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A Lake in the Clouds

High-altitude lakes, or Alpine lakes, are often much different from the ordinary ones that you would find in your city. They are more spectacular because of the crystal-clear water that mirrors the clear blue sky. Usually found amidst the mountains, it is as pure as you can imagine because of the cold weather that slows down the growth of algae and moss in it. One such lake that is located amidst the vast range of the Himalayas is Guru Dongmar Lake in Sikkim. If you are planning to travel North-East in India, visiting this lake is one of the best things to do in Sikkim.

Quick Facts:

Before we get further, here are some quick facts you must know:

  • This lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • It holds a sacred place among Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.
  • Perched at an elevation of 5430 m, it is one of the highest lakes in the world.
  • It is 190 kms away from the capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok.
  • 5 Km down south from the Tibetan-Chinese border.
  • Area: 290 acres, Circumference: 5.34 kms

Who Should Visit?     

Guru Dongmar Lake is suitable for two kinds of tourists:

  • Nature Lovers
  • Spiritual Tourists

Nature Lovers

It has a stunning view with such pristine clear water that you can see its bed even from the middle of the lake. Surrounded by snow-clad mountains, it is one of the most majestic places to visit in Sikkim. The two well-known peaks in Sikkim - Mt Siniolchu and Mt Khangchendzonga – are right adjacent, which often reflect on its crystal-clear water on a bright sunny day.

Spiritual Tourists

In India, with its rich spiritual heritage, it is quite rare that a pristine beautiful lake like this doesn’t hold its spiritual significance. Legend says that once a great saint was passing by this lake when the people from nearby villages surrounded him and expressed their problem of availing drinking water from the frozen lake. Upon that, the saint touched Guru Dongmar Lake with his staff and since then the water has never been frozen to date.

Centuries-old Folktales like these always pass on orally within generations and most creeds and religions associate with them through their respective saints. The same is the case with Guru Dongmar Lake. Sikhs believe that the saint was Guru Nanak, while Buddhists believe that it was Guru Padmasambhava. Nevertheless, the lake still holds a spiritual significance among Sikhs, Buddhists as well as Hindus.

Getting There

Getting to Guru Dongmar Lake is not that easy, yet adventurous. Few points to note to get to this lake are:

  • You need to start early morning from Lachen, a town in North Sikkim.
  • It’s a four hours’ drive from Lachen to Guru Dongmar Lake.
  • You can take a halt at Yithang valley on the way for breakfast.
  • Entries are closed by 11 a.m. by the Indian army since it gets quite chilly after that.
  • Indians can visit it freely while foreigners need a special permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Best Time to Visit

High Season: April to June

Low Season: November to January

The best time to visit this lake is often considered between April and June when the weather is quite pleasant, and the sun is bright. Snow uncovers the vast green lands while remaining present only on the mountain peaks giving tourists a spectacular view.

The low season is between November and January when the weather is almost freezing. Yet the passes are open and you must prepare yourself with heavy warm clothes to stand against the unpredictable snowfalls and chilly winds.

Things to Do

While visiting this lake so far away, you must also plan to cover nearby attractions to create more memories.

Few more places that you can visit alongside are:

  • Chopta Valley: A haven for diverse species of birds, this is an ideal place for wildlife photographers and nature lovers with its snowy peaks, grazing fields and pine forests.
  • Sarva Dharma Sthala: This is a spiritual attraction right near the lake for peace-lovers. This temple, as the name suggests, is open for all religions and good for meditation and connecting to the vibes of the area that surrounds the lake.
  • Tso Lhamu Lake: Located some 5 kms away from Guru Dongmar Lake, this is another lake known for its stunning natural beauty. It is a source of the Teesta River and is fed by waters from many glaciers nearby.
  • Lachen Village: With its vibrant local culture and frequent fairs and festivals, Lachen is one of the most happening villages in the North-east. It is a base location for many tourist destinations nearby with its own natural beauty supporting diverse flora and fauna.
  • Thangu Village: It is a 30 Km drive from Lachen and serves as another base location for visitors of Lake Guru Dongmar. The alpine vegetation here is famous for its natural beauty. This village is inhabited by nomadic tribes and allows you to explore their culture.

Where to Stay

To visit Guru Dongmar Lake, you need to stay at Lachen. Along with basic amenities, most of the resorts in Sikkim have wooden flooring, heaters, hot water bags, geysers and in-house generators to make your stay warm and cozy. Apart from the few luxurious resorts, there are many low-budget hotels as well. Club Mahindra has two of its resorts in Sikkim – Club Mahindra Gangtok and Club Mahindra Baiguney, where you should book your stay while heading to Guru Dongmar Lake or while returning to more magic to your holiday.

Things to Carry

Visiting high-altitude places often requires some prior preparations. Your journey would be without any hassle if you keep the basic things in advance like:

  • Altitude sickness medicines
  • Warm clothes
  • Oxygen spray
  • Torch
  • Cold cream to keep your skin from dryness

You must first acclimatize yourself at Lachen for a day or two before you start for the higher altitude lake.

And Finally!

Apart from clicking pictures and sharing them with your friends, don’t forget to disconnect yourself from digital devices for a while and immerse yourself completely into the mystical nature of the place as well as staying for a bit at Club Mahindra properties in Sikkim.

Wish you a wonderful time!

About Mahindra Holidays

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Membership Reviews and Club Mahindra Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership, other brands offered by the company are – Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As of Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at https://www.clubmahindra.com/

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