Lachung is located at the confluence of the Lachen River and Lachung River which are the tributaries of the Teesta River. The town is approximately 125 km from the capital Gangtok. The Indian Army has a forward base in the town. Lachung had served as the trading post between Sikkim and Tibet until the annexation of Tibet in 1950.
Culture and Administration of Lachung
The word Lachung means "small pass". Lachung is famous for its distinctive culture and tradition. Most of the Lachung's inhabitants are of Lepcha Tribe and Tibetan descent. Languages spoken here are Nepali, Lepcha and Bhutia.
The town is operated under the unique system of self governance called the Zumsa. Here all local disputes are settled by a totally representative body of the village which is headed by an elected Pipon.
Tourism in Lachung
Tourism is one of the most important modes of income and in the recent past it has been boosted by the Indian government. Tourist coming from different parts of the world on their way to Yumthang Valley and the Lachung Monastery visit the town. This picturesque mountain village possesses a pictorial sight of the mountain peaks, waterfalls and streams. Lachung is famous for its apples, peaches and apricots; the apple orchards are worth seeing here.
Lachung is also the base camp for Rhododendron Valley Trek which starts from Yumthang Valley and ends at Lachen Valley. Skiing is conducted in Phuni near this town. Lachung Gompa, Shingba Rhododendron Sancturay, Yumesamdong, MT. Katao, Mankhim Temple, Bhewma Falls, Amitabh Bacchan Waterfalls, Bhim Nala Fall and Lachung River are some of the popular tourist spots of this town. Some of them have been discussed below:
Lachung Gompa: One of the most interesting tourist spots here is the Lachung Gompa that had been built around 1880. It is a monastery situated in the midst of apple orchards. The monastery arranges a musk dance each year, which is quite popular festival among the local people of Lachung.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary: This sanctuary is famous for its collection of different species of Rhododendron that bloom during the months of April - May. The handicraft centre located here is also of much interest and is worth visiting.
Visiting Information to Lachung
The best time to visit this place is from October to May; the town is covered with snow during winter season. Bagdogra Airport and Jalpaiguri Railway Station are the nearest to this town. Lachung can also be reached by road via National Highway 12.