One of the highest lakes in the world is the Gurudongmar Lake located at an altitude of 17,800 ft, in the Indian state of Sikkim. It is a lake that is considered to be sacred by both the Buddhists and Hindus. But the name of the Lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, the patron saint of Bhutan. He is also known as Guru Rinpoche and was the founder of Tibetan Buddhism who visited this pristine lake in the 8th century. It lies to the northeast of the Kanchenjunga range that is only five km south of the Chinese border.
Exotic Tourism Destination to Visit During Summer
Not a tourist’s destination as popular as Lachung, Gurudongmar Lake still retains a freshness in itself which is beautiful & spectacular, surrounded by snow-capped peaks from all the sides.
Getting There at Gurudongmar Lake
Special permits are required to visit this holy lake that resides by North Sikkim. The permit is hence given to the tourists through an authorized tour operator. Only Indian tourists are allowed to visit this lake, and as for international tourists, the Gurudongmar lake tour package is limited to the Chopta Valley, that is a few kilometers before the lake. This is due to several geographical & religious reasons as the Lake is located at the extreme end corner of India. So here are the basic ideas how you can reach this place.
- The nearest tourist accommodation at Lachen is 68km which is 3 hours away.
- The tour can also start from Gangtok which is 120 km away from Lachen, making it an approx 6-hour journey.
- If you’re visiting from Gangtok, an overnight stay at Lachen is advisable, and you may embark on a journey to the Lake the next morning.
- You should start your journey early in the morning and then be back to Lachen by lunch time. Because the weather in the high altitude begins to worsen after noon.
You can visit this part of North Sikkim only through a package tour; individuals cannot visit the Lake directly. Tours must be organized from registered and experienced tour operators and it is a part of a minimum of two nights-three days’ tour package from Gangtok to Gangtok basis. Tourists can combine a tour to Lachen and Gurudongmar with a trip to Lachung and Yumthang Valley.
Ideas on Best Time to Visit Gurudongmar
1. Visiting Gurudongmar Lake in May or any period between April to May is a great time since the rhododendrons are in full bloom during the period of Spring.
2. At the beginning of December, it is also a great time to pay the snow covered Chopta Valley a visit. You can walk over the frozen river, and if the roads are open then you can go forward to see the frozen Gurudongmar surrounded by stark-white mountain ranges.
3. Weather in Sikkim is fairly unpredictable. Especially at such a high altitude where the Gurudongmar Lake resides, you cannot predict the incoming of bad weather hence your tour must be planned well ahead in advance during ideal seasons.
4. From the end of October to the beginning of February, the Lake remains immersed in snow, and again, sometimes the unpredictable weather condition may lead to close the roads that commute towards Gurudongmar Lake.
5. During the midweek of April, you will not be able to reach the lake due to the heavy snow storms, but you can still enjoy the snow storm at its best.
6. Visiting the Gurudongmar Lake in September is ideal as there are fewer chances of occurrences of blizzards during this month. However, in September there are high chances of landslides due to heavy rainfall on the way to the lake.
7. It is advised to plan your tour for October when you will have access to clear skies and a great view of the lake that is untouched by snowfall.
8. The weather near Gurudongmar usually becomes bad as the day progresses so you are advised to leave the lake area and start for a return trip to Lachen by 9.30am. The daylight breaks very early here at this place.
9. Gurudongmar lake temperature in November is considered as the best time to visit by the tourists as the clear waters of the lake can be seen from June to November without any accumulation of ice. Snowfall starts only by the end of November, backed up by snowstorms.
10. If you are visiting Gurudongmar Lake in June you can see the valley full of beautiful alpine flowers.
11. Gurudongmar Lake in March will find you with snow covered valleys, as the snowing starts from November onwards and ceases by the arrival of spring in the month of March.
12. Villagers from Lachen would migrate to Thangu during summer to take the advantage of lush green meadows which are perfect for cattle grazing, but with the growing instances of tourism back at Lachen, people have started to stay. They have established home stays and lodges to facilitate the accommodation for the incoming tourists during summer trips.