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My Experience about Guru Dongmar Gurdwara


Jul 22, 2023
My Experience about Guru Dongmar Gurdwara

Col Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

I was posted in Sikkim in 1970-1971 AD. I visited Gurdwara Chungthang in 1970 and paid my obeisance. I was told there that Guru Nanak also visited Gurudongmar and other places in Sikkim and adjoining areas. I started doing research on H=Guru Nanak’s travels to Himalayas. I was again deployed in Sikkim from 1987 to 1992 AD and I was the Battery Commander at the hill adjoining Guru Dongmar.

The northern state of Sikkim, adjacent to Siliguri (Bengal), was our new work-ground. I got the opportunity to live and visit this territory in 1970-71 and again in 1987-1992. Sikkim is a small state of India in the lap of the Himalayas, sandwiched between Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and North Bengal. I started my research about Gurdwaras of Sikkim in the year 1987, during which I traveled to remote areas of Sikkim. In my discussion with the Director of the Indian Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok,he spoke in great detail about the Guru's journey to Tibet and Sikkim. By this time I had collected books and articles on Guru Nanak’s visit to this region as written by Giani Gian Singh, Khazan Singh, Giani Lal Singh, Major NS Ishar, Mr. Surinder Singh IDSA Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, Dr. Ganda Singh, Dr. Harbans Singh, Dr. Surinder Singh Kohli (Travels of Guru Nanak, Punjab Uni, 1969, 1978 reprint) showed the books and articles of Dr. Trilchan Singh, etc. and showed the material to him and he agreed that he has the knowledge of Guru Ji's Nanak’ journey here but he did not have those details. I gave photocopies of these to hm. He expressed his desire to go to Chungthang, Gurudongmar and other areas connedcted with Guru Nanak himself to get more knowledge about Guruji.

He was very happy to hear my plan to go to Giaong Plato and Gurudangmar Lake in North Sikkim the next day, but it was not possible for him to go with me. Next day, having paid my obeisance at Chungthang and having a vak (the opening hymn) from Sri guru Granth sahib in the Gurdwara we reached Lachen where we had to stay for acclimatization for a week. There I met the Lama of Lachen and interviewed him on Guru Nanak’s visit. (The interview is attached as annexure). In Lachen Gompha he showed my three signs of Guru Nanak’s visit. These were a gown, a kamandal and and fottprints of the Guru . These were well preserved.



1.Guru Nanak’s Kamandal 2, Robe offered to Guru Nanak’s by the local king.


3.Guru Nanak’s footprints on stone. All these relics are at Lachin which were shown to the Sikh devotee till recently but are not being shown now.

About Guru Nanak, the Lachen Lama told me that the shepherds in Gurudoang mar area approached the Guru and requested him to relieve them of their troubles. Their first problem was lack of water due to freezing of water in winter and the second problem was low air due to altitude and not being able to give birth to children. Guru Nanak Sahib used to keep a long staff with him during his journey to the mountains. While climbing the mountains, a pole or a stick is very important for walking on the fresh snow, because on the fresh snow, a person falls into a trap from which support is needed to get out. By putting weight on this stick, a drowned man can pull himself out of the snow. Even while going uphill, this dong can be of great help, with the help of which one gets support in going up and down. Whenever you go to Hem Kunt Sahib or any other mountain, you must take a dong with you. Even Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji would have held the stick (Daang) in his right hand. Guru Nanak and his companions reached the shore of the lake in search of water. The Yak graziers there requested that the during winter the water get frozen and they do not get water. They must be helped with regular water. The lake there was an icy plain on which one could easily walk. Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji tested the lake. All the cowherds eagerly stood in front of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Nanak Dev ji buried the stick directly in the snow of the lake after testing at one place. Wow! Clear, clean, pure water came out of the ground. The shepherds started dancing in happiness and were overwhelmed by the charisma of Guruji. They were convinced that this great man must be an angel sent by God, who has access to God. Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji gave them the knowledge of the joy and suffering given by Him by living in the will of God. A shepherd requested that their families are not increasing. On the mountains, the ability of men to produce children is much reduced, due to which their children are very few. Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji said that whoever will drink the water of this lake will be filled with power of immense purity. The companions of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji named this lake Guru Dangmar. Guru ji instructed that if you maintain the purity of this lake, you will enjoy its gifts. If it is defiled, the power will be lost from its water. After spending a few days in the shepherds' huts, Sri Guru Nanak Dev proceeded towards Thangu through Giagang Plateau. From that day that lake was named Guru-Dangmar.

