Lachen, the big pass, is a small, remote town of about 200 houses located in the North District of the state of Sikkim. The altitude of the place is 8,500 feet. It is a suitable base camp for undertaking amazing treks in North Sikkim and visits to the holy Gurudongmar and Tso Lhamu lakes. The place is being promoted as a prominent tourist destination by the state now. However, the number of tourists who visit the place is still small, which preserves its exclusivity.
The town was a summer camp for the locals. Earlier, the locals occupied their houses in Lachen in winter alone, as they were out grazing their yaks in the vast natural pastures on the high mountains for the rest of the year.
How to Reach?
Lachen is well connected by an all-weather road from Gangtok. The distance between Lachen and Gangtok is 114 km. The nearest airport to Lachen is Bagdogra (IXB) which is located at a distance of 199 km. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest Railway Station on the broad gauge and is located 232 km away from Lachen.
Best time to Visit
The place now attracts tourists in summers as well as winters. October to June is the best time to visit Lachen. Losar festival, a festival welcoming the Tibetan New Year is celebrated here in January. Annual Yak race called ‘Thangu” is held here in summers and it also attracts a substantial number of tourists.
Clothes to be carried
Heavy woolen clothes must be carried for a visit to Lachen in winters as well as in summers. The minimum temperature of the place dips to (minus) - 17 degrees C in winters and the maximum temperature of the place in summers does not cross 14 degrees C.
Places to visit
Lachen is a remote hill town with marvelous scenic beauty. The place is still untouched by modernity. It is an ideal place to meditate or to spend some quiet time with your beloved. Some of the places of tourist interest in and around Lachen are as follows:-
Lachen Gompa It is a Tibetan Buddhist religious place for meditation and Sadhna. A visit to the Gompa gives you an insight into the simple life of the Lachenpas, the inhabitants of Lachen.
Gurudongmar Lake It is one of the highest lakes in the world located at 17,800 feet. The lake is frozen during winters. It has religious significance and is considered sacred by Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. Only Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists are permitted to visit the lake.
Chopta Valley It is a valley at an altitude of 13,000 feet and is spread between Sikkim and Uttarakhand. The valley is well known for a wide variety of orchids, rhododendrons and other Himalayan vegetation. A large number of water streams flow into the valley and make it an enchanting place.
Local Population or demography The population of the place is about 1000 comprising of Tibetans and Bhutias. Tibetan is the main language spoken here.
All foreign visitors require prior permission from the Sikkim Government to visit Lachen and areas around Lachen.
This serene and scenic place is a paradise for a city dweller who is fed up with the high speed, polluted and high tension life of modern cities.
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