One of the most uninhabited areas of the country, yet extremely beautiful and charming, North Sikkim shares its boundary with China and Nepal.
Mangan is the headquarters of the North Sikkim district. It is one of the most mystically beautiful though unexplored areas due to the harsh conditions found here. Located at an altitude of 956 meters the town of Mangan serves as a base for trekking and hiking trips in the mountains and forests. North Sikkim is famous for the Gurudongmar Lake which is one of the highest lakes of India. It also has religious importance. Apart from lakes, there are some important monasteries in this area too.
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Located at the height of 17,100 feet above the sea level, Gurudongmar Lake, located in Sikkim, is one of the fifteen highest lakes in the world. It is also the second highest lake in Sikkim, after the Cholamu Lake located at the height of 18,000 feet. The splendid and scenic beauty of the place is breathtaking and attracts tourists from all across the world. Gurudongmar Lake also has great religious significance attached to it, and the beautiful view of Mount Siniolchu and Kanchenjunga from the lake is a sight to behold and cherish. The water of Gurudongmar Lake is believed to have healing powers, and many tourists carry the water with them on their way back.
Encircled by snow-capped mountains and crystal clear icy water, Gurudongmar is considered to be a very holy lake. It is one of the sources of River Teesta, which flows through Sikkim, West Bengal and Bangladesh, to finally merge with the Bay of Bengal. There lies a ‘Sarva Dharma Sthal’ nearby, which is also a very popular place of worship for all religions. The Gurudongmar Lake is located in Lachen, a small and beautiful town in North Sikkim. A night stay at this town is highly recommended before visiting the stunning lake. The strategic location of the mesmerising Gurudongmar Lake and its proximity to other popular attractions further appeals to the tourists, and make it one of the most popular attractions in Sikkim.
Lachung, a tourist hotspot situated in North Sikkim is a splendid destination that is sited at the spot where two tributaries Lachung and Lachen meet. This town is a popular tourist attraction because of the many waterfalls that gush in this area. Glimpses of snow covered mountains can also be caught from this place and offer a spectacular sight. Lachung is also a preferred base to visit the famous Yumthang Valley, quite a landmark in Sikkim’s tourism scene.
Lachung is a small town in Sikkim which has majestic mountains all around that tempt tourists to travel here every year. It is that beautiful town of Sikkim which has several snow covered mountains, sparkling streams, peaks, amazing waterfalls and much more. It is the perfect tourist spot which guarantees you pleasurable holidays amidst apple orchards, peaches and apricots. The market in Lachung is filled with handicrafts such as exquisitely woven rugs and blankets that make this town ideal for shopping sprees. Lachung means ‘Small Mountain ‘, and it gets this name as it is outlined by majestic mountains.
The popular Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim is located 140 km north of Gangtok. Famous as the “Valley of flowers”, this is a rare and exotic location with hot springs, rivers, yaks and lush green meadows. Situated at an elevation on 3564 metres, this stunning valley is a paradise for nature lovers as it houses the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary which has over 24 species of Rhododendron flowers (the state flower) blooming from late February to mid-June.Yumthang Valley is closed to tourists between December and March
due to the heavy snowfall in the region. A few hot springs are situated in Yumthang Valley, which is often visited by tourists as they are believed to have miraculous healing power. Apart from a cosmic green meadow, plush green forest abundant in Pine and silver fir trees fills the area. On your way towards Yumthang Valley, you can see gushing waterfalls and streams along with a splendid view of peaks with Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa.
Situated in the northern district of Sikkim, Lachen is one of the most beautiful towns an attractive tourist spot which is well known for its Lachung monastery. Its natural beauty and serene vegetation are worth commending and it is believed to be one of the most noteworthy and popular places for Buddhist pilgrims and tourists. Lachen is a less-populated beautiful holiday destination, also famous as the gateway to the sacred Gurudongmar and Tso Lhamu lakes.
The most prevailing area in Lachen is the Nyingma order of Himalayan Buddhism and the Lachen Monastery, Lachen Chu and the alpine covers. The quaint Sikkim town is known for its lush vegetation that contains mainly grasslands and shrubs along with apple orchards. The pine-covered valleys and black cliffs of snowy-white hills of the Eastern Himalayas start from Lachen which makes it the base station for many trekking areas in the North Sikkim region including the famous Green Lake and Kanchenjunga National Park treks. Lachen provides expeditions to Chopta Valley, Green Lake, Cho-Lamu, Gurudongmar Lake and Shinghba Rhododendron Sanctuary.
14th highest lake in the world and the highest lake in India, the Cholamu Lake in North Sikkim is situated at an altitude of 18000 feet from the sea level. While coming down the slope around 300 feet from Donkiala pass ( 18300 feet ), you can get the first sight of this moderately sized, almost frozen lake. Cholamu Lake is only a few kms away from the Tibet border and is off limits for commonplace tourists. One needs special permits, from Army and Sikkim police/administration to visit the Cholamu Lake.
Also know as Tso Lhamo lake, it is difficult to get permission to visit this lake and it is advisable not to visit this place in monsoons or winters. If you are on a family trip avoid visiting Cholamu Lake and visit the Gurudongmar Lake instead. However, if weather permits, and you get a permit easily then opt for Cholamu Lake. Since mostly no travel agencies risk their vehicles and driver in this risky terrain you can trek up to this stunning lake. The world does not have too many such places with more sublime associations than this calm sheet of water, 17,000 feet above the sea, with the shadows of mountains 22,000 to 24,000 feet high, resting on its surface.
“The Switzerland of eastern Himalayas”
Nestled in the northern part of Sikkim, at a distance of 144 km from Gangtok and 28 km from Lachung, Mt Katao is one of the most stunning sights imaginable. Perfect for adventure lovers who like skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, and grinding during the winter season, the surreal mountain provides a splendid view to its onlookers. However, to enter this area, a permit is required from the army since the place where Mt Katao is located at a military base.
Covered with natural vegetation including poppy, rhododendron, and primula, the base ground of Mount Katao comprises of numerous adventure sports activities. This amazing place is situated at an elevation of 15000 feet and remains covered in snow almost throughout the year. There is a zero point situated nearby which provides some spectacular views.