Lake Gurudongmar is one of the highest lakes in the world, located at an altitude of 17,100m above sea level. This is a freshwater lake located northeast of the Kangchenjunga range in Sikkim.
The lake is located in middle of a cold desert with no vegetation around it at all. Because of its high altitude people usually feel breathlessness at this place. The Indian army, which guards the area, closes the pass which leads to the lake after a particular time due to its harsh and extreme weather.
The water is so still and clear that you can trace every single ripple in it. The lake, which is just a few kilometers away from the Chinese border, freezes during winter.
Historically, the lake ws named after Guru Padmasambhava, who visited the lake in the 8th Century. It is considered to be sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus.
The lake has an area of 118 hectares (290 acres) and its peripheral length is 5.34 kilometers. However, the lake appears small at the place where the devotees offer worship because the larger part of the lake is not visible due to hilly topography obstructing the view. Yaks and blue sheep can be seen here.
There are many folklore attached to this place. It is said that once Guru Nanak was passing by this area and saw people deprived of fresh water so he blessed a portion of lake to never be frozen and whoever takes this water back home will gain valor and strength.
Another story says that Padmasambhava visited the lake and dipped his hand in the lake and since then that part of lake stopped freezing and provides water in times of winter to locals.
Till 2001, there was a dispute going on about this lake. In 1997-98 Sikh soldiers of an Indian army regiment were posted here at the Indo-China border. On learning that their spiritual guru, Guru Nanak had visited and blessed the river, they built a gurudwara on the banks of the river. This action of theirs was detested by the Sikkimese saying that it belongs to them is sacred to their culture.
A committee was set up in order to examine and scrutinize the matter. Documents by Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok, proved that it was a Buddhist religious place and belongs to people of Sikkim.
The beauty of this place is something which cannot be expressed in words and you need to visit to see the real beauty.