Friday, October 1, 2010

Which way? To and from Holy Lake.

Kechopari Lake
I really enjoy traveling with my traveling mates, but I sometimes it is great to hike on your own. I decided to go to Kechopari Lake, which is holly lake. The road distance between Pelling and Kechopari Lake is 27 kilometers and I wanted to hitchhike in one direction and trek in the other. There were also some significant trekking shortcuts but there was a problem to find them.... In Sikkim it is impossible to buy any kind of the trekking map, non of the route is marked. So the only possibility is to constantly ask local people that one meet on the way, hopefully next to the crossroad. The problem is that local people here... seems not to hike so much like the local people in Ladakh, so sometimes they do not know the trekking shortcuts, and they do not have any clue what is the distance.

I wake up early in the morning and before 7 o'clock I was on my way. I planed to get any kind of the lift to the lake but unfortunately in the morning all cars (meaning 10 in total) were going in the opposite direction and I was told that there will be vehicles going to Kechopari Lake but in the afternoon. Finally, I manage to reach my destination in 5h getting two short lifts for 5km and finding few of the mysterious shortcuts.

Butterflies, are they also picking up
leaves from the water surface?
The lake itself is quite amazing. Despite that it is surrounded by trees there is actually no leaves on the water surface. It is said that if the leave drops on the water it is picked up by a bird immediately.
I did not perform the best experiment to prove it or not, my observations were only single time measurement, not a proper time laps. I have seen leaves falling from the trees and I have seen birds around and I have not seen leaves on the water surface. Around the lake I have also seen many different beautiful butterflies, so I can not exclude that those butterflies are helping birds to pick up the leaves.

I really enjoyed the walk around the lake but I still wanted to get back to Pelling and I knew that all the vehicles would be going again in the opposite direction to mine. I knew that I could always find a home-stay on the way, but I wanted to try to get back.

Young monk.
I departure around 13.30 and I had only three hours before the sun set so I was really counting on the possibility to hitchhike. After 45 min the first car was coming in my direction and indeed he gave me a lift for 7km but he also told me about the possibility to make huge shortcut by completely different bridge. One just had to go down very steep to the river and then just climb up to Peling. Since I still had almost two hours before the sun set, and the Indian guy told me that the way would take me one hour, I decided to go for it. I managed to find a very small path to the bridge. The path was hardly visible, so I was a bit worry about the quality of the bridge. Surprisingly the bridge was a very solid one and only two months old.... but the road leading to and from the bridge was very confusing path that surprisingly none is using and the nature is overtaking it.
On the way up from the bridge I met few locals... and most of their time estimation about me getting to Peling were very misleading. After 70 minutes of my hike I was said that I still have one hour to Peling, after 90 minutes of hike I had only 45 minutes left according to another local person, but after 100 minutes of hike.... I still had 1 hour to Peling.
It was already getting dark, but in the same time unexpectedly I reached Peling. I was very happy.


  1. Hello people,
    be wise if you want to go to this lake. A woman who runs a small restaurant and who has rooms gave me veg momos with some drugs inside and I had a night of hell, went to the hospital after SIX hours because no jeeps available and had to be there the whole night with wash of bowls and a big fear :( not at all a safe place to visit!

  2. I did the same hike back in 1992. Walked all the way there from Pelling and then hitch-hiked 2/3 of the way back. I was also solo. Reading this entry brought me back to that wonderful three day visit. I was treated warmly by everyone in the village near the lake. Wonderful people, kind, humble and generous. Very safe I would say, although I will not discount the above bad experience. Thanks for the post.