4.5 / 5

Gurudongmar Lake
📍 Gurudongmar Lake, SikkimView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:May to June for pleasant weather, October to December for clear views

⏰ Open Hours:Open 24 hours, but visits recommended during daylight

🏞 Things To Do:Photography, Sightseeing, Bird-Watching, Hiking

💰 Budget:No Entry Fee. Transportation and guide costs vary

🧳 Traveller Types:Nature Lovers, Adventure Seekers, Photographers

📍 Known For:One of the highest lakes in the world, Sacred site for Buddhists and Hindus, Spectacular mountain views

🚉 Distances:174km from Gangtok, 190km from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station, 250km from Bagdogra Airport

📝 Tips:High altitude may cause breathing difficulties, carry oxygen cylinders. Weather is unpredictable, carry warm clothing. No overnight stay allowed.

🌐 Accessibility:Road access through Lachen. 4WD vehicles recommended due to rough terrain

🛎 Facilities:Limited. No eateries or accommodation nearby. Basic amenities at Army check-post

📜 Permit Required:Yes, both Indian and foreign nationals need permit from Tourism And Civil Aviation Department

Have questions about Gurudongmar Lake?Ask the Tripoto Community ›

Gurudongmar Lake: A Heavenly Experience in Sikkim

Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest and most scenic lakes in India. Located at an altitude of 17,800 feet in North Sikkim, it is also one of the most sacred lakes for Buddhists and Sikhs. The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, who is said to have visited and blessed the lake in the 8th century. According to legend, he touched a part of the frozen lake and made it melt, creating a source of water for the locals. Even today, that part of the lake never freezes, even in the harshest winter.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this heavenly lake and how to plan your trip with Tripoto.

About Gurudongmar Lake

Photo of Gurudongmar Lake 1/3 by
(c) Holidify.com

Gurudongmar Lake is one of the 108 holy lakes in Sikkim. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava blessed the lake and made it a source of water for the people living in the high altitude region.

Gurudongmar Lake is not just a place of worship, but also a place of wonder. The lake has a mesmerizing charm that attracts thousands of tourists every year. The crystal clear water reflects the changing colours of the sky, creating a magical spectacle. The surrounding snow-capped mountains add to the beauty and grandeur of the lake. The lake also has a small temple and some colourful prayer flags that flutter in the wind, creating a serene and spiritual atmosphere.

The lake is also revered by Sikhs, who believe that Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, visited the lake during his travels and performed miracles there.

The lake covers an area of 290 acres and has a depth of 120 feet. The water is considered to be pure and healing, and many pilgrims take a dip or carry some water back home. The lake is home to some rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, such as the Himalayan blue poppy, the black-necked crane, and the snow leopard.

When to visit Gurudongmar Lake

The summer months (April to June) are ideal for enjoying the greenery and flowers around the lake. The temperature ranges from 10°C to 20°C, and the sky is clear and blue.

The winter months (October to December) are best for witnessing the snow and ice around the lake. The temperature drops to -5°C to 5°C, and the lake freezes partially or completely, creating a stunning contrast with the sky.

The monsoon months (July to September) are not recommended for visiting the lake, as the road conditions are bad and the visibility is low due to fog and rain. The temperature varies from 5°C to 15°C, and the lake becomes murky and dull.

How to Reach Gurudongmar Lake

Photo of Gurudongmar Lake 2/3 by
(c) Holidify.com

Gurudongmar Lake is located about 190 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The nearest town to the lake is Lachen, which is about 67 km away.

By road: The road journey takes about 7 to 8 hours from Gangtok and 3 to 4 hours from Lachen, depending on the weather and traffic conditions. The easiest way to reach Gurudongmar Lake is by hiring a private vehicle or joining a group tour from Gangtok or Lachen. You will also need to cross some army checkpoints and bridges along the way.

Timings: The road to Gurudongmar Lake is open only from 6 am to 11 am, as it is close to the Indo-China border.

Permits: You will need to obtain a special permit from the army or the tourism department to visit the lake. You will also need to carry your identity proof and passport size photos with you.

Also read: Dos and Don’ts of Planning a Trip to Gurudongmar Lake (North Sikkim)

Things to Do at Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar Lake offers a variety of activities and attractions for all kinds of travelers. Here are some of the things you can do at Gurudongmar Lake:


The most obvious and popular thing to do at Gurudongmar Lake is to admire its beauty and take some pictures. You can walk around the lake and enjoy its different views and colors. You can also visit the temple and the prayer flags near the lake and pay your respects.


If you are a photography enthusiast, you will love Gurudongmar Lake for its photogenic appeal. You can capture some amazing shots of the lake, the mountains, the sky, and the reflections.


