Gurudamba Lake also known as Gurudongmar Lake, is a picturesque water body nestled in the mesmerizing landscapes of Sikkim, India. Located at an altitude of 17,100 feet (5,210 meters) in the northern part of the state, this sacred lake is not only a visual delight but also holds immense religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. In this guide, we will delve into the enchanting realm of Gurudamba Lake, exploring its location, how to reach, accommodation options, and the best time to visit.
Gurudamba Lake Location
Gurudamba Lake is situated in the North Sikkim district, near the border of India and China. It lies about 190 kilometers away from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Nestled amidst the snowcapped peaks of the Eastern Himalayas, the lake captivates visitors with its pristine beauty. Surrounded by barren mountains and lush green meadows, Gurudamba Lake stands as a shining jewel amidst the rugged terrain, offering a serene and breathtaking experience to all who visit.
How to Reach Gurudamba Lake
Reaching Gurudamba Lake requires a bit of planning and preparation due to its remote location. The nearest major town is Lachen, which is approximately 70 kilometers away from the lake. From Gangtok, one can hire a private vehicle or take a shared taxi to reach Lachen. The journey from Gangtok to Lachen takes about 6 to 7 hours, traversing through winding mountain roads and scenic vistas.
From Lachen, the next leg of the journey involves a challenging drive of around 3 to 4 hours. It is advisable to hire a local guide or a driver familiar with the terrain, as the route involves navigating steep inclines and rocky paths. The final stretch from the parking area to the lake requires a short trek of about 30 minutes, which can be physically demanding due to the high altitude. However, the arduous journey is rewarded with the awe-inspiring beauty of Gurudamba Lake.
Gurudamba Lake Accommodation
As Gurudamba Lake is located in a remote area, accommodation options near the lake are limited. The town of Lachen offers a few guesthouses and homestays, providing basic amenities for travelers. It is advisable to make advance bookings, especially during the peak tourist season, to secure a place to stay.
Another alternative is to stay in Gangtok and undertake a day trip to Gurudamba Lake. Gangtok offers a wide range of accommodations, including luxury hotels, budget guesthouses, and homestays, catering to different preferences and budgets. From Gangtok, you can hire a private vehicle or join a guided tour to visit the lake and return to the comfort of your accommodation in the city.
Best Time to Visit Gurudamba Lake
The best time to visit Gurudamba Lake is during the summer months, from April to June, when the weather is relatively pleasant and the roads are accessible. The winter months, from November to February, witness heavy snowfall, making the journey to the lake extremely challenging and sometimes impossible due to road closures. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid visiting during the winter season.
Visiting the lake during the monsoon season, from July to September, should also be avoided as the region experiences heavy rainfall, which can lead to landslides and road blockages. It is important to note that due to the high altitude, the weather at Gurudamba Lake can be unpredictable, and sudden temperature drops are common even during the summer months. It is advisable to carry warm clothing and be prepared for such weather fluctuations.
Facts about Gurudamba Lake
Here are some interesting facts about Gurudamba Lake:
Gurudamba Lake is one of the highest lakes in India, situated at an altitude of 17,100 feet (5,210 meters) above sea level. Its high elevation adds to its mystique and makes it a remarkable natural wonder.
The lake is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. According to Hindu mythology, Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, blessed the lake during his journey to Tibet. Buddhists believe that the lake’s water possesses healing properties and is capable of curing ailments.
Gurudamba Lake is primarily fed by glaciers and snowmelt from the surrounding mountains. It is a part of the extensive Tibetan plateau and serves as a major source of the Teesta River, one of the most prominent rivers in Sikkim.
During the winter months, Gurudamba Lake freezes partially or completely due to the extreme cold temperatures in the region. This frozen landscape adds an ethereal touch to the lake’s already mesmerizing surroundings, creating a stunning visual spectacle.
Crystal Clear Waters:
The lake is known for its crystal clear waters that reflect the surrounding mountains and create a mirror-like effect. The transparency of the water allows visitors to see the lake’s vibrant aquatic life, including trout fish, swimming beneath the surface.
Gurudamba Lake is located near the tri-junction of India, China (Tibet), and Nepal. Due to its proximity to the international borders, special permits are required for visitors to access the lake. It is essential to obtain the necessary permits and follow the guidelines laid down by the authorities.
The landscape surrounding Gurudamba Lake is a sight to behold. Towering snow-capped peaks, rugged mountain slopes, and vast meadows create a dramatic backdrop against the serene blue waters of the lake. The picturesque vistas attract photographers and nature lovers from far and wide.
The region around Gurudamba Lake is known for its rich biodiversity. It serves as a habitat for various species of birds, including Brahminy ducks and migratory birds. Wildlife enthusiasts can also spot Himalayan blue sheep, yaks, and other high-altitude animals in the vicinity.
Pristine and Pollution-free:
Due to its remote location and limited accessibility, Gurudamba Lake remains untouched by urbanization and pollution. The tranquil environment and clean surroundings make it an ideal place for meditation, reflection, and rejuvenation.
Gurudamba Lake is a popular destination for religious pilgrimages, attracting devotees who seek blessings and spiritual solace. It holds immense significance for both Hindus and Buddhists, who often perform rituals and offer prayers at the lake’s shores.
Gurudamba Lake is a hidden gem in the heart of Sikkim, offering visitors a unique and awe-inspiring experience. Its remote location, surrounded by majestic mountains and blessed with tranquil waters, makes it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike. Despite the challenges involved in reaching the lake, the journey is well worth it, as it leads to a place of unmatched serenity and natural beauty. So, plan your trip to Gurudamba Lake, immerse yourself in its ethereal ambiance, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Gurudamba Lake Common FAQs
Gurudamba Lake holds great religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. It is believed to be blessed by Guru Padmasambhava, a revered Buddhist saint, and is considered one of the holiest lakes in Sikkim. The pristine waters of the lake are believed to possess healing properties and are considered sacred by the locals.
No, Gurudamba Lake is not accessible throughout the year. The lake is located at a high altitude and experiences extreme weather conditions. During the winter months, from November to February, heavy snowfall blocks the roads leading to the lake, making it inaccessible. It is advisable to visit during the summer months, from April to June, when the weather is relatively pleasant and the roads are open.
Due to its remote location, accommodation options near Gurudamba Lake are limited. The nearby town of Lachen offers a few guesthouses and homestays that provide basic amenities. It is recommended to make advance bookings, especially during the peak tourist season, to secure a place to stay. Alternatively, visitors can choose to stay in Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, and undertake a day trip to Gurudamba Lake.
Visiting Gurudamba Lake requires some precautions due to its high altitude and challenging terrain. Here are a few essential precautions:
• Acclimatize properly to the high altitude before heading to the lake.
• Carry warm clothing and protective gear as the weather can be unpredictable, even during the summer months.
• Stay hydrated and avoid strenuous physical activities to prevent altitude sickness.
• Follow the instructions of local guides or drivers who are familiar with the area.
• Respect the religious and cultural significance of the lake and maintain cleanliness.
Yes, there are several nearby attractions that can be visited along with Gurudamba Lake. Some popular places include Chopta Valley, Thangu Valley, and Lachung. These destinations offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush valleys, and vibrant flora and fauna, enhancing the overall experience of the trip.
Yes, photography is allowed at Gurudamba Lake. The ethereal beauty of the lake, coupled with the majestic Himalayan backdrop, provides numerous opportunities for capturing stunning photographs. However, it is important to be respectful of the surroundings and follow any guidelines or restrictions put in place by the authorities.