The Himalayan state of Sikkim has an astounding number of lakes. In fact, few other popular travel destinations in India can boast of such a great number of beautiful natural water bodies. The sacred Naysol Text refers to as many as 109 holy lakes around the kingdom, some of which are still unexplored, and some are in Nepal. Apart from the more popular lakes like the Gurudongmar lake, Khecheopalri lake and Tsomgo Lake, all of which are believed to carry blessings of Guru Padmasambhava (circa. 8th century AD), a surprising number of other little known lakes characterise the unique landscape of Sikkim. Lakes like Lampokhri, Laxmipokhri, Gyem Pokhri Sikkim Jamlay, Hanspokhri are situated on the western part of the state and remain largely unexplored by the vast multitude of both Indian and international travellers who visit the state every year. High altitude, high difficulty levels of the treks, scarcity of supply along the way due to absence of human settlements at such heights – all of these factors have contributed to the paucity of exposure for these places to the rest of the world. At the same time, the lack of exposure has helped in preserving the untainted serenity and beauty of the places. Untouched by the crowd and the humdrum that often characterises our ‘regular’ hill spots, the nine sacred lakes in western Sikkim with their rare beauty and unbelievably rich mythology await those who love peace, nature and above all love the rewarding toil of trekking.
From times immemorial, much before ‘trekking’ became part of our urban lingo, Himalayan mountain trails have served as important business routes through which silk, wool, salt, silver, gold, tea, paper, musk and cheese were traded from one country to another. Scholars and monks had to walk these strenuous miles for the purpose of education and preaching. Thrilling tales of espionage too are woven around these treacherous trails. However difficult walking these trails may be, these have been the lifelines for people for a thousand years.
Many of the old routes have fallen out of use with time, engulfed by the jungles or just vanished. Some of them still remain in-tact with their ancient glory. Walking along the early mountain trails of the Sikkim-Nepal border with the view of the mighty Kanchenjungha towering over the path in the distance, one truly experiences the standing still of time. The trails that one has to walk to explore the nine sacred lakes in western Sikkim, are not among popular travel routes and thus the serenity and quietude is unmatched. Smile Panda Tours brings you the exclusive “Sikkim Sacred Lakes Trek”, the first of its kind. We are committed to bringing our guests truly unique experiences which is only possible when travelling as or travelling with a local explorer. We use all our mountaineering skills and experiences to unearth uncharted but potential new travel destinations and the Sikkim Sacred Lakes Trek is among many such experiences to come. If you join us for this journey, rest assured it will be a physically and mentally challenging task. But the horizons it will open before your eyes will be totally worth the toil. Let’s take a look at the itinerary for this experience of a lifetime.
Day 1: Delhi/Mumbai to Bagdogra (by plane). Drive to Uttarey (2012 mtr)
Upon arrival meet our representative at the Bagdogra airport and transfer to Uttarey (155 km /6 hrs). En-route visit Kaluk valley. Uttarey is the westernmost corner of Sikkim and very close to the Nepal border. Upon arrival check into your hotel/home-stay. Stay the night at Uttarey.
*If you are coming from Gangtok, it will take around 6 hour to reach here. You will visit Buddha Park and Singshore bridge on your way to Uttarey.
Day 2: Uttarey to Chewabhanjan (3,512 m) - 5 hour
Our trek starts from Uttarey. After breakfast we walk for 20 mins and enter a cardamom plantation and the forest area after that. The climb becomes gradient and you will love this forest walk. After walking for 30 mins we turn left from our main trek route and walk for 20 mins to reach a beautiful waterfall – Mainibas fall. We take a short break here and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. We return to our route trek towards Chitrey after a while. We cross small creeks on the way. The forest grows dense as we go up. We gradually gain altitude and reach the Chitrey security check post, the only human habitat in the area. From Chitrey the trek route becomes steep. As we quickly gain altitude the vegetation also changes. We mostly walk in the Rhododendron forests.
After around 1.5 hours of trek from Chitrey we reach Chewabhanjan – an open area with a border outpost. We will camp here. Being situated on the ridgeline it gets windy here and after sunset it becomes very cold. We spend the evening relaxing at the campsite. Overnight stay in tent.
*At this high altitude campsite we focus more on your acclimatization today.
