With the decreasing daylight our vehicle headed ahead and we finally decided that our next stop would be our final destination for the day. It would be none other than Kupup Lake, also known as Elephant Lake.High altitude lakes holds more secrets in them and they get less foot falls.Though our trip was coming to an end, but still we were excited with everything that we have seen and experienced in a day.
Today we were to leave the Old Silk Route and travel all the way to Gangtok travelling a distance of 65 kms. We left Gnathang with heavy hearts and the first stop was the absolutely gorgeous Kupup Lake, also known as the Elephant Lake. The lake was completely frozen as temperatures were almost near zero.
Kupup lake nestled at an altitude of 14600ft above sea level, amidst the snow cladded Himalayan mountains of Sikkim. The shape of the lake looks familiar to that of an elephant, so that's why the lake is also called "Elephant's Lake".The locals call it by different names which are "Bitan Cho" and "Hathipokhri" and consider it as a sacred lake. If you are traveling through the old silk route of Sikkim which is from Dzuluk and Jelep La Pass. This lake will fall in between your route, which is extremely alluring. It is situated close to the Indo-China border, so it is always highly protected with the military.It comes just before Baba Mandir which is another popular tourist destination in East Sikkim. The silk route tour offers several such high altitude beautiful lakes and one of those is Kupup lake. But if you ask me Kupup lake is my favorite. You will completely get astonished by its first glance. The gleam of the crystal clear water body will definitely make you exhilarated. Nobody is allowed to go near the lake except military as it is situated in a risky surrounding in middle of the snow-covered mountains and it is also considered very sacred.SPECIALITY OF THEThe shape of the lake resembles that of the elephant. The right side of the lake looks like an elephant trunk and on the left side, it looks like the tail of the elephant. The nearby village is known as Kupup, which contains few houses and police check. Kupup village was recognized as the transit point during the silk trade between India and Tibet. Kupup has been recognized in the world map for its "Yak Golf Course".The golf course is an 18 hole golf course affiliated to Indian Golf Union since 1985 situated at an altitude of 13,025 feet above sea level and has been recognized in the Guinness book of world record.BEST TIME TO VISITKupup is completely frozen from January to mid may. October to December the lake is semi-covered with the ice sheet. From April to July, you can witness a good view of the lake. The temperature stays around zero degrees in summers and falls down to (-) degrees in winter.WHERE TO STAYThere is no accommodation available near Kupup lake .However, one homestay will be developed very soon.THINGS TO DOEnjoy the tranquility of the place.· Visit Baba Mandir which is nearby.· Visit Tukla Valley to witness the panoramic view of Mt.Kanchenjunga.· Visit 18 hole yak golf course.· Visit the ice hockey ground and play hockey.HOW TO REACH· To reach Kupup you have to stay at a homestay in Zuluk.· To enter Zuluk you need to apply for an inner line permit at Rongli as to visit any place beyond Rongli you need permission.· You can hire a car to reach there.· You can also go directly from Gangtok or Siliguri.
From Thambi we headed towards the Old Baba Mandir and Kupup. The road leading towards the Kupup valley has a bifurcation at Tukla and connects to the Old Baba Mandir (Bunker). At this place the samadhi of Baba Harbhajan former soldier of the Indian Army has been built and is famously known as Old Baba Mandir.You'll find the entire history revolving Baba Mandir in the below link.http://www.sikkimsilkroute.com/baba-mandir/After visiting Baba Mandir we started our journey towards Kupup Lake. Locally called Bitan Cho, it is one of the most sacred lakes of Sikkim, with high mountains and valleys bordering it. Owing to its resemblance to elephant, Kupup Lake is also known as Elephant Lake.The lake nestles at an altitude of 13,066 feet, on the way to Jelepla Pass, bordering area between China and India. Dawa Bhaiya pointed towards Jelep La and even the disputed area of Doklam was visible from Kupup Lake.
I could see the magnificent gurgling “Jhoras”, small streams, starting to freeze to their annual hibernation as we drove up the winding path higher and higher. Further ahead lay the village of Kupup. While we stopped here to get our permits verified, I wandered off along the paths of this amazingly harsh yet beautiful village. Kupup, an ensemble of few ramshackle huts in the middle of absolutely nowhere is surrounded by barren might and virgin lakes. The villagers sat basking in the bright afternoon sun with spinning prayer wheels in hand, murmuring the old Buddhist prayer, “Om Mani Padme Hum”.