Tucked away in the lesser-known corners of the enchanting state of Sikkim are several natural wonders that seldom make it to the typical tourist itinerary. One such offbeat destination is Kupup Lake, a high-altitude lake situated close to the Indo-Tibetan border. Shaped like an elephant and steeped in mesmerizing beauty, Kupup Lake offers a unique blend of nature’s tranquility and the thrill of exploration.
The Elephant Lake of Sikkim
Kupup Lake, also known as Elephant Lake due to its peculiar shape that resembles an elephant, is situated at an impressive altitude of 13,066 feet. The lake’s unique topography and its shimmering turquoise blue waters set against the rugged Himalayan terrain present a picture of serenity. With its ever-changing hues that reflect the sky’s colors, the lake is a sight to behold, especially in the early morning hours when the sun’s first rays hit its surface.
A Tryst with History
The beauty of Kupup Lake isn’t merely natural; it’s also historical. The lake lies en route the ancient Silk Route, an important trade route between India and Tibet. The remnants of this rich history are still visible in the form of the Yak Golf Course, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s highest golf course. Nearby, you’ll also find the Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, a shrine built in honor of an Indian Army soldier whose spirit is believed to protect the area.
Flora, Fauna, and Birdwatching
Surrounded by alpine vegetation and home to a variety of migratory birds, Kupup Lake is a paradise for nature lovers and birdwatchers. The verdant surroundings burst into a riot of colors during spring and summer when rhododendrons and primulas bloom in abundance. The lake also attracts numerous migratory birds, making it a hotspot for birdwatchers. Look out for species like the Blood Pheasant and the Snow Pigeon among many others.
The Thrill of Adventure
For those seeking adventure, the journey to Kupup Lake is nothing short of thrilling. The drive along the winding mountain roads is both challenging and exciting, offering panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayan range. Given its proximity to the border, you’ll need a special permit to visit Kupup, but the process is straightforward, and the experience is definitely worth the effort.
Kupup Lake can be a starting point for several other fascinating destinations. You can explore Gnathang Valley, a picturesque high-altitude plateau surrounded by steep mountains, or visit Zuluk, a tiny village with stunning views and rich history associated with the Silk Route.
The splendor of Kupup Lake is a reminder of the raw and untouched beauty that Sikkim holds within its mountains. Whether you’re a photographer looking for the perfect shot, a birdwatcher in search of rare species, an adventure enthusiast eager for a thrilling journey, or a peace seeker wanting to immerse yourself in serene surroundings, Kupup Lake is a destination worth exploring. Step off the beaten path and discover this slice of heaven in the Eastern Himalayas.