Located in the northern district of Sikkim, Lachen is one of the most gorgeous towns in Sikkim and is a very attractive tourist place. It is well known for the Lachung monastery. The natural beauty and lush vegetation is worth all the praise. Lachen is a scarcely populated town and is famous as the gateway to the sacred Gurudongmar and Tso Lhamu lakes.
Lachen is situated near the Indo-Tibean Border on the North Sikkim Highway. The strongest faith here is the Nyingma order of Himalayan Buddhism. The Lachen Monastery is positioned atop the village and provides you with a birds eye of the village and also of Lachen Chu and the alpine forests.
At an elevation of 9022 ft Lachen is slightly at a higher position than Lachung. Both the places have apple orchards and alpine views. The place is the starting point to some interesting treks in the northern part of Sikkim. The small hamlet which has a magical beauty is a place which would truly take your breath away.
Best Time To Visit Lachen
PC: carol mitchell
The months from March to September are seen as the best time to visit, as the temperature remains moderate. Mild and heavy rainfall may be experienced during this time, but there is nothing to worry. The winter months are very harsh and have temperatures dipping down sub zero and hence it is advisable not to visit the place during this time.
The Big Pass
The name Lachen translates to Big Pass, owning to the factor that the place is located at a relatively higher altitude. The place is seen as a very good trekking path and provides a marvellous view of the high mountain ranges. One of the trek routes to the Green Lake and the Kunchenjunga National Park begins at Lachen.
It is a tiny hamlet of Bhutia and Tibetan settlements, which has around 150 households. The village at one point of time was occupied only in winter by the people who used to spend their summers in the alpine pastures alongside the Tibetan border to take care of their herd of yaks.
Lachen was made open to tourists only towards the end of 2000 and since then a handful of options to stay and essential facilities have been established. Tourists come here only to enjoy the true beauty of Mother Nature. It also is the base for those who are preparing themselves for a trek in Chopta Valley along with the Gurudongma Lake.
The Frozen Rivers
Gurudongmar Lake can be reached from here; it is considered as a sacred lake in the Great Himalayan Region. One can visit the Lachen Gompa and get a feel of the simple lifestyle of the Lepchas. The area is out of bounds for foreigners but special passes can be procured well in advance.
One can also opt to stay at a place called Thangu and visit the Chopta Valley which offers some breathtaking views of the rivers. From here one can take a walk on the frozen river during the winter season.
PC: caroll mitchell
Although there has been a recent invasion of concrete, the mountain village at Lachen still retains its old fashioned form of wooden homes with sturdy stone bases and log sheds which are stacked with timber as a means of winter fuel. To add colour one can notice the Tibetan style window frames and the beautiful prayer flags.