If you are feeling adventurous, you can try some trekking around Gurudongmar Lake. There are some trails that lead to nearby places, such as Chopta Valley, Tso Lhamo Lake, Donkiala Pass, etc.


If you want to spend more time at Gurudongmar Lake, you can opt for camping near the lake. You can enjoy the night sky full of stars and the sunrise over the lake. You can also light a bonfire and share stories with your fellow campers.

Places to Visit Near Gurudongmar Lake

Photo of Gurudongmar Lake 3/3 by
(c) Holidify.com

Gurudongmar Lake is not the only attraction in North Sikkim. There are many other places that you can visit along with the lake, such as:


Lachung is a picturesque village in North Sikkim, which is about 50 km from Lachen. It is a popular base for visiting Yumthang Valley, Zero Point, and Katao. Lachung is known for its natural beauty, culture, and cuisine. You can enjoy the views of the Lachung River, the apple orchards, and the rhododendron forests.

Yumthang Valley:

Yumthang Valley is a stunning valley in North Sikkim, which is about 25 km from Lachung. It is also known as the Valley of Flowers, as it is home to a variety of flowers such as primula, iris, poppy, etc. The valley is also famous for its hot springs, which are believed to have medicinal properties. You can soak in the warm water and relax your body and mind. You can also enjoy the views of the snow-clad mountains and the grazing yaks.

Zero Point:

Zero Point is the last motorable point in North Sikkim, which is about 15 km from Yumthang Valley. It is located at an altitude of 15,300 feet and offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan range. It is also the place where three rivers meet, namely Teesta, Lachung, and Lachen. Zero Point is a must-visit place for snow lovers, as it remains covered with snow throughout the year.


Lachen is another scenic village in North Sikkim, which is about 30 km from Gurudongmar Lake. It is a popular base for visiting Chopta Valley, Thangu Valley, and Cholamu Lake. Lachen is known for its serene and peaceful environment, its wooden houses, and its monasteries. You can enjoy the views of the Lachen River, the pine forests, and the alpine meadows. You can also visit the Lachen Monastery, which is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Sikkim.

Cholamu Lake:

Cholamu Lake is another high-altitude lake in North Sikkim, which is about 20 km from Gurudongmar Lake. It is located at an altitude of 18,000 feet and is the highest lake in India. It is also one of the least visited lakes in Sikkim, as it requires a special permit and a tough trek to reach. The lake is surrounded by barren mountains and has a deep blue colour. The lake is also a source of the Teesta River, which flows through Sikkim and West Bengal.

Gurudongmar Lake is a heavenly experience that you should not miss if you are planning to visit Sikkim. The lake will enchant you with its beauty, spirituality, and adventure.

Also read: All you need to know before you go World's Second Highest Lake Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim

If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments section below.

