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