The interview with the Lachen Lama was published in my book the amazing travels of Guru Nanak. It is attached. The Lama confirmed bout Guru Nanak’s visit to Chungthang, Lachen, Gurudongmar and other places as given in the interview. From Lachen, I along with my troops proceeded to Guru Dangmar Lake passing through Thangu; on the bumpy road of stones and passing through the ice frozen in the Teesta occasionally. At Thanggu I came across the intelligence Officer of India who gave me more details o guru Nanak’s visit to this area and confirming Guru Nanak’s visit to Guru dongmar. This interview is also attached. It was also published in my book

Images of Guru Dongmar in 1987 as seen by Col Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal hen a Major

It also looks like a place where water does not freeze throughout the year. After traveling to Giagang valley, when we reached the shore of this sacred lake, part of it was covered with snow. At one side was the Gurdwara. I bowed to Nishan Sahib outside and entered the Gudwara paying obeisance to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. I read out a hymn from Sri Guru Granth Sahib and proceeded to have a feel of the magnanimous lake. It were the months of April-May 1987 when we journeyed to Gurudongmar.

1.Gurdwara Gurudangmar in 1987 as seen by Col Dr DS Grewal

In some parts, the pure blue water sparkled, including the snowy peaks on the sides. Shadow of hills presented a divine sight. First, a tip from this holy lake was touched with the lips. So cold and powerful water! The eyes opened. Splashing on my face, I thought why not take a bath in this holy water, but then with the thought that if i bathed in this holy water it would become impure, I abandoned the intention of taking a bath. A unique joy, a unique intoxication came over me and my mouth kept saying ‘Blessed Nirankar, Dhan Nirankar. These moments by the grace of God, are forever unforgettable. I circumambulated the entire lake which was about three kilometers in radius. Then I sat for some time and watched the glories of the donor. As time was short and for the sake of fulfilling the next responsibility, we had to go uphill on the hill above the lake where I had to establish my post. To reach the top was another steep climb of about 2000 feet. The sip from the water of the lake gave such immense energy that we reached the top of the mountain in just two and a half hours which otherwise could have taken 4-5 hours for an ordinary person to climb. The area around this hill gave a good observation into the Chinese area hence an ideal site for an Observation post as well as Battery Commander’s post with the battalion commander. The possible approach of the enemy could be prevented by sight and shelling. It was a good vantage point from which the routes leading to both Giagang Plateau and Lachung Valley could be well looked after. Having established this outpost as a permanent outpost, we returned to the lake during day time. It took us hardly an hour to reach down After having a sip of holy water of this lake again we started back. The surprising thing is that after drinking this water we did not feel hungry whole day and our energies remained intact.

When we came to our place in Paltan, in the evening our brigade commander Brigadier Sachdev talked to us about Guru dongmar. He was curious about this lake and had a plan to develop the Gurdwara Sahib in the memory of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji on this lake. It was also necessary to build a small bathing place in which the pilgrims could bathe so that the water of the lake would not be impure. On the second day, there was another opportunity to visit that lake with Brigadier Sachdeva Sahib. I was given the duty to assess expenses which I did and the amount was collected next day. We started with local material and some material was asked from down below. Brigadier Sachdev used to give advice on how to prepare Gurdwara Sahib and bath houses at this place. Other Sikh officers and men from Punjab regiment also joined and it was decided that the hill above the lake would be having one comoany strengrth and will help build the Gurdwara on voluntary basis. Punjab Paltan and my OP post there completed the remaining construction well in time before we were ordered to go down due to forthcoming winter. This was done considering the importance of that mountain. I used to do my duty on that peak and continued to participate in the construction of the Gurdwara when was spared for my sewa. I rolled on snow with jerry canes and it hardly took less than an hour though going back was tough. The lake was then called Guru donmar lake and the route upto the lake was known as Guru Nanak Marg. A road was also built up to Gurdwara Sahib. As the army grew in Plato, the number of pilgrims coming up the lake increased..

