An elegant and exquisite town adorned the North Sikkim district sharing its border with the panoramic Tibet. Lounged at a very high elevation of 9600 feet, the beautiful hill station is situated at the assemblage of the gushing Lachen and Lachung Rivers. The pristine waters of these rivers are the tributaries of the streaming and tidal River Teesta. The meaning of Lachung translates to ‘a small pass’. This alluring and mesmerizing beauty is not accessible to everyone. So to trail around this hill station, you have to get permission from the government owing to its proximity to the Indo-China border.
The place is one of most profound itineraries especially for tourists who are trying to enroute to Yumthang Valley famously known as the Zero Point. The astounding be-wilderness of this bewitching little hamlet, the exquisite fruit orchards, clear and magnificent streams, the immaculate blue rivers flowing against the tall unbending snow-crested Himalayan mountains bordering the infinite blue and white skies lies the most picturesque small town villages luring thousands of tourists who crave for nature at your behest and peace-seeking aficionados from far wide of globe.
This adorable and splendid little village is said to be the most picturesque village of Sikkim owing to its magnificence and natural scenic beauty.The town is located only 125 km from the capital of Sikkim; Gangtok. The peace and relaxation offered by forests, mountains, and the surroundings are lovely and marvelous.
History of Lachung
This gorgeous wilderness is not only mingled with essence of beauty and ecstasy; but is an abode for spirituality and incorporeality. The town has been known for such practices from centuries. The finest exemplification of such a legend is the Samten Choling Monastery which was constructed back in 1850. The legend around the place says that according to Chinese astrology the Buddhist monastery was built in the year of the metal dog which is considered to hold a high religious and sacred importance in Chinese mythology.
The monastery underwent grand reconstruction in 1930, where devote additions like a sculpture of Buddha, a sculpture of a Guru and a sculpture of Chenrezig were included within the monastery’s premises.
Other than this, several holy texts belonging to the Kangyur and Tengyur reigns were also supplemented inside the monastery. These inclusions were brought from the Tibet, in order to promote and flourish Buddhism in the region. The significant re-engineering took place in 1983, which was undertaken by the Lamas, Furthering this transformation and reformation, the monastery now conducts substantial ceremonies of the region.
What you will like
This breathtakingly beautiful hill station is known for its handicrafts market where you can shop various rugs and blankets. The very famous Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is a treasure of the multi-coloured flowers of such kind. The most excursive mention here is of the Lachung Gompa, which is said to be the most bewitching and pleasing sights of all.
Best time to Visit
Well, Gangtok enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year. But for tourist its ideal to visit in between the months of October to mid-December, when the weather is all perfect for sightseeing, and one can enjoy the natural aura of the Himalayan ranges. Through December and January are considered to be the coldest months of the year, sometimes temperature drops down to as low as 1°C. June to September is regarded as the months of Monsoon season that causes massive landslides and disrupting communication in Gangtok.
What you might not like
Transport is a massive problem as there are no local buses available. Never visit the town during monsoon months of June till September as you might not roam around the city due to the torrential rains and pouring sessions.Trekking is very risky and tough due to daunting and unmanaged hills, so this adventure activity should be only undertaken by those who have performed trekking before.
The place is ideal for adventure lovers and heritage fanatics, solo travellers and pilgrims as well.
Best Time to Visit Lachung
Although the high altitude of 9,600 feet above the sea level makes it a prominent attraction attracting tourists all year long but the best time of visit in the starting months of winter commencing from October to June. The shadows of the snow-crested mountains making the temperatures tolerable and the weathers pleasant throughout the year. The average temperatures from October to June range between 10 degrees Celsius and 16 degree Celsius making a stroll around the place on foot easy and exciting. You can enjoy the cool breeze blowing across the Himalayas and play in the snow during December and January if you happen to plan your visit during those times. The summer sets their foot in March lasting till May.
