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Yumthang Valley North
Yumthang valley also known as “Valley of flowers” is a graze land surrounded by the Himalayan Mountains in the North of Sikkim, Sikkim district, India. Yumthang valley is situated at an altitude of 3,564 meters (11,800) above the sea level. The Yumthang valley is located exactly 150 km from the Sikkim state capital, Gangtok.
The Yumthang valley serves as home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary and thereby possesses about twenty four species of the rhododendron. Rhododendrons are shrubs or trees with varying species which cover larger stretches of the Yumthang valley. Rhododendron also honored as the state flower. A stream of the Teesta River flows past the valley and also the nearest town, Lachung. Lachung is the closest place of inhabitation. Yumthang valley is closed during the month of December to March due to heavy snowfall.
The one and only permanent residence in the Yumthang valley is a forest guest house. At the time of spring season, the entire place will be filled with rhododendrons, primulas, poppies, iris and other various types of flora. During summer season, villagers from the nearby area rear their cattle to this height (a practice commonly termed as yaglag pastoralism). As the number of tourists visiting this Yumthang valley is steadily increasing, there is chance of environmental degradation in the near future. Skiing, an adventurous sport is commonly played in this Yumthang valley.
Yumthang valley is extremely picturesque with green slopes covered by trees, the sight of yaks grazing in the flower-spangled grassy plains below, and also a river flowing right through the valley. The complete scenery and the tranquility in the atmosphere cannot be described in words. A single trip may leave the tourist in an enchanted state for many weeks. The Yumthang valley happens to be located at “the tree-line” the height above which there are no trees. This also makes Yumthang valley unique as it carries many trees and rhododendrons along with tiny, low level Himalayan Mountains. During spring season, the valley delivers the image of a collage of little forests of different colors.
The Yumthang valley is also known for its hot springs, which is slightly saline in taste. The hot springs are colorless and emit bubbles of sulphurated hydrogen gas with the temperature of about 106 degree.
The Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary is situated with a total space of 43 square km is a popular tourist attraction of this place. Naturally very rich in vegetation, the sanctuary comes alive during the time of spring season, when these trees carry beautiful flowers delivering a breathtaking look to the viewers. The sanctuary is also home to various wildlife Tigers, Goral, Hill, Partridge, Serow, Spotted Linsang, Blood Pheasant and many others.
There is also a Shiv Mandir, situated on the north of the Yumthang valley is one among the tourists spot and is often visited my many visitors. A small drive or trek further down to this place can deliver an invigorating experience.
How to Reach
First, take a flight journey to Bagdogra in West Bengal. This town serves as a connecting point to Sikkim and Darjeeling. From the Bagdogra airport, many prepaid taxis are available to Gangtok at the cost of Rs.2000. Gangtok is situated 124 km from Bagdogra and it takes around four hours to reach there.
The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. All major trains going towards Guwahati will definitely cross New Jalpaiguri. On the other hand, if travelling from the Bihar state, then New Jalpaiguri comes just after passing through the “Chicken’s Neck” that links North east India, with the rest part of India. Gangtok is located approximately 148 km by road from New Jalpaiguri.
Tourists may prefer to travel from Gangtok to Lachung by booking a private vehicle or by sharing basis. The distance will be around 125 km from Gangtok to valley. Lachung is the nearby village to Yumthang where there is availability of accommodation. A direct journey to Yumthang is not possible as the roads are generally foggy and becomes dark very early around 5.30 p.m. Journey to the valley takes around 2 hours from Lachung.