The sound of car horns, music and people hit us well before the sights of the lake. The place was absolutely packed with drivers constantly honking to get yaks and blissfully ignorant families out of the way.
D'punk dropped us at the mouth of the gate, promising to find us as soon as he found a parking space. Well, good luck.
As soon as our feet hit the ground, we were surrounded by hawkers yelling various prices for yak rides around the lake. I'm not going to lie, they were almost yanking us to the poor creature. It is on several lists of things to experience in Sikkim but we refused to be a part of it.
Two Metal Tourists do not condone or support yak rides. I find it heartbreaking. The yak, if not sacred, is one of the most important creatures to Tibetans. And here, they are sold for 20-minute rides for the amusement of tourists. Carrying people and their children around, getting dragged by their nose halters and kicked and whipped into compliance. If the Sikkimese are okay with doing this to the yaks, all we can say is we do not agree to this torture.
We walked through the entryway into an over-crowded paradise of sorts. The lake was indeed frozen! The thick layer of ice made it look like nature's own skating rink, daring people to give it a go. Soft white snow surrounded the lake, a stark contrast to the deep grey hues of the now frozen waters.
A dim fog enveloped everything as far as the eye could see, like a dome protecting a wintry kingdom.
There was only one proper route along the lake unless you wanted to trudge through calf high snow and make your own.
Although the narrow path was slick with ice and stained with yak poo, watching people faltering and more often falling flat on their butts made it a super enjoyable walk. Every couple of minutes we had to sidestep for the yaks to pass both ways; it added another element of danger to the overall experience.
You don't want to get the horns or the hooves now, do you?