India

YUMTHANG VALLEY – A SYMPHONY OF FLOWERS

Every year between March and May, nature dresses the Yumthang Valley and mountain slopes in an elegant ball gown of blooms, and through the heart of the ‘Valley of Flowers’ flows the River Teesta, sparkling like diamonds.

2 years ago | tourtravel
A family stands at the Zero Point at YumeSamdong Lachung, looking over the mighty mountains casting an unparalleled panorama at Gangtok in Sikkim © Gnanistock

In this Article:

How To Get There
Where To Stay In Yumthang Valley
Important Information About Yumthang Valley
Checklist
Some Images From Our Trip To Yumthang Valley


So, you have already seen and done all you can in Gangtok during your Sikkim vacation. Then it is high time to venture a little further, to discover the special enchantment of the ‘Valley of Flowers’. Between March and May, the valley puts on a stunning display of colors, when thousands of rhododendrons start blooming. Gradually nature wakes up to cover the slopes in shades of red, pink, and purple until the whole valley seems to swim in color. No wonder visitors have traveled from far and wide to see this picture-perfect display.

The road to the Yumthang Valley travels via Lachung, 62 miles/100 km from Gangtok. The main object of a visit to Yumthang Nature Sanctuary is of course the magical flower show, but everywhere you turn, the views are gorgeous. Teesta River adds sparkle to the scene as it flows peacefully through the valley, past the Shundu Tsenpa and Pauhunri Peaks. There are more waterways, Puniya Chu and Yumthang Chu are two offshoots, and many a fisherman has cast his line into their waters with the hope of catching a fish.

If you suffer the cold, there is the perfect remedy; hot springs will warm you up in no time, while its healing water will soothe away any aches and pains. For an injection of spirituality, visit the Shiva Temple in the vicinity. Another popular destination is Zero Point, 16,404 ft./5,000 m above sea level, and well above the timberline, covered in a carpet of snow right through the year. The views here are absolutely superb, drawing the eye over the beautiful Tibetan plateau. Lachung town is worth a visit, and although you will spend about six hours on the road from Gangtok, the amazing scenery along the way makes time fly by. Stop for a while at the junction where the two tributaries, Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu meet up with the Teesta. There you will find Naydo, the sacred stone embedded with footprints of Padmasambhava, the Tibetan guru, also known as Rinpoche.

Due to its proximity to the upper Himalayan range, the Yumthang Valley often experiences snowfall, as seen in the picture with snow in the forest of pine trees

Due to its proximity to the upper Himalayan range, the Yumthang Valley often experiences snowfall, as seen in the picture with snow in the forest of pine trees © Images of India


The culture of Lachung village is quite unique. The inhabitants refer to themselves as Lachungpas and are Bhutias, of Tibetan ancestry. All social disputes and other problems are settled by the Dzumsa, a self-governing, autonomous body. You will find monasteries galore in this region, so if you have to limit yourself to just a few, start with the colorful, ancient Lachung Gompa. Two metal dragons greet you in the prayer hall, and the murals are stunning. The second choice is Chungthang Monastery, with its interesting collection of unique Buddhist Paintings. Pass by the Carpet Weaving Center to watch local craftsmen create beautiful woolen carpets.

Anyone in need of a short getaway will relish Lachung and the Yumthang Valley’s serene beauty, exquisite floral display, and interesting cultural heritage. An immersion its such natural beauty will make you look at the world with different eyes.

In the uphill drive through the Yumthang Valley, the indie jeep is the preferred mode of transportation as it has the right torque to climb and is stable on the curves due to its weight

In the uphill drive through the Yumthang Valley, the indie jeep is the preferred mode of transportation as it has the right torque to climb and is stable on the curves due to its weight © Wei Shen


NAVIGATOR

How to get there: The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, then take the 4-hour drive to Gangtok. From here you can take the road via Chungthang to Lachung.

Where to stay: Make Lachung your base and explore the Yumthang Valley from there. Several guesthouses offer comfortable accommodation, while the Season House has wonderful views of Yumthang Valley.

Important information: Due to its proximity to the China-Indian border, visitors to Yumthang need permits for this region. Stop at any of the travel agencies in Gangtok to obtain the necessary documentation. Proof of ID and 2 passport photos are required.

The beautiful and stunning Valley of Flowers, which truly come alive in spring, during the months of March, April and May everywhere

The beautiful and stunning Valley of Flowers, which truly come alive in spring, during the months of March, April, and May everywhere © SIHASAKPRACHUM


CHECKLIST

The Valley of Flowers is an absolute must. Take time to wander around the meadows and mountain slopes to feast your eyes on the marvelous show of rhododendrons and many other wildflowers. Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary covers an area of 13 sq. miles/34 sq. km and has almost forty varieties of colorful rhododendrons.

