Hire a cab and make your way through challenging terrain towards North Sikkim to experience a world different from the rest of India. Hiding in the Himalayas in these stretches of the country are two twin villages of Lachung and Lachen.
Borrowing their names from the rivers that run through it, the two villages are a scenic beauty, complete with the tall mountains surrounding the villages, gushing rivers that run through them and the wild flowers that grow on the roadside.
Lachung and Lachen are lesser developed tourist destinations in Sikkim but are gaining in popularity due to their proximity to emerging tourist locales in the northern stretches of the state.
Tourists usually use Lachung and Lachen as a base to visit places nearby. A stop at Lachung would make it more feasible to visit the spectacular valley called Yumthang Valley.
Locally known as the Valley of Flowers, the Yumthang Valley is a pleasant sight during the summer months as it is covered with flowers of different colors. The hot spring in this valley is immensely popular because of its medicinal purposes. The valley is, however, covered with snow in the winters and presents a completely different picture as compared to the rest of the year.
Lachen is the more important of the two villages in North Sikkim. The village has an important Buddhist monastery and is closer to other places of interest in this region. For a start, you could choose to trek to the Chopta Valley from Lachen.
Chopta is similar to Yumthang as it exhibits a wide range of alpine flowers during the summer months and is snow-covered during the winter period. The highest point in these reaches is a lake called Gurudongmar which is located at a height of about 18000 feet above sea level.
To make your way towards Gurudongmar, you will first have to make a stop at an Indian Army outpost that is located at a lesser height on the road to Gurudongmar. The army conducts a health check of all the tourists who want to visit the lake since it is not viable for the faint-hearted to endure the negligible presence of oxygen in that altitude. A trip to Gurudongmar would also require a special permission due to security reasons.
Pack your bags heavily with woolens to combat the harsh climate in these higher reaches and set off for Lachung and Lachen to experience an India you won’t find in tourist books. The raw, savage and untamed beauty of this region is one you surely have not experienced before!