb peeping through the bushes in inaccessible terrain or of a herd of mountain sheep grazing in the distant valley. In this area, you will find little vegetation or people. Apart from the Indian Army, there is no human habitation here. The gravel road through the valley gives you a unique view of barren land. Just before you reach the lake the road takes a right turn and goes uphill to reach the lake.

On the Way to Gurudongmar Lake
The Way to Gurudongmar Lake

Special Note for Travellers

The terrain leading to Gurudongmar is very hostile and yet very beautiful. The land resembles the Tibetan plateau, vegetation is very limited and the road is through a stony moraine-like unpaved path. Due to its proximity to the Chinese Border, landmines are not uncommon and the presence of the Indian Army is ubiquitous. Due to high altitude breathing problems may also arise. Tourists are suggested to spend less time at the high altitude and come down to Lachen soon.

Despite the hardship and difficulty, a visit to this lake may last as an experience of a lifetime.

Tour Planning

You can visit this part of North Sikkim only through a package tour. Individuals cannot go there directly. Tours must be organized by authorized travel operators such as HUMRO TOURS. It is part of a minimum of 2 night three days tour from Gangtok to Gangtok basis. Most tourists combine a tour to Lachen and Gurudongmar with a trip to Lachung and Yumthang valley. Following are two typical tour suggestions

Short Tour Lachen and Lachung
Day 1 - At Gangtok
Day 2 - Travel Gangtok to Lachen; overnight Lachen
Day 3 - Lachen to Gurudongmar and Chopta Valley and Back; overnight Lachen
Day 4 - Travel Back to Gangtok
Day 1 - At Gangtok
Day 2 - Travel Gangtok to Lachen; overnight Lachen
Day 3 - Lachen to Gurudongmar and Chopta Valley and Back. Continue travel to Lachung; overnight Lachung
Day 4 - Visit Yumthang valley and Katao. Back to Lachung. Overnight Lachung
Day 5 - Travel Back to Gangtok

About Us

HUMRO TOURS is the leading travel organization for the Sikkim Darjeeling area and has been organizing tours to North Sikkim since 2001. We have unmatched expertise in organizing these tours. We are also pioneers in Web marketing in the North East. We are based in Sikkim and Darjeeling. Please fill out the form below if you plan to travel to Gurudongmar or anywhere else in Sikkim or the rest of North East India.

Map of Gurudongmar Lake with the road from Lachen via Thangu

Tour Packages

Tour Highlights : Name – Long Sikkim Darjeeling Tour 11 Days  Tour Code : LSB21  Duration : 10 Nights 11 days Places Covered : Darjeeling (3 Nights), Gangtok (2+2 Nights), Lachen (1 Night), Lachung (2 Nights)
Duration : 10 Nights 11 Days
Tour Highlights : Name: North Sikkim with Darjeeling Gangtok in 9 Days Tour Code: LS902 Duration: 8 Nights 9 days Places Covered: Darjeeling (2 Nights), Gangtok (2+1 Nights), Lachen (1 Night), Lachung (2 Nights)  
Duration : 8 Nights 9 Days
Tour Highlights : Name: North Sikkim 6 Days Tour Code: LS607 Duration: 5 Nights 6 days Places Covered : Gangtok (1+1 Nights), Lachen (1 Night), Lachung (2 Nights)
Duration : 5 Nights 6 Days
Tags: Gurudongmar Lake
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