Relax in a hot spring. Before you reach Yumthang Valley there is a short walkway that leads to the Yumthang Hot Spring. It is said that its water, rich in sulfur, heals ailments and aches. Bathing huts and pools are also available.

Taste the local food. Food is part of the culture, so try some of the regional delicacies, like tea momos, a wonderful combination of hot Sikkim tea accompanied by delicious potato momos. Many traditional dishes include ingredients foraged in the area, for instance, nettles and ferns. The result is an interesting, unusual culinary experience, which every adventurous food lover should try.

Fish for fish. Set aside one morning or afternoon to try your luck in the Teesta River or one of its tributaries. There are few better places for angling enthusiasts than here in these scenic surroundings.

Go shopping. The artisans of Sikkim specialize in woven carpets, and other wool products, the ideal reminder of your wonderful vacation in the splendor of the Yumthang Valley.

Mist covers the mountains as one enters the Shingba Sanctuary near Yumthang Valley, which is dedicated to the beautiful Rhododendron trees of the landscape

Mist covers the mountains as one enters the Shingba Sanctuary near Yumthang Valley, which is dedicated to the beautiful Rhododendron trees of the landscape © Amitrane


Some Images From Our Trip To Yumthang Valley

The bright yellow leaves of Rhododendron trees shine through the dark forest of the Yumthang Valley, also known as the Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary

The bright yellow leaves of Rhododendron trees shine through the dark forest of the Yumthang Valley, also known as the Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary © S B Stock


Wild yellow orchids in the Yumthang Valley, commonly known as Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary due to the great number of commercial and wildflowers which adorn this picturesque landscape

Wild yellow orchids in the Yumthang Valley, commonly known as Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary due to the great number of commercial and wildflowers that adorn this picturesque landscape © Kittu’s


The purple Himalayan Primrose of the genus Primula Farinosa blooming in the rocky terrain of the Yumthang Valley. © Arijeet Bannerjee

The purple Himalayan Primrose of the genus Primula Farinosa blooming in the rocky terrain of the Yumthang Valley © Arijeet Bannerjee


Tourists play and snap pictures in the fresh snow of the Yumthang Valley at Zero Point which is to the end of the road

Tourists play and snap pictures in the fresh snow of the Yumthang Valley at Zero Point which is to the end of the road © SIHASAKPRACHUM


Tibetan prayer flags standing in a grass field in the cold wind of the winter season in Yumthang Valley; Buddhism is the commonly practiced religion in the area

Tibetan prayer flags standing in a grass field in the cold wind of the winter season in Yumthang Valley; Buddhism is the commonly practiced religion in the area © Artit Wongpradu


The roads leading to the Yumthang valley are full of the notorious hairpin curves that wind sharply, but offer an ever increasingly fascinating view of the valley below

The roads leading to the Yumthang valley are full of the notorious hairpin curves that wind sharply but offer an ever-increasingly fascinating view of the valley below © Jayanta Basu


The pristine Teesta river flowing through the Yumthang Valley, softening the edges of river stones, is one of the most popular postcard images from the valley

The pristine Teesta river flowing through the Yumthang Valley, softening the edges of river stones, is one of the most popular postcard images from the valley © Roop_Dey


The Lachung Stupa is the prayer spot for the residents of the Yumthang Valley falling in Lachung in the north of Sikkim

The Lachung Stupa is the prayer spot for the residents of the Yumthang Valley falling in Lachung in the north of Sikkim © Nattee Chalermtiragool


A devotee heads into the Lachung Stupa to offer her prayers as the wind blows the prayer flags in the Yumthang Valley

A devotee heads into the Lachung Stupa to offer her prayers as the wind blows the prayer flags in the Yumthang Valley © Nattee Chalermtiragool


The icy peaks of the Himalayan Range towering in the skies as seen from the Yumthang Valley in Sikkim

The icy peaks of the Himalayan Range towering in the skies as seen from the Yumthang Valley in Sikkim © Images of India


Cattle graze in the grasslands in the otherwise rocky terrain of the Yumthang Valley with snow covered peaks in the background

Cattle graze in the grasslands in the otherwise rocky terrain of the Yumthang Valley with snow-covered peaks in the background © Snehasish Nag


A parking spot for jeep used by visitors to get to the Zero Point at Lachung in North Sikkim, with snowclad mountains of the winter season in the back

A parking spot for jeep used by visitors to get to the Zero Point at Lachung in North Sikkim, with snowclad mountains of the winter season in the back © Artit Wongpradu


A mountain river flows through the Natural Reserve in the Kanchenjunga area while misty clouds cover the peaks of the mountains

A mountain river flows through the Natural Reserve in the Kanchenjunga area while misty clouds cover the peaks of the mountains © Dzerkach Viktar


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