Day 3: Chewabhanjan to Dhoor, (3,749 m) - 5 hour
Wake up early and experience a beautiful sunrise here. After a hearty breakfast we start our trek to Dhoor – our campsite for day 3. We trek through a gradient trail for 20 min to reach a open area. Gairi is the name of this place. From here the route becomes steep. One has to be careful while walking here because of the loose rocks. We pass a rhododendron forest and reach the ridge of a mountain. From here we take a ridgeline for our walk. It again becomes windy from here. We do zigzags between India and Nepal most of the time from here. Walking along the ridgeline one sees beautiful landscapes of Sikkim on the right and of Nepal on the left. The final 45-minute stretch is steep and challenging climb with strong winds. There is no human settlement in Dhoor except a Nomadic Yak hut. Our campside is a 15-minute walk from here. On a clear day one can see Mt. Kanchenjungha, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Chamlang etc. from here. In the afternoon we explore the Dhoor campsite. Birds like Snow Partridge and Blood Pheasant can be seen here. Overnight stay in tent.
Day 4: Dhoor to Pareymeghu, (3,905 m) - 5 hour
We wake up early in the morning and walk for 15 minutes to reach a sunrise point. As the first rays of the sun touches the mountaintop of Kanchenjungha, the deity mountain of Sikkim looks majestic. Far to the left of Kanchenjunga one can see the Makalu and Lhotse mountains . We return to our campsite after watching the spectacular sunrise. After treating ourselves to a tasty breakfast we start our trek. Today our destination is Pareymeghu which is at 5 hours of walking distance from Dhoor. The trek starts with a steep climb as we traverse through a rocky mountain, cross steep cliffs and reach a Rhododendron zone. During spring time when Rhododendron flowers bloom, this route becomes very colorful. The Kanchenjungha range keeps coming in and going out of sight through the day’s walk. We continue our trek to reach an area above the Rhododendron forest. The landscape widens here and we trek under an open sky.
After walking for an hour, a sudden turn treats you to the spectacular sight of a vast open valley surrounded by mountains. The breathtaking view will definitely stop you here for a few moments. Green grasslands, clouds, a brilliant azure sky and the mountains – make this valley nothing short of a fairyland. This is Pareymeghu, our campsite for today. Except for Mt. Kumbhakarna (7710 m), Kanchenjungha and the other Himalayan peaks aren’t visible from here. One has to walk for 20 minutes to reach a high spot to see this Mt. Kumbhakarna. There are few nomadic huts at Pareymeghu. From spring to early winter the nomadic Yakherders lives here and their Yaks graze in this grassland. We relax in the afternoon enjoying the view of Pareymeghu. Evening will be cold here as it becomes windy after sunset. Overnight stay in tent.
Day 5: Pareymeghu to Lampokhri, (4,297 m) - 5 hour
From day 5 the views become all the more exciting. We start our trek after breakfast. We start from Pareymeghu and take the only trail towards the North. Keeping a stream on the left side we walk continuously on the gradient trail. This river acts as the border between India and Nepal. The mountains on the other side of the river are in Nepal and our present trekking route is in India. You would definitely enjoy walking this trail as most of the time you would be surrounded by mountains. After 2 hours of trek from Pareymeghu we cross a frozen river and reach a flat open area, Ghoomney.
From Ghoomney we go down and cross the river. The route again becomes gradient from here. Walking upward you will see Mt. Makalu on the left side. This view will surely sweep away all the fatigue and ease your spirits. In the meantime you could see a lake on the right – Hans Pokhri, the first lake of our “Sacred Lakes Trek”. You can see another small waterbody just beside the route, that’s Kanchi pokhri. We rest here for a while before we walk towards Lampokhri- our campsite for the day. We leave Kanchi pokhri behind and start walking towards Lampokhri. After walking for 30 minutes on a gradient path, we see the great Lampokhri lake. The beauty of this lake will surely spellbind you. Beyond the lake, you can see a rocky mountain, that’s Dafey Bhir. We camp just by the lake and you will be amazed to see the view of the valley from here. We explore the lake in the afternoon. Evening will be cold as Mercury often drops to below zero degree here. Overnight stay in tent.
Day 6: Lampokhri to Laxmipokhri exploration day.
Wake up early and enjoy a spectacular morning from here. After breakfast we go to explore Laxmipokhri- one of the holiest lakes in this region. The trek starts with a steep climb as we cross Dafey Bhir La (4650 mtr), the highest mountain pass of this trek route. The last stretch before Dafey Bhir La is a bit treacherous owing to loose rocks and stones. Once you reach the top give yourself some time to ease your breathing; you are now at an altitude of 4650 meter and the air is considerably thin here. From here the route diverges ; the trail to the right goes to Gomathang plateau. We will take a left turn and walk towards Laxmipokhri. The beautiful Siniolchu mountain can be seen from here and of course the unforgettable Lampokhri. The first 20 minutes of walking on this trail will have restricted views before opening up the view to the grand sight of Kanchenjungha massif, Pandim, Kumbhakarna, Simbho, Tenchengkhang, Jupono and many other peaks. This is the most climactic moment of the Sikkim Sacred Lakes Trek, the raison d’etre if you will. We will just let you be with the sights for a while, to treat yourself to the sheer magnitude of the great Himalayan experience.