Gurudongmar Lake Reviews

Gurudongmar lake: this holy lake is located at a height of freaking 17000 feet above sea level. This makes it one of the highest lakes of the world. The dense coverage of military, the changing hues of mountains from black to brown to white, gushing teesta river will make the journey as mind blowing as the destination. We halted at a local's house for maggy and tea which were like saviours in the chilled weather (even the commodes of the house had frozen! Thinking about how these folks here even poop..).. anyway, after 5 hours of tedious ride, we finally reached there. And my my my..i couldn't believe my eyes. Heaven was right there.. glimpse of inner peace, esthatic views and frozen lake!! Just a small part of the lake never freezes as it was blessed by a guru to meet the water needs of the area.. At -13°c, it was soo chilly that we could not keep an inch of the body uncovered.. we went to down the lake and filled some holy water for its known to have healing properties. A few pictures here and there and we left as we felt light headed and difficulty in breathing. Could spend only 20 minutes but trust me those 20 minutes were the best 20 minutes of my life.. Important tips: The way from lachen to gurudongmar is horrible. It would take good 5 hours so u need to start really early. Its damn cold so carry warm clothes. Low oxygen makes it difficult to breathe so take medicines along. While returning,do stop at the army canteen and have momos;they are considered to be the best in entire sikkim. Places to stay in lachen: Most of the hotels are 2-3* but the people and service they offer here are 5* . Apple orchard: probably the only luxury hotel in lachen, this is best suited to guests who want to spend time in hotel have an elongated stay in lachen. Blue pine : my favourite place to stay in Lachen as it boasts amazing hospitality, yummmy food and shining snow mountains in the backdrop.. Food: there are no separate restaurants in Lachung or Lachen so your food options would be limited to the meals served at your hotel. Travel Plan: Gangtok - Lachung - Gangtok: Leave in the morning from gangtok, reach lachung by late afternoon seeing all the sights on way; overnight stay at lachung. Next day visit zero point, yumthang valley and hot springs before having lunch and then onward journey to gangtok.. Gangtok - Lachen - Lachung - Gangtok: Depart from gangtok, reach lachen by evening seeing sights on the way. Overnight stay at lachen. Next day start very early for gurudongmar lake, have lunch after return and leave for lachung. Overnight stay at lachung. Start early the next day for zero point then yumthang valley and hot springs. Post lunch, leave for gangtok. Reach gangtok by late evening. Trust me Sikkim is piece of heaven on earth !!!!
we left early morning and I can only say one thing it was not an easy travel specially for elderly people and people who are not comfortable with off-road hills. I would recommend to travel with empty stomach or with minimal food intake if possible to be on a safer side. I can't say enough about the view I was getting during my these 3 days of Lachen and Lachung. It was like a movie to me and the fact that such beautiful places exist was taking away all the off-road travelling I was doing to get to one spot and then another. Another thing I really appreciate about our ARMY is that your check in and check out is logged at every post during your visit to these places to keep strict records of the visitors keeping the place more secured compared to other places I have seen. we Reached at Gurudongmar Lake and it was nothing less than a scenery to me. I got to capture some of most beautiful pictures I have ever taken in my life and then after been touristy I just sat there for some time as I couldn't get enough of that place. We had to leave soon as it is suggested to leave that place before 12 noon due to lack of oxygen. We left for our home-stay at Lachen as we had to leave for Lachung as well after lunch. We left for Lachung after lunch and took us about 3 hours to reach Lachung. We followed our early to bed way as you are supposed to eat on time in home-stays. I really like the food at all the home-stays I had been visiting as it was basic and we were always hungry after those off road travelling.
Gurudogmar Lake, situated at 18000 ft, is one of the highest lake in the world, and also the route leading to the lake is among the highest motorable roads in the world. We were warned about the limited oxygen, the chilly winds and temperatures of around -8 degress even in broad daylight. Life does begin at the end of your comfort zone. It is when you experience these, you truly feel alive. It was a 4 hour drive from Lachen with literally no roads. Indeed I need to appreciate the driving skills of the locals in Sikkim here. With a lot of Chai stops , Military camps after Military camps, we finally hit the cold desert. Straight roads till the horizon, snow clad mountains on both sides was just truly amazing to witness. The feeling when we reached the Gurudogmar lake was just Wow!! Strong breeze to add up to the sub zero temperature, our driver warned us not to wander around more than 10 minutes. But we were prepared. One person in our group had 10 layers of clothing on,(we are still wondering how :P) yet was shivering. Indeed the weather conditions were not favorable to hang out for more than a few minutes, and few of us returned to our car. What is life without a little madness?! So I decided to stay there a bit longer, take a walk along the perimeter of the lake and finally was out of gas and returned to the car. Magical 40 odd minutes. With our minds still digesting the beauty, we returned back to Lachen and then to Lachung, not before checking off 18k feet off our Bucket-list.
Now multiple selfies, failed polaroid shots, me and one other friend decide that we are going down to touch the water. Let's just say we are the 'paka' ones of the lot and we go down the stairs and touch the freezing water and take multiple photos (coz, we are what?) of the prayer stones. Now after ascending the stair and almost feeling my heart in my mouth (take it slow, while attempting this one) just when we took a sit, AG came running to inform AB is almost dead... Nothing much to worry as that's typical AB, she gets sick in everything but we were at such high altitude that we did not want to take any risk, and so we started our journey back to Lachen with 4 girls and an almost dead-body whom we had put under the seat belt and who later on found comfort on the driver's shoulder! The next day we moved to Lachung and then back to Gangtok to continue with the rest of the trip. Now, while writing this, and while deciding on the next location for our Girl vacation number 2, do we realise what we (four girls and one almost dead-body) had achieved that morning! And we proudly flaunt that on our next FB/Whatsapp DeePees :v
After passing through barren landscape and seeing the signs of life vanish slowly, we reached the final spot. The first view of the holy lake id simply priceless and not explainable in words. I never felt so elated and stunned on reaching any place before. The place has a touch of divinity every where but with beauty comes hardship. The oxygen content is so low that you can feel it in every single step. I saw some people coming out of their car, felt dizzy and sick and went back into the car to leave. They were devoid of an up close and personal view of the lake (one needs to climb down the stairs to reach the lake). The lake is the source of one of the rivers that joins others to become Teesta. It is surrounded from all sides by picturesque mountains as if they were protecting something very special. This needs to be in the bucket list of every traveler. All through the route, there are Indian Army Camps with army men relentlessly rendering their services for the nation in inhuman conditions. Could not help but respect these brave souls. Indian Army operates a cafe on the way to Gurudongmar Lake which is supposedly the highest cafe in the world.
Photos of Gurudongmar Lake
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