Gurudongmar Lake, also known as Gurudogmar Lake, is a pristine glacial lake located in North Sikkim, India. It is one of the highest lakes in the world, situated at an altitude of approximately 5,430 meters (17,800 feet) above sea level. The lake is known for its crystal-clear waters, stunning Himalayan backdrop, and its significance in both Buddhist and Sikh cultures.
How to Reach Gurudongmar Lake:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Gurudongmar Lake is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in West Bengal, located approximately 210 kilometers away. From Bagdogra, you can hire a taxi or take a shared jeep to reach Lachen, the base village for the lake.
- By Train: The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) in Siliguri, West Bengal, which is well-connected to various cities in India. From NJP, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Lachen.
- By Road: To reach Gurudongmar Lake, you’ll need to first travel to Lachen, which is the starting point for the journey. Lachen is accessible by road from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and other towns in the state. The journey involves steep and winding mountain roads.
Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit Gurudongmar Lake is during the late spring and summer months, from May to June and from September to October. During these periods, the weather is relatively stable, and the lake is not frozen, allowing for better access. The winter months (November to April) are extremely cold, and the lake remains frozen.
Local transportation within Lachen includes taxis and shared jeeps. The journey to Gurudongmar Lake is typically arranged by tour operators or local agencies, and a special permit is required.
Lachen offers limited accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. Due to the remote location, accommodations are basic but provide the essentials for a comfortable stay. It’s advisable to book in advance.
Nearby Places to Visit:
- Chopta Valley: This valley is known for its breathtaking beauty and is often visited by travelers on their way to Gurudongmar Lake.
Popular Things to Do:
- Visit Gurudongmar Lake: Explore the stunning beauty of Gurudongmar Lake, surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The lake is considered sacred and has cultural significance.
- Photography: The landscapes around Gurudongmar Lake offer incredible opportunities for photography, capturing the Himalayan grandeur.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):
- Q: Is there a dress code for visiting Gurudongmar Lake?
- A: While there is no specific dress code, it’s advisable to dress warmly in layers, as the weather can be extremely cold. Wearing comfortable and waterproof clothing is recommended.
- Q: Are there any restrictions on photography at Gurudongmar Lake?
- A: Photography is allowed at Gurudongmar Lake, but it’s important to be respectful of the surroundings and the religious significance of the lake.
- Q: Is it necessary to acclimatize before visiting Gurudongmar Lake due to the high altitude?
- A: Yes, it is advisable to spend a few days in a place at lower altitude, such as Gangtok, to acclimatize to the high altitude before traveling to Gurudongmar Lake. Altitude sickness can be a concern at such high elevations.
Gurudongmar Lake is a place of exceptional natural beauty and cultural significance. It offers a unique opportunity to witness the grandeur of the Himalayas and immerse yourself in the spirituality of the region. However, due to its high altitude and remote location, it’s important to plan your trip carefully and be well-prepared for the journey.