Lachen village in 1938
|• Official||Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang and Sunwar|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Lachen is a town in North Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. It is located at an elevation of 2,750 metres. The name Lachen means "big pass". The town is being promoted as a tourist destination by the Sikkimese government. The town forms the base to the Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. An annual yak race, the Thangu is held here in summer.
Unlike other places in India, Lachen has its unique form of local self governance called the “Dzumsa”. Every household is a member of this traditional administrative system, this institution is in charge of governing and organizing activities within the village.
Lachen valley has almost everything a traveler could wish for: a land of fairs and festivals, snow-clad mountains, lakes, valley of flora, fauna and a vibrant local culture. Visits to the Lachen monastery and the women’s handicraft centre to view weaving of traditional blankets and carpets will provide insights into the local way of life or perhaps a stunning mountain drive can be taken along the Tibetan plateau to Gurudongmar and Cho Lhamu as a day tour from Lachen. The sacred Gurudongmar lake at a height of 17,100 ft encircled by snowy massifs is something one would not dare to miss on a visit to Sikkim. One can also stay over night at Thangu which is 30 kms away from Lachen. During summer and monsoon the entire place is dotted with flowers of all kinds.
The relatively unexplored and untouched Chopta Valley is located in north of Lachen. Rich with alpine vegetation and rhododendrons, enthralling lakes and rivers add to the beauty of Chopta Valley. A preferred destination with nature lovers, Chopta is also famous for the several monuments of historical and religious importance. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot rare species of animals, plants and birds in the Chopta Valley. Bird watching is a popular activity and the region is ideal for trekking and other adventure sports.
Just about 129 km from Gangtok, Lachen is located at an altitude of 8838 ft. Seasons unfold timelessly in this high altitude habitat: gaily painted with myriad flowers in the spring and monsoon, bathed in spectacular weather in autumn and snow clad fairy-tale winters.
Lachen is about 129 kilometres (80 mi) from the capital Gangtok, and can be reached via a six-hour road journey. A short two-day-long trekking route also connects the Yumthang Valley to Lachen. It has a population of around 1,000. Lachen has its own system of rules and regulations known as Dzumsa. The heads of the Dzumsa are known as Pipon and Gyenbos.
To the north there is the old town of Thangu where the daytime temperature varies from 4 to 12 degrees Celsius (40 to 55 °F), even in the months of June and July.
Gurudongmar Lake can be reached from Lachen, a sacred lake in the Great Himalayas Region.
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