Sunday, January 3, 2010

Trip to Gurudongmar

Gurudongmar Lake situated at an altitude of 17100 ft is one of the holiest lake in Sikkim,  having already been there once during the month of May , I was ready to explore it during the winter. We left Gangtok at around 10 am  which was pretty late, by the time we reached Chungthang  it was already 2:00 pm, we had to reach Thangu, the last village that provides accommodation. We reached Lachen at 4:00 pm, the rest of the gang  were having a great time, but I was worried,because I was the only one who knew how treacherous the road ahead was. We reached Thangu at around 6:00 pm , it was pitch-dark and snowing, I was worried sick about our accommodation, but the rest of the gang was busy discussing how they would not mind staying in the car for the whole night, I mean imagine sitting in a car at sub zero temperature I was getting irritated,  thankfully one of the lodge was open and they let us two room for the night which meant some of us had to share beds. Once the accommodation was confirmed even I could enjoy the snowfall and the cold cold weather. So cold that the water pipes and the drain pipes all had frozen. This should have warned me of what was to follow. After dinner there was nothing to do except go to bed as there is no electricity at Thangu. I can rightfully claim that it was the longest and most uncomfortable night of my life till date, cramped in a small bed with my sister unable to move , moving an inch meant letting in the cold air. We were left counting the minutes till dawn.

the surrounding hills

The morning was glorious, the surrounding hills were covered with snow, it was a sight to behold. We wanted to make an early start, that is when disaster struck , the fuel in our car had completely frozen and the battery was down. So much for making an early start, we were left trying almost everything to get the vehicle started, we even lit a fire below the fuel tank to melt the diesel. I was left feeling very guilty, because it was my brilliant idea to stay at Thangu, but then I had no idea that the temperature would go below -10 degree or that our driver was an amateur. Thankfully, one of the drivers  arriving with tourist from Lachen knew what to do, and so he helped us get the vehicle started. If not for him and the lady running the lodge, we would have had to return from Thangu itself. They did help us a lot.

Finally, we made our way to Gurudongmar, situated just 5 km away from the international border, it is a barren land, a cold desert inhabited by the army and the sheepherders, looking after their sheep and yaks.Though this was my second visit it still left me spellbound, the place is beautiful, its hard to imagine that a lake nestles  in such barren splendour.

The lake itself was frozen baring a part, it is said that a portion of the lake has been blessed by  Guru Padmasambhava , it never freezes even at the height of winter. The altitude and wind condition is such that its impossible for any one to stay there for a long time. After all the hardship we faced we were there just  for 20 mins , but it was worth all the trouble we faced.

Gurudongmar Lake

Every season has its own charm, but having visited Gurudongmar during winter as well as spring-summer, personally I prefer the summer months. The lake is absolutely blue and the route from Lachen to Thangu is covered with multitude of  flowers.

Lake during the summer months


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