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Tourist Places To Visit In Lachen
Lachen is a small town in the northernmost region of Sikkim, and one of the most charming little scenic spots in the state for nature lovers. Situated at a height of almost 3000 m, Lachen boasts hillside views that could easily compete with some of the most remarkable locations in the world. Snow-capped peaks that appear to reach for the skies, along with vibrant meadows that look straight out of a picture, Lachen is very close to being paradise on earth.
Visiting most of the popular locations in Lachen entail some amount of trekking, which forms one of the highlights of the village. Undoubtedly, enjoying the serenity of this town to its fullest is a task best undertaken on foot. Here is a detailed description of some of the best places to visit when in Lachen.
Also known as the Lachen Gompa or the Ngodub Choling, this Buddhist monastery pays a great tribute to Tibetan architecture and is one of the most frequented spots in the region. It was constructed in 1858 by the Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The grounds of the monastery are decorated with vibrant prayer flags and prayer wheels, which form a picturesque sight set against the backdrop of quiet village sceneries. The idol depicting Guru Padmasambhava is also located here, who is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Consider yourself lucky if you find the opportunity to attend the annual Mask Dance during the winter months.
Located at an altitude of over 5400 m, the Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in Sikkim, probably also one of the largest. Nestled among the glorious Kanchenjunga Range, it is considered a sacred water body in both Buddhist and Sikh religions. It has been named after Guru Padmasambhava, who is called Guru Dongmar, who according to legend was the one responsible for unfreezing the lake when he visited it in the 8th century. Till today, even in freezing temperatures, the lake remains in its liquid form, and is also believed to have healing properties.
With its crystal clear waters reflecting the magnificent mountains that surround it, one can enjoy brilliant views of Mt. Siniolchu along with the Kachenjunga. The lake is also the source point for the River Teesta that flows through Sikkim, West Bengal and Bangladesh. The Sarva Dharm Sthal, known for being a place of worship for all religions, is also located close to the Gurudongmar Lake.
One of Lachen’s main attractions is the Chopta Valley located at an altitude of over 4000 m. While it is a popular tourist hotspot, it still manages to retain its pristine natural beauty burrowed between snowy hills and rivers streaming through lovely green fields. Apart from being a famous trekking spot, the valley is also home to a number of exotic bird and animal species, which brings animal lovers from all over to this scenic and diverse location.
Another visually striking location in Lachen is the Thangu Valley; located at an altitude of almost 4000 m, it is usually covered in snow almost all year round, giving it a perpetual dazzling quality. It makes for a great holiday spot for those looking to escape from the heat of north Indian summers, and its alpine meadows will prove to be a heaven for nature lovers.
The rivers Choptu, Teesta, Lassur and Thangu also flow through the fields of this valley, and form a significant part of the Thangu village located in the same area. You will witness a number of trails for short trek options, and can use them to hike up to Chopta Valley or Green Lake.
Tso Lhamo Lake or Cho Lhamo Lake
The Tso Lhamo Lake is located around 10 km away from the Gurudongmar Lake, and is the highest altitude lake in India. With a charming scenic landscape that will transport you to another world, the atmosphere around the lake makes for a tranquil hangout spot.
Lhonak Valley or Muguthang Valley
The Lhonak Valley remains mostly uninhabited with the exception of a few Tibetan nomad settlements. Lachen features as one the main base camps for trekking in this valley, which is also known for being a haven for bird watchers and wildlife spotting enthusiasts.
A popular hiking destination, the Green Lake region is a pristine jewel hidden in the lap of Sikkim, that offers breathtaking views of the magnificent Kanchenjunga range along with lush green forests and colorful pastures brimming with a variety of blossoms and flora and fauna. It is situated around 50 km from Lachen City Centre and features as one of the top trek locations in the area.