North Sikkim

Chungthang is a small town at the confluence of Lachen and Lachung rivers. Here the river Teesta, the lifeline of Sikkim is formed. The two most picturesque and common tourist destinations of North Sikkim, Lachen and Lachung, can be reached only through Chungthang. The North Sikkim Highway coming from Gangtok via Mongan bifurcates here. The road on the right leading towards Lachung and then to Yumthang valley, Yumesamdong and Katao, all in the high altitude plateau above 12000ft. The road on the left is called Lachen road and reaches Lachen and then further north up to Thangu, Gurudongmar and Tso-Lamu Lake on Tibet border.

The small town is full of legends that claim it to be the place from where the word Demaong (the hidden valley of rice) first originated in Sikkim. According to legend, the revered guru Padmasambhawa took rice here on his way to Tibet. Some of the rice is said to have fallen into the ground. The land even today grows rice where the surrounding area doesnt. There is a stone bearing the footprint of the Guru.

From Gangtok, Chungthang is less than 100 kms away but takes 5 hours or more due to the rough terrain. As for the rest of North Sikkim, a tourist must book a package tour and travel through authorised agent to get permit and direct travel is restricted. From Gangtok, you will first travel to Mangan (64 kms, 3 hours), the district capital of North Sikkim. From Mangan the road follows Teesta river till Chungthang only once crossing it at Tong (11 kms before the town). At Mangan and Tong check post you will need to show you permit before further travel.

All except rainy season!

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