Top 10 Best Place to visit in Sikkim and Darjeeling in 2018 | TravelGangtok - Tours & Travel Company | Gangtok, Sikkim, India

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Yumthang Valley - north Sikkim

Best Place to visit in Sikkim

If you are visiting Sikkim and don't think that you will make it again in a long time to come, then do pursue a visit to Lachung, Yumthang Valley and Zero Point in North Sikkim. Why? Because you may not again see such stunning views of snow mountains and rivers anywhere else. Dr. Joseph Hooker in his 'Himalayan Journal' of 1855 mentioned that Lachung and Yumthang are the two most picturesque places in the whole of Sikkim and had even compared them to valleys of Switzerland.

Yumthang Valley is world famous for its rich variety of flowers and rare fauna and is known as the Valley of Flowers, considered as a mecca for nature lovers and botanists from all over the world. The Yumthang valley provides a great array of Flora –fauna and is an only one of its kind place where tree line vanishes. It is grazing pasture and bounded by the Himalayan Mountains in the north Sikkim. Yumthang Valley is situated at 148 kms from Gangtok and at the height of 1180 feet from sea level.

The whole Yumthang valley becomes colorful and air becomes scented with the aroma of flowers as the valley gets filled with endless flowerbeds furnishing pleasing view of grassy plains covered in colorful flowers and a river flowing from the green slopes in the spring season. There is an old temple of Lord Shiva a few kilometres away from the valley, from where one can have a breathtaking view of the entire Yumthang valley. Also there is a vegetation free mountain known as Yumesamdong at a height of about 16,000 feet and it’s the last point from where one can see the Chinese border. You can also see a variety of animals like Yaks, Shingba Rhododendron, primulas, poppies, iris etc., here and also there is a village called Lachung which is one of the oldest villages of Sikkim and retains an era old charisma and culture of the state. A visit to this valley is an unmatched experience, which can only be felt only by visiting this place and spending some time here, it cannot be explained in words.

Situated in North Sikkim, Yumthang Valley is a paradise on earth, which is full of natural wonders and picturesque beauty. It is home to a zillion flowers, spectacular mountains & a serene river, and is often also called as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ like the one located in Uttarakhand. Needless to say, its breathtaking and magical surroundings make it a must-visit place for every traveler.

It also happens to be situated at what is called "the tree-line", the altitude above which there are no trees. This makes the Yumthang Valley unique in that it has trees and Rhododendrons, and yet abounds in tiny, low-growing Himalayan flowers. The Valley has an astounding, over 24 species of Rhododendrons which paint the Valley red in spring. Rhododendrons are shrubs or trees, and different species of Rhododendron cover different large stretches of the Valley. In spring, the Valley looks like a collage of little forests of different colors. The flowering of Rhododendrons is over by May end. During monsoons, starting in June, the Valley blooms with all kinds of tiny Himalayan flowers, like the Primroses, Cinquefoils, Louseworts and Cobra-lilies. This is a much more enchanting scenario, but takes a keen viewer, with an eye for detail, to truly appreciate.

How to visit
Only vehicles from tour operators who are registered with Sikkim tourism are allowed. Visit to Zero Point requires additional cost for vehicle. You need to take a tour package from an authorized tour operator of Sikkim. Click here for some of such well known

I would suggest that on the second day, start early in the morning and first visit Zero Point. This is because the weather conditions there can change any time and in the afternoon the visibility may not be as good as in the morning. On your way back, visit Yumthang Valley and Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. Also visit the small local market in Yumthang and scan through the small stalls selling clothes and knick knacks. Try out some noodles or omelet and tea.

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Gurudongmar Lake - north Sikkim

Best Place to visit in Sikkim

Gurudongmar Lake
Gurudongmar is a high altitude lake close to Tibet border in North Sikkim. It is the land of Yaks, blue ships and other high altitude animals of Sikkim and Tibet. The snow-fed milky water of the lake is one of the major sources of Tista, the most important river in Sikkim and North Bengal.

The Gurudongmar Lake

About The Lake
At an altitude of 17000 ft, Gurudongmar is one of the highest lakes in the world. It lies in the North side of the Khangchengyao Range and is encircled all around by snow-covered mountains, the sacred lake freezes during the winters except at one spot, which the devout belief has been especially blessed. The Chinese Tibetan border is just a few kilometers away from the lake.

The blessed water of the lake is believed to possess the miraculous power of granting children to issueless couples. Interestingly, the myth of Gurudongmar is believed as reverentially by the Hindus as by the local Buddhists.

The name Gurudongmar is derived from the name of the Guru Padmasambhava who is thought to have visited Tibet through this area. The area is said to be blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. There is a temple of the Guru besides the lake. Devotee tourists as well as the Army personnel offer prayer at the temple.

Getting There
Tour to North Sikkim requires a special permit (Inner Line Permit). The permit is given to Tourists through an authorized tour operator. Only Indian tourists are allowed to visit Gurudongmar Lake. For international tourists, the tour is limited to Chopta Valley a few kilometers before the lake.

The lake is located at an extreme corner of India. The nearest tourist accommodation at Lachen is 68 km (3 hours) away. A typical tour starts at Gangtok from where Lachen is about 120 km (6 hours). After an overnight stay at Lachen next morning, you may visit Gurudongmar. You should start early in the morning and be back to Lachen latest by lunchtime. As the day progresses weather in the high altitude begins to worsen.

FOREIGN NATIONALS ARE NOT ALLOWED HERE

Road to Gurudongmar
The first phase of the journey starts at Lachen at 8800 feet and in next 35 km reaches Thangu at 13000 feet. As you gain altitude you will find the green forests of lower altitude gives way to smaller trees and bushes. Beyond Thangu is the second phase of your travel. The road towards the lake from Thangu passes through the high alpine pastures carpeted with occasional rhododendron bushes. One can get a prized view of rare Sikkim Rhubarb peeping through the bushes in inaccessible terrain or of a herd of mountain sheep grazing in the distant valley. In this area, you will find little vegetation or people. Apart from the Indian Army, there is no human habitation here. The gravel road through the valley gives you a unique view of barren land. Just before you reach the lake the road takes a right turn and goes uphill to reach the lake.

On the Way to Gurudongmar Lake The Way to Gurudongmar Lake

Special Note for Travellers
The terrain leading to Gurudongmar is very hostile and yet very beautiful. The land resembles Tibetan plateau, vegetation is very limited and the road is through a stony moraine-like unpaved path. Due to proximity to the Chinese Boarder, landmines are not uncommon and presence of Indian Army is ubiquitous. Due to high altitude breathing problems may also arise. Tourists are suggested to spend less time at the high altitude and come down to Lachen soon.

Despite the hardship and difficulty, a visit to this lake may last as an experience of a lifetime.

Tour Planning You can visit this part of North Sikkim only through a package tour. Individuals cannot go their directly. Tours must be organized by authorized travel operator such as TRAVELGANGTOK (the company behind this website). It is part of a minimum of 2 night three days tour from Gangtok to Gangtok basis. Most tourists combine a tour to Lachen and Gurudongmar with a trip to Lachung and Yumthang valley.

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