Demographics of Lachen
Lachen is a medium size village located in Chungthang Sub Division of North Sikkim district. As per the 2011 census report, Lachen has a population of about 1325 of which 736 are male while 589 are female. The total population of children in the village between the ages 0-6 years is 9.74%. The child sex ratio for Lachen as per census is 792, which is less than the Sikkim average of 957. Basically, the average sex ratio of the village is 800, which is lower than the state average of 890.
The literacy rate of Lachen village is 52.09 percent compared to 81.42 percent of Sikkim. In Lachen, the male literacy stands at 60.39 percent while female literacy rate stands at 41.73 percent. As per the Constitution of India and Panchayati Raj Act, Lachen village is administrated by a Sarpanch-Head of Village, who is the elected representative of the village.
Political Scenario of Lachen
Lachen is a small village town with about 150 households with their own system of rules and regulations. It is a traditional administrative institution of the village known as Dzumsa. It is a self-governing system where a headman, known as the 'Pipon', is elected to chair the community where all the disputes are settled by democracy. This system of self-governance was established during the first half of the 19th century in order to provide structure and cohesion for societies and their activities.
Religious Scenario of Lachen
Lachen is home to a unique Sikkimese Bhutia community called the Lachenpas or Lepchas. These inhabitants of Lachen are a part of the Nyingma order of Himalayan Buddhism. The Nyingma tradition literally means ancient or school of the ancient translations because it was founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into old Tibetan in the 8th century.
Areas of Attraction in Lachen
Lachen is a less-populated beautiful holiday destination, known for its lush vegetation of grasslands and shrubs along-with apple orchards and rhododendrons. The village commands a panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains and is abundant in wildlife. The town forms the base to the Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. Some of the tourists spots have been detailed below:
Chopta Valley: Located at an altitude of 4000 meters, the Chopta Valley is a popular tourist destination with a rich flora of alpine vegetation, orchids, rhododendrons, and other wild flowers. The valley is criss-crossed by meandering rivers and it is here that one can actually walk over the frozen river during winter.
Gurudongmar Lake: Located at an altitude of 5,430 meters, the Gurudongmar Lake is considered to be one of the highest lakes in the world. The lake is named after the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Guru Rinpoche, also known as Guru Padmasambhava. The lake provides one of the source streams which joins the Tso Lahmu Lake and then forms the source of the Teesta River. The lake remains completely frozen in the winter months, from November to Mid-May. The area surrounding the lake, also known as Gurudongmar, is inhabited by yaks, blue sheep and other wildlife species.
Lachen Monastery: It is a Nyingma Buddhist monastery, which is seated at a picturesque location overlooking the village and housing the statue of Guru Padmasambhava. The premise of this sacred place is decorated with colourful prayer flags and prayer wheels. It is home to the Lachen Monastic School, which has become a major tourist attraction.
Few other tourist attractions include the Singhba Rhododendron Sanctuary, which is located in the Yumthang valley. Then there is the famous trek from Green Lake and Kanchenjunga National Park. The town is being promoted as a tourist destination by the Sikkimese government. Lachen also hosts an annual yak race, called the Thangu which is held in every summer.
Visiting Information on Lachen
The capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok has a heliport from where Lachen is at a fair distance of about 114 km. The nearest domestic airport is the Bagdogra Airport at Siliguri. Darjeeling Railway station is at a distance of 147 km from Lachen.