Lachung is a town in northeast Sikkim, India. It is located in the North Sikkim district and is near the border with Tibet. Lachung is at an elevation of about 9,600 ft or 3,000 mtr. And at the confluence of the Lachen River and Lachung River, tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means “small pass”. The town is approximately 125 km from the capital Gangtok. The Indian Army has a forward base in the town. Before the annexation of Tibet in 1950, Lachung was a treading post between Sikkim & Tibet, after which it was closed down. Visit the town between October and May, mostly on their way to the Yumthang valley and the Lachung Monastery.
Katao valley is situated at an altitude of 15,000 ft. about sea level. With the panoramic view of snow capped peaks of Himalayas, it is a rival to Yumthang in beauty. The valley is covered with poppy, primula and rhododendron. A Military check post is nearby. Katao remains under ice cover in March-April. May-June and September-November seasons are the best time to visit Katao. Katao valley is around 32 km from Lachung.
The evergreen charm of Yumthang at an elevation of 11,800 ft. distance 24 km from Lachung and 150 km from the State capital Gangtok. It is popularly known as “Valley of Flowers”, it’s a paradise of nature lovers. The valley is also the home of Shingbha Rhododendron Sanctuary with 24 species of Rhododendron. “Yumthang:Tsa-Chu” or the Hot Spring of the left bank of Lachung Chu is immediately popular for its curative properties and healing power.
Lachen means “Big Pass”. Distance 130 km/9,000 ft. 6 hrs. drave from Gangtok and 48 Km from Lachung is a small village less than 150 houses commands a panoramic view of the surroundings and country side. Here one can go for excursion to Thangu and Chopta Valley approx 30 km ahead of Lachen; it is situated at an altitude of 8,000 to 14,000 ft. this hidden paradise offers its visitor breathtaking scenic view of high snow capped mountains, clear blue lakes, cascading waterfalls, meandering rivers and alpine environment.
Gurudongmar Lake or Gurudogmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world, located at an altitude of 17,800 ft. (5430 mtr.). It lies in the district of North Sikkim in the State of Sikkim in India, only some 5 km (3.1 mi) south of Chinese Border. The lake can be reached by road from Lachen via Thangu. Gurudongmar Lake provides one of the source streams of the Teesta river. The blue serene water of Gurudongmar Lake is renowned for its healing power. It is an extremely sacred lake to the pious sikkimese people. The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, founder of Tibetan Buddhism who visited the lake in the 8th century. The lake is not only blessed by Guru Padmasambava but also by Guru Nanak, the spiritual leader of Sikhism while he had passed through this area, and hence regarded as sacred. The lake remains completely frozen in the winter months from November to Mid-May. The lake with the snow covered surroundings amidst the mighty Himalayas offers a breathtaking experience to be treasured for the entire life time.
Chopta Valley is a popular tourist destination in North Sikkim. The valley can be reached from Lachen on the way to Gurudongmar Lake. Lachen is the place where you are most likely to stay overnight if you are traveling to North Sikkim destination of Gurudongmar lake.
You will start early in the morning from Lachen and reach Chopta valley in about 2 hours. International tourists are not allowed to travel further North as the boarder to China is very close. Many Indian tourists, not comfortable with the extreme high altitude of Gurudongmar lake (About 17000 ft), limit their tour of the area to Chopta valley.
The valley of flowers as it is known is a riot of colors during summer months. As you approach the valley, you can see the tall trees of Lachen area slowly going away and smaller shrubs becoming more common. Beyond Chopta valley greenery wanes even further and the pasture turns quite devoid of vegetation. From here the mountains starts to barren and sharp contrast to green Sikkim hills where you have spend the last few days.
***WEEKEND TRIP FOR FOLLOWING PLACES