Tea and water supplies were also placed in this Gurdwara Sahib so that the pilgrims could keep themselves warm here during the cold weather. I remember that to go up the mountain, I used to drink only one drop of the water of this holy lake and did not take anything else for the whole day, but the power remained intact in me. Neither Infirmity befell me, nor did I ever found the life-threatening task of climbing a hill difficult. The fame of this sacred lake spread throughout the army. The holy water started to be carried first in bottles and then in jerry cans and pilgrims also started taking bath in the lake due to which this lake. Sanctity was threatened. More and more, the power of the water of this lake was propagated to such an extent that drivers put a drop of water in their radiator and believe that the water in the radiator does not freeze even in minus thirty degree temperature.

Later on more extensions of the Gurdwara were carried out under the aegis of Major Geneeral Birndra and Brig Charanjit Singh in 1997

Stone laying by Major Gen Bindra and 4. Brig Charanjit Singh in 1997

In the summer, a military bus called the Gurudangmar Express ran from Gurudangmar Giagang Lake to Gangtok to bring soldiers on duty. It was the charisma of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji to make the impossible possible at the height of eighteen thousand feet. It was possible only because of God’s grace.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Palki as seen by SGPC team in 2015 8. A statue of Buddha Close to Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurdwara.

The Gurdwara was solely built by funds from Sikhs which included the soldiers and road workers alike. No army unit funds were ever used for the Gurdwara. Hence to say that it was an army unit gurdwara and not Historic Gurdwara is a fallacy. It was Major General Dubey who conspiratorially tried to hand over the Gurudwara first to Hindus and then to Lamas but Sikhs never gave the control and Sri guru Granth sahib and Nishan sahib continued to be there till 2015 when I visited with the SGPC team. I have been visiting the Gurdwara while in that operational area from 1987 to 1992 and later on to later on the family of Harbhajan Singh Setia along with other pilgrim made a regular tri each year to Gurudongmar. I also took SGPC Delegation in 2015 AD to hand over Gurdwara to them since it was difficult with me to maintain it with increasing age and they held regular prayers. It was a shock hen one SDM of Chungthang started propaganda against Sikhs during border crisis and used his official position to ban Sikhs from going to Gurdongmar and then stealthily got all the material of Gurdwara removed with the help of new Lachen Lama under a scheme.

Gurdwara remains shut since the entire Sikkim Government specially the CM Sikkim favored the Tibetan Refugees on false ground even though plethora of material evidence exists bout Guru Nanak's visit to the place because some Sikhs worked against the Gurdwara for their own benefits. The signs of Sikhism having been deliberately removed from there now. Matter has to be fought with a concerted and collective effort and these self seeking Sikhs have to remain aloof if the case is to be in their favour.


Aug 6, 2023
Toronto Canada
Wow what a great read!! Thank you for sharing!!

Salute to you and the team!!
Efforts in preserving the water quality, making showers and a Gudwara is heart touching!!

Even just hearing of solders with such a pure hearts is absolutely priceless.
Such pure hearted efforts in the foreign western world is non existent due to such demonic culture taking over the masses, in foreign.

Thank you for sharing!

I also heard thats theres a Chinese city named after Guru Nanak Dev Maharaj. Called Nanajing!

I have also heard of a similar story in Uganda Africa, where the local lake is sacred and not open to Visitors being blessed by a holy man not of there kind. They even call the town
Town in Uganda

Named after Guru Nanak Maharaj!! After hearing your experience in Guru Dongmar I can see why visitors are not aloud to visit The sacred lake in Uganda!



Jul 22, 2023
You are right in your observations. My books Amazing travels of Guru Nanak and 18 booklets on Guru Nanak travels to all foreign countries have been published in large number by SGPC and are available with them.
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