Himalayan Travelogues, Sikh History, Trips to North East India

Trip to Sikkim 07-11 May, 2017 Day two in North Sikkim – Gurdongmar and beyond

A friend of mine had arranged my stay at Paigong (near Chungthang), which is at 9000+ feet.  Got up early and started at 7.30 am, stopped at Lachen, a small town, to have tea etc at Ingredient Restro Bar and then moved on to Gurdongmar, reached at 12.30pm.

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First glimpse – seen from my Guest House
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A stand-alone home in lap of nature
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Colours of Mother-Nature

 

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Had a break at Ingredient Restro Bar at Lachen, for tea and snacks
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Please don’t get startled, I am a non-smoker and this is only for photo-op!
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Bikers on their way back from Gurdongmar Lake

I was inspired by my family friend Damanjit Kaur and her husband Sd Amarjeet Singh (who was to go to these places in last week of May, 2017) to visit this place, where Guru Nanak ji stayed for a while during his return from Tibet. He touched his walking stick (daang in Punjabi language), which made water of this lake sweet. This is what gave this place its name – Guru Dang Mar (Guru Hit with stick) or Gurdongmar in local lingo. Other fable is about Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche who hailed from Swat region (now in Pakistan), came here on his way back from Tibet and touched part of the frozen lake, which never froze even during winters thus providing continuous supply of water to locals. Therefore, this holy temple has both – place of worship for Sikhs (Guru Granth Sahib ji) and Statue of Guru Rinpoche. I prayed to both of them as my mark of respect.

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Entrance to place of worship at Gurdongmar Lake
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Plaques of different regiments on boundary wall of this Temple
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Oops – forgot to cover my head! Guru Granth Sahib is to my left and Lord Budhha and scriptures on my right.

There was not a single soul except few sparrows, large sized mosquitoes (near lake). Trekked/walked to the far end from the temple to catch a glimpse of source or this lake and take some stunning photos. Oxygen level was too low, my driver did not even step near the lake and was surprised to see an “oldie” walking nearly two kilometers in such environment. I was feeling too dizzy while climbing stairs. As this place is called “heavenly”, I felt like getting very close to “Heaven” at one point of time, nearly lost my balance due to lack of oxygen, while climbing back towards the temple.

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Sparrow lunges forward to a sortie, looking for food
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This one has a mouthful of mosquitoes
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Gurdongmar Lake – source of Teesta River
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Notice – Please do not throw garbage in this holy lake
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Temple seen from Lake side
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Climbed up nearly 50 steps, had to stop few times to catch breath…

Gurdongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world and second highest in India @ 17.5K ft and is very close to Indo-China Border, one has to get Entry Permit or “Pass” from Department of Home, Government of Sikkim.  There are several lakes in this area but all others are having salty water. Tso or Cho Lhamo is the highest in India and is located about 7-8 Kms north of Gurdongmar Lake.  Even ITBP/ Indian Army units come to carry their water supplies from Gurdongmar Lake.

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Tso or Cho Lhamo Lake – this is one of the many salt water lakes around Gurdongmar Lake, is also the highest lake in India.

We went upto the last point of metaled road.  Met an officer at ITBP post, who was kind enough to offer us hot water, tea and biscuits. Can never forget hospitality of ITBP, with whom I spent nearly four months in 1984 (before joining SBI), for my Judo Black Belt test. He very politely asked us to turn back as it was not allowed beyond that point and we returned immediately.

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On my way to the farthest motorable point
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Met a gentleman and shared old memories of my college days

 

Sighted groups of deer, marmots and sheep, on our way back.  Met a youngster, who was doing a good business of fragrant wild herbs, which are used by Budhhists as incense sticks.

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Murmot is a giant squirrel, found in Himalayas
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Herd of deer grazing in this remote area
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Ma sheep with her baby, on way back home?
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With a young entrepreneur
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This is the wild plants or herbs used as incense sticks by locals

Saw few picturesque places on my way  back to Lachung, where I stayed overnight.

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Hanging bridge on Teesta River
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Found a comfortable place to sleep in Hotel Silverline
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Best shot of the day – Contrasting terrains in one frame!

 

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