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Yumthang Valley
About Yumthang Valley

Yumthang Valley is a place that is situated in the state of Sikkim. It is a famous place as it is a pretty location and one can get many wonderful views from here. The valley is known for the different varieties of flowers that are grown here and these include iris, primulas and poppies. The main flower in the region is the rhododendron. During the summer season the entire valley is covered with the rhododendrons and they are 24 species of these flowers that can be seen here. The River Teesta flows through the valley and there are a few shacks that can be seen along the banks. These are used by local herdsmen. The valley is a grazing ground and the local population brings their animals to graze during the summer.

Yumthang Valley is a grazing pasture which is enclosed by the Himalayan mountains in the North Sikkim district of Sikkim, India. It is at an altitude of 3,564 metres (11,800) at a distance of 150 km from the state capital Gangtok.

It is home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, and has over twenty-four species of the rhododendron, the state flower. A tributary of the river Teesta flows past the valley and the town of Lachung, the nearest inhabited centre. Yumthang is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall. Yumthang Valley is usually known as 'Valley of Flowers'.

A forest rest house is the only permanent residence in the valley. During the spring months, the area blooms with primulas, rhododendrons, poppies, iris and other flora. During the summer months, villagers take their cattle to these heights to graze (a practice known as yaylag pastoralism). In view of increasing number of tourists, there is possibility of environmental degradation in near future. Skiing is conducted in the valley.

Attractions of Yumthang Valley

The main attraction of the place is the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. It is also worth visiting the small town of Lachung. It is the nearest place that is inhabited in the region. There is a forest rest house that is present in the valley and this is the only permanent guest house in the area. The place can be reached from the town of Chungthang and this is the best place to stay in the region.

How to Reach Yumthang Valley

Tourists may travel from Gangtok to Lachung (the nearest village where accommodation is available) by booking a full vehicle or shared one and stay over night. A direct journey to Yumthang is not feasible as roads are usually foggy and it becomes dark very early around 5:30 pm. A trip to the Valley takes around two hours from Lachung, which is about 125 km from Gangtok.

The road to Yumthang from Gangtok follows the Teesta River, crossing a amazing gorge over the Rang Rang suspension bridge. The last major town is Chungthang about from where Lachung is an hours drive where tourists stay overnight.

The picturesque road from Lachung and Yumthang is lined with rhododendrons on both sides that bloom during the months of April and May giving the valley its name of the valley of flowers.

Due to its closeness to the Chinese boarder the region was unapproachable to common tourists, both Indian and foreign. Even now Yumthang is reached mostly as part of a tour group. Individual and independent travel can be organised on demand.



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