Gurudongmar Lake (also known as Gurudogmar lake) is a high altitude lake in Sikkim. Located at 17,100 ft (5,210 m) above sea level, Gurudongmar is also one of the highest lakes in the world. It lies to the northeast of the Kangchenjunga range and only five km south of the Chinese border. Most part of the lake is frozen during the winters (from November to mid-May).
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It is one of the four sources of water to river Teesta (Pauhunri and Zemu glaciers and Cholamu lake are the other three) and is considered sacred by Buddhist and Sikhs. Gurudongmar was blessed by the Buddhist Guru Padmasambava also known as Guru Rinpoche, founder of Tibetan Buddhism. On his way back from Tibet, he noticed that since the lake was frozen through the winters, it could not supply drinking water to the villagers. Legend has it that he touched a part of the lake and to this day, that section of the lake does not freeze no matter how low the temperature gets.
Another tale mentions the Sikh Guru Nanak who blessed the lake when he visited Sikkim. People believe that the lake grants wishes to pregnant women who pay a visit. The spiritual attraction around the lake is the Sarva Dharma Stala, a place of worship for people of all religions. Though the lake is located near Mangan, most travelers prefer a stay at Lachen because it is better connected to other destinations and there is not much to see in the village anyway.
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Several backpackers plan their trip from Lachen and Lachung to Yumthang. Gurudongmar lake is closest to Lachen (three hours) then to Lachung (four hours) and furthest from Yumthang (five hours). Opting for a stay at Lachen is the best option as commuting is more convenient. Hotels at Lachen offer pleasant stays for tourists. Budget hotels are easy to find. There are few mid-range options for accommodation but no luxurious ones. Homestays are a good option too. Locals are eager to help and share information and stories of historic and religious importance.
As the lake is situated on such a high altitude above the sea level, there are close to no eateries here. It is advisable for you to carry some snacks along. Local food is available near Mangan and is affordable and hygienic. Tibetan snacks like thukpa (noodles and meat/vegetables in soup) and momos are a must-try.
BEST TIME TO VISIT GANGTOK
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Gangtok is as given below. The best time to visit Gangtok is also specified.
|MONTH ||BEST TIME|| ||MIN. TEMP (°C)||MAX. TEMP (°C)|