A Road Trip to the Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar Lake


Who says paradise does not exist? There are plenty of places on this planet that feel like heaven when you’re there. One such place is North Sikkim, where there are plenty of tourist spots with breath-taking views. If you take a road trip to Gurudongmar Lake, it will be a journey worth capturing.

The second highest lake of Sikkim and among the top 15 highest lakes in the world, this place has crystal clear water surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Road trips to the Gurudongmar Lake are common from Lachen and Thangu, two beautiful valleys located 3-4 hours from this place.

So, why are road trips so popular in North Sikkim? Who can take one? Let’s take a look.

Why Take a Road Trip to Gurudongmar Lake?

In hill stations, most tourist spots are located close to each other. Since routes are simple and straight, going either uphill or downhill, you enjoy the scenery as you travel in a car or bike. This keeps your journey less tiring compared to trekking too.

Gurudongmar place is at a height of 17,800 feet and is located close to several tourist spots. Having a vehicle, you can visit the following spots before and after coming to this place:

  • Tso Lhamu
  • Sarva Dharma Sthala
  • Lachen
  • Thangu
  • Chopta Valley
  • Lachung
  • Teesta River

Mostly, you start from the villages of Lachen, Lachung, and Thangu and arrive at Gurudongmar Lake via the Chopta Valley. Teesta river is supposed to be the origin of this lake as well as of tso Lhamu. From the Gurudongmar Lake, tourists often go to the Sarva Dharma Sthala and these 2 water bodies.

Thus, taking a road trip from Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake is a convenient journey as well as a memorable experience.

Why is Gurudongmar Lake One of the Best North Sikkim Tourist Places?

This beautiful tourist spot in North Sikkim is considered to be sacred. It has a very interesting story that makes tourists visit this eye candy with a lot of wonders.

A long time ago, during the 8th century, this lake used to remain frozen almost all throughout the year. The people living nearby would be deprived of its water which was a very serious problem for them. Then came a legend, Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche.

Guru Padmasambhava is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. He once placed his hand on the frozen lake after which it slowly began to melt. However, the miracle is that ever since then, the lake has never frozen completely.

The water in this lake is blue and crystal clear. Between November and February, this lake freezes completely, but for the rest of the year, there’s cold water. In fact, in spring you’ll find a reflection of colorful flowers in the blue lake. However, the surrounding mountains are surprisingly always covered in snow.

The water of this lake is considered to be holy. People believe that it has healing properties. When you go there, not only do you get to enjoy the divine beauty of the place but you can also try drinking the water.

Moreover, the Indo-China border is also visible from here. This fascinates several tourists coming here, even though this requires special permission which is only given to Indians.

What is the Best Time to Visit Gurudongmar Lake?

There are two different views that people enjoy the most – frozen view of the lake and blue water reflecting snow mountains and colorful flowers.

If you enjoy frozen views, the best time of visit can be between November and February. At that time the temperature is between 5°C to -27°C, when you can see the lake partially or completely frozen. Both have their own beauty.

On the other hand, if blue is the view you aspire to get, then the best time is during the months of April and May. This is summertime at the Gurudongmar Lake when you’ll find a blue water body surrounded by a colorful landscape.

The landscape is colourful because of the nearby flowers that bloom during these two months. The mountains surrounding the lake are always covered in snow. You’ll find a reflection of both in the lake.

Do You Need a Motorcycle Permit for North Sikkim to Take a Road Trip to Gurudongmar Lake?

North Sikkim tourist places are at a great height. The mountains here are steep, rugged and slippery. This makes it extremely risky to drive here.

While the safest option is to hire a car that is driven by a trained local guide, a lot of people enjoy riding a bike on their own. in this case, you’ll have to take a motorcycle permit for North Sikkim.

Following are the criteria for obtaining this permit:

  • You need to have a valid driving license along with experience.
  • You need to be an Indian citizen.
  • The vehicle needs to be insured and must have a pollution certificate.
  • You need the authorization of the agency from where you’re hiring it or show proof of your ownership.
  • The person traveling with you on the bike also needs to be an Indian citizen.

Other Top Places to Visit in North Sikkim

North Sikkim is one of those tourist places that makes India incredible. On our virtual road trip to Gurudongmar Lake, we saw the nearby villages, lakes, and rivers. Some other tourist destinations in the state are:

  • Yumthang Valley
  • Yume Samdong
  • Seven Sisters Waterfall
  • Chungthang
  • Katao
  • Mangan
  • Phensang Monastery
  • Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
  • Khangchendzonga National Park
  • Zemu Glacier
  • Green Trek Lake
  • Tosar Lake
  • Singhik
  • Rong Lungten Lee
  • Kabi Lungchok
  • Crow’s Lake
  • Sirijonga Yuma Mangheem

Since you’ll be going very close to the Indo-China border, you’ll be needing a North Sikkim tourist permit before you enter the state. Gurudongmar lake is one of the best places to visit in North Sikkim. If you’re taking complete permits to go till these border areas, you shouldn’t miss out on this one.


Also read top places to visit in Nortn Sikkim

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