Gurudongma Tso - blessed by Guru Rinpoche

As per Denjong Nye-Yig [The Pilgrim's Guide to The Hidden Land of Sikkim, by Jigme Pawo, reincarnation of Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo] and Nay-Sol texts, Gurudongma Tso/Lake, located at an altitude of about 17,000 feet within the Lachen Dzumsa area in North District, Sikkim, is one of the 108 'Tso-Chen' or major holy lakes of Denjong [Sikkim] believed to be abodes of local guardian deities. The holy lake is located close to Mt Khangchen Gyao, also considered sacred by the locals.

During the eighth century AD, Guru Padmasambhava, also referred to by Buddhists as Guru Rinpoche, hailing from the Swat region in present-day northwest Pakistan, visited Tibet at the invitation of the Tibetan emperor Trisong Deutsen and introduced the practice of Tantric Buddhism to the Tibetans.

On his way back from Tibet, Guru Rinpoche is believed to have visited Sikkim and Gurudongma Tso was probably the first major landmark that the Guru came across upon his entry into the fabled hidden land of 'Denjong/Demojong'. The word 'Dongma Shab Chakpa' refers to his visit to this place. He recognized the lake as a part of Dorje Nyima/Chorten Nyima, a sacred place of worship in northern Sikkim.

It is believed that the Guru, in order to provide drinking water to the local people during winter when the lake freezes, placed his hands on a part of the lake, which miraculously stopped freezing during winter, thereby providing drinking water to the locals. Since then, the water of the lake is considered sacred.

Recognizing the auspicious omens in the lake, Guru Rinpoche saw them as propitious and favorable signs welcoming his entry into the land of Denjong/Demojong. Devotees believe that by offering prayers at the holy lake, one can be blessed with the birth of a child.

[The writer is currently posted as Sub Divisional Magistrate, Chungthang, North Sikkim]