Gurudongmar Lake By Priyanka Chanda

Blue green hills, white gushing rivers and plenty of waterfalls is the description of the drive from Gangtok to Tanggu. More than your eyes can take that is the kind of beauty North Sikkim has to offer. I had the pleasure of taking a trip to North Sikkim last year and after the trip I pretty much had nothing to say coz the natural beauty of the place left me speechless. In this have jotted down my Tanggu and Gurudongmar experience.

The drive up to Tanggu takes about 6 hours from Gangtok normally but we took a little longer due to a landslide where we were stuck for about 2 hours but I am not complaining. These two hours gave me plenty of opportunity to try out my photography skills and I must admit I got some pretty good shots out there.

By the time we reached Tanggu it was dark so we could not explore much, but a lovely bonfire, lots of booz and good company gave us the much needed heat from the freezing November chills. When we woke up in the morning we had a surprise waiting for us. A giant snow covered mountain stood right in front of us shinning in all its glory with the morning sun. A big grin and WOW! Is all the expression I could gather from that view. The site had made my day, but the day had just begun.

Gurudongmar Lake was the reason why we were here in the first place. This Lake stands at a staggering 18000 Ft above sea level hence a halt at Tanggu to acclimatize is very necessary because altitude sickness can be very dangerous. I did not know what to expect and I was very excited. After breakfast we made our two hour long drive or rather climb on the mountain. Cold but fresh and natural, I felt that I had entered the land of the mountains. After driving for an hour bang the landscape completely changes the green pine trees and colorful bushes have given way to baron land, loads of rocks and snow peas standing right in front of your eyes. The majestic mountains seems so close to you that you feel you can run and touch them but of course it’s a classic case of “ so close yet so far”.

Where is this Lake? I was getting impatient after the drive my expectation had increased 10 folds now. We finally reached and I rushed from the car, I tried to run phew! Try running at 18000Ft. After climbing a small hillock there it was, a blue green lake clear as a crystal shimmering like an emerald surrounded by giant mountains with just rocks all around. I felt something, I felt humbled by the beauty I felt blessed to have been present there. Honestly I felt like staying back, giving up everything that I had worked for, I felt peace and happiness. This is one place if you sit silently for sometime you can actually hear your own thoughts.

The legend has it Gurudongmar Lake is a holy place; this lake is worshiped by the Hindus and Buddhist. You actually feel it; there is definitely something about this place that just can not be explained it has to be experienced.

It was indeed difficult to tear yourself from there and make your way back down but boy! it would have been even more difficult if we would have stayed any further coz as the local people told us after 12 o’ clock winds so strong starts blowing that stones actually starts flying around. Unless you want to be pelted with stones its suggested that you reach early and head back early.

All in all a wonderful experience totally more than my expectation; yes maybe now the benchmark of my expectations has risen a lot. But if you are planning to visit this place just ensure that you have a few days in hand so that you can absorb the local surroundings, lifestyle and culture. This will make the visit more that that it will make it a UNIQUE EXPERIENCE.