After this sublime sight we continue our walk towards Laxmipokhri. We go downward from this point cross Sikkim Jamle (twin) lakes. Here you have the full view of Mt. Kanchenjungha, mirrored in the crystal lake water – the rare sight in itself. From Sikkim Jamley Lake we climb uphill again to reach a point from where the Laxmipokhri comes into view. We walk 30 minutes downhill to reach the lake. After exploring the lake we come back to our campsite and spend the rest at leisure. Overnight stay in tent.
Day 7: Lampokhri to Dungdam (3,512 m) 5 hour
We start our trek from Lampokhri after breakfast. Today it will be downhill walk all through. We cross a small waterbody name Gwyem pokhri. After walking for 30 mins the barren landscapes ends and we enter into Rhododendron forests. In spring this route is ablaze with nature’s vibrant colors and the experience of walking becomes all the more refreshing. Far to the right, you glance back at the mountains we passed at Ghoomney campsite. The chirping of birds makes this walk very pleasant.
After walking for 2 hrs the vegetation changes and bigger trees begin to prevail. After walking for some 1 hr we see a small open area and an abandoned hut. We rest here for a while before we move towards our campsite. Walking in this forest will be so adventurous. This part of the forest is moist and foggy. Pine and Rhododendron trees are in plenty here. Our Dungdam campsite is surrounded by thick vegetation and we camp at a small opening. We spend the evening at leisure. Although we have lost altitude considerably from our last campsite, the nights will be cold here. Overnight stay in tent.
Day 8: Dungdam to Chauri trek. (2,400 m) - 5 hour
After a hearty breakfast we start our trek towards a beautiful village Chauri. You’d notice that this is the first human settlement since we set out on our journey. We have a continuous descent today most of the time. The whole day we walk through dense forests. The forest is mostly foggy and quite mysterious. The walk through light and darkness, the sights and sounds is very thrilling. With the drop in altitude the vegetation also changes and we enter into dense Malingo forest. Malingo is a special type of bamboo that grows at this heights. The dense Malingo forest is also a peaceful home to endangered Red Panda. The trek route also becomes a bit risky here as you have to walk on wet muddy soil. The bamboo forest gives way to an open area. Another 30 min steep descent from here and we find a mountain stream. Doban is the name of this place. There is a hanging bridge which we have to cross. Our campsite is around 1 hr trek from here.
We trek up and down to reach a beautiful small village- Chauri which is our stop for today. Only few families live in this hamlet and the quiet of the place offers peace to its visitors. It will be our last night of camping. We spend the evening interacting with local villagers. You will be introduced to their culture and our guide will give you a brief idea about their daily lives. The simple lifestyle and warm hospitality of the villagers will touch your heart. Overnight stay in tent.
Day 9: Chauri village to Nambu trek. 4 hrs. Drive to Darap/Pelling (2,150 m) - 1.5 hrs.
The morning at Chauri village starts in an energetic way. With the chirping of birds and mooing of cows, you find yourself in an ideal countryside. After breakfast we start our walk from here to Nambu where our trek will be completed. The trek start with a gradient climb for 15 min and then we go downwards. You can see cardamom plantation again which means we are getting closer to the human settlements. After descending for an hour we cross a stream. The steep descent ends here.
We walk along a mountain river on our left. Rimbi khola is the name of the river. Slowly we can see small settlements. The road also becomes wider. The 9 day long trek coming to an end. We finish our trek at Nambu, a small village where our vehicle will be waiting for us. You will be transferred to your homestay/hotel in Darap/Pelling from here. Spend the rest of the time at leisure.
Day 10: Darap/Pelling to onward journey.
Wake up and enjoy a beautiful morning from your room. You may relax the whole day or go for a walk to nearby sights or if you wish, we transfer you to Bagdogra airport/ Gangtok/ Bhutan for onward journey. Your trip comes to a smiling end!
- All airport pick up and drop/Your transportation to reach at the base and from Darap/Pelling.
- Day 1st and day 9th accommodation in a village homestay.
- All tent accommodation during the trek.
- High quality sleeping bags and mattresses.
- All meals. (Day 1st dinner to day 10th breakfast)
- Trek end point to Darap/Pelling transportation.
- Morning and evening Tea with snacks.
