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The Yumthang valley is located exactly 150 km from the Sikkim state capital, Gangtok. This 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 is 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.
Yumthang Valley is enormously delightful, with lush green landscape, and slopes that are sheltered with trees, and yaks that feed in the rich flower-spangled rich green plains beneath, along with a river that flows right all throughout the valley. The serene and peaceful air of the gorge cannot be expressed in words. One visit to this place will leave the visitor mesmerized and enhanced for many days.
It is located at popularly called "the tree-line", the height where you wonâ€™t find any tree beyond that line. This is what makes the picturesque Yumthang Valley complete as it has many plants and Rhododendrons, and even then abounds in small, low-growing Himalayan flowers.
This gorge has an astounding, nearly 24 kinds of Rhododendrons that paint the Valley red in month of spring. Rhododendrons are small shrubs or trees, and dissimilar kinds of Rhododendron cover the varied large springs of gorge. In months of spring, the Valley appears like a set of little woodlands of diverse colors. The best moment of Rhododendrons is over by May end. During monsoons, starting in June, the Gorge blossoms with different kinds of minute Himalayan colorful flowers like the Cobra Lilies, Louseworts, Cinquefoils and Primroses. This is an eye-catching and charming scenario, however takes a keen watcher, who loves to see these pictures for truly appreciating the same.
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 and is a popular tourist attraction in this place. Naturally rich in vegetation, the sanctuary comes alive during the time of spring season, when these trees carry beautiful flowers delivering a breathtaking look for 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 Shiva Mandir, situated on the north of the Yumthang valley which is one among the touristâ€™s spots and is often visited by many visitors. A small drive or trek further down to this place can deliver an invigorating experience.
The one and only permanent residence in the Yumthang valley is a forest guest house. At the time of spring season, the entire place is 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.
How to Reach
First, take an air flight for Bagdogra that is located in West Bengal, a small town which mainly attends as a basic connecting point for Sikkim as well as Darjeeling. From the inside of Bagdogra airport, you can hire a prepaid cab to Gangtok for nearly Rs. 2000. The place Gangtok is around 124 km far from Bagdogra, and it nearly takes 4 hours by road to reach this place.
The nearest railway station is located in New Jalpaiguri, a city in West Bengal. Numerous trains running towards Guwahati passes through New Jalpaiguri. Approaching from Bihar side, one can reach New Jalpaiguri the moment they cross the "Chicken's Neck" which links NE India, to entire India. Gangtok is approximately 148 km if we travel by road from city 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. Â 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.