How to Reach
By Air- Although the city is thriving on its tourism business, it has no airport of its own. The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri which is around 197 km away from the city. The Bagdogra Airport is connected t all the major metropolitan cities around the country including Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi Guwahati and Kolkata. The Bagdogra Airport also attends to the international flights landing from Bangkok. The Airport also has landing and takeoff grounds for helicopter rides to Gangtok, the capital of the Sikkim.
By Rail- The town does not have any railway station of its own, and the nearest rail track is the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station which is situated at a distance of 127 km. You can board a local bus or private taxis from the station and reach to Lachung.
By Road- Once you reach the Bagdogra Airport, you can board a ride or a private taxi which you drop you off at Lachung.
Culture of Lachung
The vibrant and mesmerizing civilization of the inhabitants of Sikkim is a conglomeration of vastly different traditions and ethnicity which depends on the different communities living in this region. The most extravagant and zeal worthy tradition are the folk dances; which are an important part integrated into the lives of people who mainly practice it to celebrate life and memories. These folk dances are mainly performed during festivals is perfectly tangled with the region’s culture with dancers who perform this, dressed in their traditional attires dancing to the fancy tunes of their folk songs complemented with popular musical instruments.
Although the region has various traditional dances interspersed with all the different communities; Chaam is the most popular amongst them. It is generally performed during the eleventh month of the Tibetan Calendar. This dance is undertaken by the monks of the Lachung Monastery wearing strange but meaningful masks.
Religion and Languge: Buddhism is the main religion practiced in this town. Other than that Hinduism and Christianity are other practiced religion of the locals and the inhabitants also follow certain tribal religions. The ancestry of the inhabitants of Lachnug traces back to Bhutia, Lepcha and Tibetans. Due to the variant customs and heritage prevalent in the region, a variety of languages like Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang and Sunwar are some of them. Other than that, Hindi is also spoken, and English is decidedly less spoken commonly here.
Cuisine of Lachung
The cuisines of Lachung consist of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. There are delicacies which are mouth licking are readily available in a variety of options and types. Although the varieties are vaster for non-vegetarians because the people mostly prefer it, the traditional or the most readily available food items is Momos. It is a staple food for both Nepal and China. They are chiefly available roadside stalls.
Other delicacies include the Thupka, Gundruk, Sinki, Churpi, Phagashapa and Sael Roti. An authentic taste of beer, Chang is made by fermenting millet using yeast. This favorite drink of Lachung is a savor from the bamboo receptacle utilizing a bamboo pipe. Other than these, Mesu and Sishnu soup made from leaves of edible wild varieties of nettle are worth a try too. These foods are going to replenish your taste buds into an everlasting savor.
Festivals Aand Fairs in Lachung
Owing to the rich heritage of culture and traditions the city has, there are a number of festivals and fairs that are organized in the city. Few of them are Chaam, Lossong, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Dhunchen, Drupka Tse Shi and Phang Lhabsol.
Shopping at Lachung
The city flourishes in the tourism industry, but the place is not developed in terms of the market. Still, shopping remains one of the ideal things to do over here. There are a variety of Tibetan Handicrafts, Hand-woven Carpets, Blankets and Rugs available all suiting to the needs and reflect the tradition of the town. Other than this, freshly made jams, sauces and marmalades are also worth buying. These jams are made from the fresh orchids flourishing in this region.
Day 1- Start your day amidst the blossom of various rhododendron species, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary one of the most visited Nature parks in Sikkim, located at Yumthang Valley of Flowers one can enjoy the bird watching in their leisure time. After this explore the exemplary natural beauty of Yumthang valley that has a backdrop of snow-peaked Himalayan ranges dwelled in the clear blue sky. If you visit in the winter season, you can be the part of most enthralling activity done here, skiing.
Day 2- On the last day of your trip, visit the significant prayer hall of this quaint town, Lachung monastery that bestows absolute peace and positivity to visitors. As a name signifies “little mountain” this spot is situated at an elevation around 3,000 m at the juncture of the Lachen River and Lachung River, tributaries of the Teesta River. After this, you can have lunch at any eateries near to town as by evening stroll around the picturesque lanes of this pilgrim spot of Sikkim.
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