In the month of March, I paid a visit to one of the most beautiful states of India - Sikkim. There is a lot in this small state for travel souls and adventure lovers. As a part of our tour, we planned a trek from Gangtok to the famous Yumthang valley :). We reached Chungthang on a jeep and from here we have to trek to Lachung. Lachung is a small mountain village located in the North Sikkim district near the border with Tibet; at an altitude of 8600 ft and a distance of about 110 kms from Gangtok and 25 kms from Chungthang. This trek is actually a part of my trek from Chungthang to Yumthang! The plan is to trek from Chungthang to Lachung and then trek from Lachung to Yumthang!
Our base camp in Lachung is located near to the army area and the total distance we had to cover is around 28 kms in a single day. We set off from Chungthang around 7.30 AM. Enroute to Lachung is through quaint villages, scenic spots, and waterfalls. The first leg is of 12 to 13 kms and is almost a road trek except for one or two shortcuts. The shortcuts which we took are not too dangerous or sloppy ones and the weather helped us a lot as it was sunny and warm enough :) The trek through this stretch would not be too tiring, but as my rucksack weighed almost 12 kgs, I felt somehow drained by the time we reached our resting point.
We stopped at a roadside tea spot around 10 AM where we had some buns and tea as refreshments. After relaxing for a short span of 20 minutes, we resumed our trek towards Lachung. The second leg is far more beautiful than the first leg, as there were lots of streams which cut right through the roads, some lush green agri fields probably of some millets or fodder, yaks, Rhododendrons, waterfalls and the beautiful Teesta River running all way along with us.
As we were approaching Lachung, we were able to see more and more number of army people and their vehicles. Before 1950, Lachung served as a trade point between Sikkim and Tibet and after the Chinese annexation, this has been shut down. The Indian Army now has a forward base at Lachung. Around 3.30 PM we reached our base camp at Lachung. Our guides told us that this stretch would be just another 12 kms, but only at the end of the trek we realized that this is around 16 kms. I was starving by the time we reached our base camp and they served us a hot meal which felt heavenly :)
We planned to spend a night at Lachung before we proceed to Yumthang. There are lots of hotels and lodges in this village; I think there is a 3-star hotel too. So accommodation is not a problem here and hence became an important tourist spot. There are small shops all along the roads; which sells all kinds of eateries and liquor, which the state is so famous for ;). It became pretty cool during the night and there was a drastic change in the temperature. Dinner was served early and after having an entertaining night, we retired to sleep. Thanks to the cozy room and the warm sleeping bag, which made me sleep so comfortably so that I can regain my lost energy for the next day.
Lachung village, spread out on either side of the river Lachung Chu, is surrounded by mighty mountains of which some are covered with snow and some not. And the beautiful waterfalls on almost all the mountains add to the charm of this little village. And the most important feature of this little beautiful village is it's unique local and traditional self-government body called the Zumsa, a part of their rich tradition and culture. The Zumsa takes care of all the local disputes and are settled by a totally representative body of the village which is headed by an elected Pipon.
So, if time permits, don't miss a chance of staying back in this beautiful village :) . It's a must visit place for the nature lovers and the people who are in love with our mighty Himalayas like me ;-)