- Highly experienced local mountain guide for the trek.
- Support staff for the trek.
- All expenses for guide and support staff.
- All forest department fees. (Excluding still and video camera charge)
*Note: Freshly prepared nutritious meals will be provided during the trek. You will have Indian and Nepali cuisines for your lunch and dinner mostly.
- Any personal nature of expenses such as telephone calls, battery recharge, shopping, extra porter hire to carry your backpack, beverage, laundry etc.
- Your travel insurance.
- Any insurance that covers medical or emergency evacuation, lost and theft expenses etc.
- Clients personal gear for the trek.
- Additional cost which may arise due to landslides, bad weather condition, itinerary modification keeping safety in concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability, strikes, road blockage or any other reason which is out of our hands.
- Tips for support staff. (Tipping isn’t mandatory)
- Anything that isn’t in the include list.
Things to carry:
- Comfortable and warm clothes.
- Good backpack (50-60 L). If you want to offload your backpack then carry a daysack(20 L).
- Good quality trekking shoes, slippers and extra pair of socks.
- Rain Jacket/Poncho.
- First aid kit and basic medication (if any).
- Sunscreen lotion or any other skin moisturizers.
- Water bottles, backpack and energy bars/snacks.
- A pair of sunglasses.
- Headlamp (with spare batteries).
- Personal toiletries.
- Climatic conditions in the high altitude zone is different from the plains; take adequate time to get acclimatized to high altitudes.
- Pay attention to your guide to enjoy a safe and sound trekking experience.
- Do not consume alcohol or any other intoxicants during the trek.
- During night if you have to go outside of your tent then inform your tent mate or guide.
- Carry basic medications and a first-aid kit during the trek.
- It’s our responsibility to keep the nature clean. Please do not encourage littering the local places or campsites.
- While visiting any religious sites do not hurt the local sentiment and maintain quietness.
- You can offload your backpack for the whole trek at an additional cost.
- Tipping is not mandatory. It’s up to your satisfaction.
Frequently Asked Question
What is the best season for Sikkim Sacred Lakes trek?
You can visit almost anytime in a year except the Monsoon (Jun 15 – Sep 15) and Winter (December-Mar) but to be specific there are 2 best seasons for the Sacred Lakes trek. 1) The Spring season starting from April to mid July. You can see beautiful Rhododendron, Magnoliya flowers blooming in the forest. Many species of birds can also be seen this time.
2) The post monsoon season which starts from mid September to December. The sky remains clear most of the days and you get to see breathtaking view of the Himalayan peaks.
The Winter season stats here from December and there are few areas where ice forms to make the route technical. During this time Yaks can’t go so the only Alpine style way one can do this trek. It becomes very challenging during this time and only experts trekkers can test their endurance here during that time.
Is there any chance of getting snow?
From October last week the higher ridges starts getting snowfall which lasts till May. From December second week due to snowfall the route becomes very challenging.
What about the wildlife?
Sikkim Sacred Lakes Trek falls in Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and Khangchendzonga National Park which are famous for rich flora and fauna. The large animals are Asiatic black bear and Common Leopard in the National Park however they are very less seen in the trek routes and stay in the low altitude. Birds like Himalayan monal, snow patridge, blood phesant are often seen here.
Animals like Wild sheep, Snow leopard, Tibetan fox, Himalayan Marmot have been seen by our experienced Yakman in the past days. No wildlife attack on trekkers have been recorded so far. But it’s not advisable to go for unguided walks in the National Park.
Tell me about the difficulty of this trek?
The level of difficulty for the Sikkim Sacred Lakes Trek is DIFFICULT with the mixed sections of steep and gradual ascents and the trail passing through the alpine trees and forest covers. The remoteness of the trek makes it difficult and one must have previous multidays high altitude trekking experience before coming for this trek.
What about the food and drinking water during this trek?
Nutritious veg meals along with egg dishes and safe drinking water will be provided during the trek. You will have Indian and Nepali cuisines in your lunch and dinner mostly.
Can you tell me which type of shoes should I carry for this trek?
Please do not carry the normal sports shoes. As you need good traction during the trek a pair of good trekking shoes are a recommended choice.
Tell me about the clothing and equipments needed for this trek.
Remember the temperature will be cold throughout the trek with the possibilities of rain. We highly recommend that you carry Down jacket, Thermal inner wear, Balaclava, Gloves, Raincoat/Poncho etc. It will be sub-zero condition at the nights from Dhoor camsite, prepare accordingly. Use layers for better insulation and don’t wear tight clothes. If you have more questions then let us know. We will be happy to assist you.