Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan - Where our bikes witnessed Ice on road, snowfall, etc.


Vroooom goes my darling


Vroooom goes my darling
Part-6 : Day-6 : Tangu - Gurudongmar - Tangu - Lachen

Day-6 : Tangu - Gurudongmar - Tangu - Lachen

We woke up at around 6am and had hot tea and maggi. It was the day, when we had to visit the most beautiful destination in our ride - Gurudongmar Lake. Sun was just rising at the horizon and we could see beautiful sun rays falling on the snow capped mountains around us.. But nothing else could be more beautiful than all our 4 bikes covered with thick layers of snow! It was like 4 white bikes, entirely covered in snow! Our bikes would have been shivering inside!

It was such a pleasant morning indeed!

After clearing some parts of snow, we started to ride. Pulsar and the thunderbird took a few minutes to start up. But the CBR started immediately on pressing the ignition button!

It was very cold out there and after riding for 5 minutes, the roads were covered with layers of ice as well. There was literally no grip at all. Especially, in the CBR, which is infamous because of the bad grip of the ContiGo tyres, we had to struggle a lot. And we were at a certain height as well. At one side of the road, there was literally nothing. If we slipped badly, there were high chances of falling off those cliffs easily! We tried to ride in such bad conditions for another 10 mins.

The bikes were skidding and slipping badly, and we were struggling to cope with it. The stagnant water at the side of the roads were all frozen. The roads were still covered with thick layers of ice, which made it impossible to ride further. We started to lose hopes and stopped to decide how to proceed. When all hopes were getting drained out, came the highly spirited Kolkata Riders! :D

They were in incredibly high spirits to ride, even though they were facing same issues. One of them even fell down. Still they said, no matter what, they would be riding till Gurudongmar! The positive energy got transferred into us, and we started to ride, no matter what! We started to ride again for 15-20 mins, doing numerous wheel burns and skidding stunts, unintentionally! :p Now we faced one more challenge.. We started getting inclined roads! Whenever we stopped to move up, even if we applied brakes before releasing clutch, the bike was skidding backwards! And when we released clutch, nothing but a wheel spin used to happen.

The bikes, especially CBR because of its continental tyres, were refusing to move forward! Then we came across another army camp. There we met some Kannada folks as well. They asked us to wait for sometime. Once the sun rays fall on the road, the ice would be cleared. But still, we were asking all the taxis coming in the way whether they could take us to Gurudongmar and drop us back. But all of them were filled up already. Again we were served some hot fruit juices, chocolates and tea in the camp. After some time, we then started to ride again. Still the conditions were like that. But somehow after keeping our cool, we managed to pass all those ice layers withing 20-25 minutes, and came to normal roads! (Normal roads - Bad roads without Ice layers! :p)

From here onwards, the landscape started to change. It was more of plain lands everywhere, with distant mountains. More or less like More Plains of Ladakh. The roads had many rocks all the way. It was a bumpy ride here onwards for the next 2 hours almost.

After taking some snaps on the way, we finally reached the Second most highest lake of India - Gurudongmar Lake! It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen! What a place. A half frozen lake, next to huge snow capped mountains. It is easily one of the most beautiful places in India, which many haven't heard about.

We were already in love with Sikkim, and this increased it by many folds. It was at an altitude of 17,100 ft. So there was very less oxygen. We took a walk from the parking lot till the end of the lake, and it was very tiring! We took as many photos as we could in that altitude, and came back to the parking lot. When we were about to leave, our buddies, Kolkata riders reached there. We took some photos with them as well.

Actually, there is a lake called Cholamu or Tso Lamu, which is India's highest lake! But sadly it falls very near to China border and we need permits to go there, which are not provided to civilians. We could see the road leading to Cholamu, but couldn't risk entering there without permits, as it was a sensitive area. We could see the army bunkers in the mountains around us. Some army folks there told us that China starts right after those mountains. We were excited to hear that we were so nearer to the border. People usually come to Gurudongmar in Taxis. We were glad that only a few come here in bikes, and we were one among them!

It was time for us to leave and ride back as far as possible. Our target was to ride till Mangan, which was around 120 kms away. it would take at least 6 more hours. We rode fast all the way. And at noon, all those ice covered roads were looking like normal roads only and we could do nothing but feel nostalgic about the same roads which acted as a huge challenge just a few hours ago. We rode back till Tangu and had our lunch there. It was already around 3.30 pm by then. In these areas, after 2 in the afternoon, it starts getting very cold and usually not advisable to ride much. However, we left and were riding at a pretty good pace. The pulsar and classic were together. I had given my CBR to a friend and he was coming with the Thunderbird. After riding for around 20 25 mins, we could not see any bikes following us. Only pulsar and classic were together. So we stopped there and waited. We waited, waited, waited and there came no bikes at all! And of course, we didn't have mobile network over there. After 30 minutes, one of us decided to go back and check what happened, while the other 2 waited, as there was not much petrol also left to go back in both the bikes! Me and one more guy were waiting for another 30 minutes. It was getting very cold and chances of rain was also there.

We were hoping all were fine and nothing bad happened. An army jeep passed by us, and the guy inside it told that the thunderbird was not starting at all, and so they were still trying to fix it. After some time the guy who went back, came back to us and told that the other 2 guys would stay back at Tangu, trying to fix the bike and if not, they would tow it the next day. they would somehow call us and so we had to go stay at a place where we get network. They would meet us at Gangtok the next day. So the 3 of us started to ride and reached Lachen and stayed there, as we had good network. Here, the 3 of us took a good bath and slept at a pretty decent lodge. But we knew how hard it would be for those other two, to stay back in that cold place. We went to sleep, hoping that everything would be fine the next day!


Re: Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan - Where our bikes witnessed Ice on road, snowfall, etc

lovely lovely pics, Gurudongmar Lak pic is magical

dr. afzal bunglowala

Active Member
Re: Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan - Where our bikes witnessed Ice on road, snowfall, etc

Nice updates of Gurudongmar lake Yashwant. Feeling nostalgic, as I drove on the same roads last year. :D