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Gurudongmar Lake
About Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar Lake or Gurudogmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world which is located at an elevation of 17,100 ft (5,210 m). It lies in the district of North Sikkim in the state of Sikkim in India, only about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Chinese border. The lake can be reached by road from Lachen via Thangu.

Gurudongmar Lake is primarily a pilgrimage destination for the Sikhs. During his third journey, Guru Nanak visited this place to provide support to the Karmapa Nyingmapa sects who were forced out of Tibet by the Gelugpa sect. His footprints, a water carrying utensils and a robe is still preserved in Lachen Gompa, a place nearby. There is also a gurudwara at Gurudongmar Lake commemorating Guru Nanak's visit. The lake is named after Guru Dongmar, who is popularly known as Padmasambhava.

 
History of Gurudongmar Lake

Gurdwara Gurudongmaar Sahib Ji
This magnificent historical Gurudwara (Gurudongmaar) Sikhism is located in Place Gurudongmaar Lake, which is a town in North Sikkim, an Indian state. Sikkim is a small but beautiful landlocked state is located in the Himalayas in northern India.It is considered First Guru of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev ji visited this place during his trip (UDasi) to China and Tibet.

Guru Nanak Dev ji dug his walking stick at a place where ultimately the stick has grown into a tree which has trunk in stick shape and leaves are below the rounded trunk which looks like handle of stick. An amrit kund was also made to appear there by Guru ji. Guru Nanak Dev ji visited the place during his third Udasi in order to support the Karma pa Nying ma pa sect then being hounded out from Tibet by the Ge lug pa sect. It is also said that Guru Nanak Dev Ji, on one of his journeys along with his disciples, had come across this place and vanquished two demons here before proceeding. The footprints of that battle were believed to be still left on that cordoned off rock.

Gurudongmaar lake is located in this state at a distance of about 150 Kms from the capital Gangtok, at an elevation of 18,000 feet alongside a glacial peak known by the same name. The lake remains frozen most of the year due to heavy snowfall for almost six months each year.He went through Naku la and Lawu Gompha and reached plateau area around Gurudongmar. Problems of Grazers in this plateau the yak grazers approached Guru Nanak Dev ji with a request, that: "they do not find water in winter as it gets frozen all over, temperature falling down to minus 35 degrees.

"The Guru hit the perpetually snow-covered Gurudongmar Lake with his stick to provide water to the grazers. The ice melted giving way to crystal clear water. Since then the water of the lake is stated to never freeze. The lake and the hill feature atop have come to be known as Gurudongmar Lake and hill respectively. The same names are found recorded in the ancient maps prepared by the British in nineteenth century. Some grazers projected another problem to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Due to the effect of altitude, their virility was affected. They requested the Guru to do something about it. Guru Nanak Dev Ji blessed the lake, saying,"Whosoever takes the water of this lake will gain virility and strength and will be blessed with children." The people of the area have firm faith in Guru's words and consider the water of the lake as nectar. A Gurdwara was built in the eighties to remember Guru Nanak Dev Ji visit to the place. The Lamas from these areas have been visiting Golden Temple, Amritsar, regularly to pay obeisance to their beloved Guru Rimpoche, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, also known as 'Guru Nanak Lama' in their areas.

Renovation of Gurudwara
The present Gurdwara structure was renovated by Jawan's of 22 Sikh Regiment (Indian Army) during own tenure from December 2009 to May 2011. The area located near the border with China.

Religion
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikhism religion, visited many of the places where Padmasambhava prayed at, including this lake in North Sikkim. At the local people's request for water, Guru Nanak, with his 'dang' (a long stick) broke upper layer of ice & said, "Water of this lake will never freeze". People named this lake 'guru dang mar' meaning created with the dang of Guru Nanak.The lake is named after Padmasambhava, the Indian tantric Buddhist who conducted rituals here. Some believe that this is why, even at the height of winter, one portion of the lake never freezes.

 
Geography of Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar lake provides one of the source streams of the Teesta River. The source of Teesta, the Tso Lhamo Lake, lies some 5 km (3.1 mi) to the east. One can seek permission from the army to trek from Gurudongmar Lake to Tso Lhsmo Lake.The lake remains completely frozen in the winter months from November to Mid-May.Gurudongmar Lake is located to the northeast of the Kangchenjunga range in a high plateau area connected with the Tibetan Plateau.

How To Reach Gurudongmar Lake

The lake is located at an extreme corner of India. The nearest tourist accommodation at Lachen is about 45 km (3 hours) away. A typical tour starts at Gangtok from where Lachen is about 120 kms (6 hours).

Tour to North Sikkim requires special permit (Inner Line Permit). Only Indian tourists are allowed to visit Gurudongmar Lake. For international tourists, the tour is limited to Chopta Valley a few kilometers before the lake.The first phase of the journey starts at Lachen at 8800 feet and in next 30 kms reaches Thangu at 13000 feet. As one gain altitude one will find the green forests of lower altitude gives way to smaller trees and bushes.

Beyond Thangu is the second phase of travel. The road towards the lake from Thangu passes through the high alpine pastures carpeted with occassional rhododendron bushes. One can get a prized view of rare Sikkim Rhubarb peeping through the bushes in unreachable land or of a herd of mountain sheep grazing in the distant valley. In this area one will find little vegetation or people. Apart from Indian Army, there is no human habitation here. The gravel road through the valley gives a unique view of a barren land. Just before one reach the lake the road takes a right turn and goes uphill to reach the lake.

 

 


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