Located at a height of 17100 feet above sea level, Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim is the second highest lake in India. Needless to say, with an altitude of such magnitude, the lake defies all description. Located just about 5 kms south of the Indo-China border and about 190 kilometers from the capital city of Gangtok, the lake has a massive shore length of about 5.34 kilometers and a surface area of about 118 hectares. The lake also provides a beautiful view of Mount Siniolchu and Khanchendzonga among other snow-capped mountains. It acts as a source to the river Teesta. Reaching Sikkim Gurudongmar Lake takes around 8-9 hours by road from Gangtok to reach Gurudongmar Lake. The lake is located en route Lachen, a small town in North Sikkim. A night stay at Lachen is recommended before heading for the lake. It takes around 3-4 hours to reach the lake from Lachen. Visit to the Lake requires a permit due to its proximity to the Indo-China border.
The lake has a religious significance for both Sikhs and Buddhists. A surprising fact about the lake is that even in extreme winters, a part of it never freezes. Named after Guru Dongmar, the lake is said to be blessed carrying curative properties. It is a common practice for tourists to carry the water back with them. The Sarva Dharma Sthala is another spiritual attraction close to the lake. It is a temple for all religions. About 9 kilometers away is the Tso Lhamu Lake which is the source of the Teesta River. It adds to the majestic experience.
The best time to visit the lake is between April and June. The weather is quite pleasant then. During the winters, the lake almost completely freezes which is a treat to the eyes. From November to January is also a good time to visit, if one is equipped to handle the cold. A few other famous attractions close by are the Thangu Valley, the Lachen Monastery, the Chopta Valley, and the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary.
One can enjoy the local cuisine and choose to go trekking as the lake is a base station for several treks. The hill town of Lachen provides a good shopping experience as well. From handlooms to wooden artifacts, it has a lot to offer. The place is famous for its yak wool clothes, carpets, and other woolen products. The Handicraft Center and the Angora Rabbit Farm are famous shopping destinations for artifacts and woolen clothes. Overall, a visit to this sanctified lake is guaranteed to be an experience of a lifetime.