|Nickname(s): valley of flowers|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Yumthang Valley is a grazing pasture surrounded by the Himalayan mountains in the North Sikkim district of Sikkim, India. It is at an elevation of 3,564 metres (11,800) above msl at a distance of 150 km from the state capital Gangtok.
It is popularly known as 'Valley of Flowers'. It is also home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, and has over twenty-four species of the rhododendron, the state flower. A tributary of the river Teesta flows past the valley and the town of Lachung, the nearest inhabited centre. Yumthang is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall.
A forest rest house is the only permanent residence in the valley. During the spring months, the area blooms with rhododendrons, primulas, poppies, iris and other flora. During the summer months, villagers take their cattle to these heights to graze (a practice known as yaylag pastoralism). In view of increasing number of tourists, there is possibility of environmental degradation in near future. Skiing is conducted in the valley.
Transportation by road
Tourists may travel from Gangtok to Lachung (the nearest village where accommodation is available) by booking a full vehicle or shared one and stay over night. A direct journey to Yumthang is not feasible as roads are commonly foggy and it becomes dark very early around 5:30 pm. A trip to the Valley takes around two hours from Lachung, which is about 125 km from Gangtok.
- Choudhury, A.U. (2011). Tourism pressure on high elevation IBAs. Mistnet 12(1): 11-12.