Zero Point Sikkim 2024 Lachung

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Zero Point Sikkim

Zero Point Sikkim 2024 Lachung

Zero Point Sikkim 2024: It is also known as Yum Samdong, Zero Point stands at an impressive altitude of 15,300 feet above sea level, marking the final frontier of civilization.

This remote location serves as the confluence of three rivers, offering a breathtaking view of snow-clad mountains and picturesque surroundings. The proximity of the international border between India and China makes it necessary for visitors to obtain permission to enter.

The journey takes about 1.5 hours to the beautiful Yumthang Valley, located 25 kilometers away, and 3 to 3.5 hours to the quaint town of Lachung. The absence of civilian roads beyond Zero Point contributes to its naming, reflecting its status as the literal terminus.

Zero Point Sikkim

Despite the potentially challenging roads, the journey is rewarded with awe-inspiring and pristine mountain landscapes. The rarity of the green expanse becomes apparent at the zero point, which emerges only as the snow gradually recedes. A trip to this remote destination is further enhanced by the possibility of encountering a yak amid the snow-covered terrain, adding an extra layer of charm to this extraordinary experience.

Places To Visit In Lachung

  • Lachung Monastery: 

    Lachung Monastery offers a beautiful view of the beautiful Lachung Chu River. Situated at an altitude of about 2,750 metres, it serves as the gateway to the Green Lake Trek, which adds to its attraction as a symbol of cultural and religious heritage. Established by the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism in 1806, the monastery stands as a testament to centuries-old traditions.

    At the center of its spiritual importance, Lachung Monastery is home to a grand edifice, while it also houses an iconic statue of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery itself is a vibrant and compact structure, with a two-storey prayer hall that reflects the cultural richness. The porch is decorated with two carefully crafted, extra-heavy prayer wheels with intricately carved metal dragons that add a touch of mystery to the surroundings. This harmonious blend of natural beauty and cultural splendor makes Lachung Monastery a captivating destination for those seeking peace and a deeper connection with the spiritual heritage of the region.

  • Chungthang:

    Chungthang is a charming town situated at an altitude of 1,790 metres, about 95 km from Gangtok. Blessed with abundant natural beauty, this tranquil valley is believed to be under the divine protection of Guru Padmasambhava, a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism and the patron saint of Sikkim.

    The sanctity of Chungthang is marked by a rock bearing the palm and foot impressions of Guru Padmasambhava, from which mineral water continuously flows. A revered site considered sacred by devotees. Nearby, a piece of land blessed by the Guru defies nature, as the paddy, initially sown by him, continues to flourish despite the agricultural challenges of the region. Legend has it that the term ‘Demazong’ or hidden valley of rice, which is the nickname of Sikkim, originated in Chungthang, highlighting its historical and cultural significance in the region.

  • Yumthang:

    Yumthang, often known as the Valley of Flowers, transcends seasons, turning into a white wonderland in winter and an explosion of colors in summer. Few places in the country compete with the year-round natural splendor of Yumthang, making it a picturesque destination. In spring, the valley is lit up with a vibrant display of rhododendrons and primulas, creating a picturesque canvas of colours. The Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, which is home to more than 20 rhododendron species, adds to the valley floor in a riot of colors with shades of red, purple and pink against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

    This sanctuary is a must visit during April to May, when the flowers are in full bloom and create a surreal landscape. Yumthang is a popular hot spring on the right side of the river, which provides a tranquil spot for tourists. The flat valley surrounded by lush green mountains and the picturesque Yumthang River flowing through alpine meadows create a mesmerizing sight. Situated at an altitude of 3,597 metres, Yumthang is located 25 km north of Lachung.

    For a cultural experience, plan your visit between February and March, which coincides with the famous Buddhist festival of Losar. Embrace the allure of Yumthang’s ever-changing beauty and cultural festivities during this optimal time frame.

Planning Your Visit to Zero Point Sikkim: Permits, Documents, and Best Times

Zero Point Sikkim

Permits Required:

  1. Protected Area Permit (PAP):
    • Mandatory for all visitors, including Indian citizens, to access certain protected areas.
    • Valid for seven days.
    • Application process can be done offline.
  2. Inner Line Permit (ILP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP):
    • Essential for foreign nationals entering the state.
    • RAP is valid for 30 days, and ILP/RAP application is free of cost.
    • PAP fees are approximately 200 INR.
    • ILP/RAP application can be done online or offline.
  3. Restrictions:
    • Foreigners cannot visit specific areas like Nathula, Gurudongmar Lake, and Zuluk.
    • Nationals of Pakistan, China, Myanmar, and Nigeria require prior approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

Documents and IDs Required:

  • For ILP/RAP: Passport, Visa, Passport size photographs.
  • For PAP: Identity proof (Pan Card/Aadhaar Card/Voter ID), Passport size photographs.
  • RAP can be extended for 30 days, while PAP cannot be extended.

For more details, click here.

Application Locations:

  • Permits can be obtained from Gangtok Tourism Office, District Administrative Centre, and Chungathang Sub-divisional Magistrate’s office.
  • Authorized tour and travel companies also provide tours including permits.

Best Time to Visit:

  1. Late February to Mid-June:
    • Witness the blooming of thousands of colorful flowers, showcasing the real natural beauty of Yumthang Valley, Lachung, and Zero Point Sikkim.
  2. October – December:
    • Ideal for adventure enthusiasts and enjoying views of crisp snowy mountain ranges.
  3. Zero Point Closure:
    • Closed after mid-December and January due to harsh weather conditions.
    • Reopens in February, depending on weather conditions.

Travel Tip:

  • For the best visibility, take a taxi to Zero Point early in the morning from Lachung, enhancing your experience at these high altitudes.

How to Reach Zero Point Sikkim

By Air:

  • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra, West Bengal.
  • Distance to Gangtok: Approximately 124 km.
  • Connectivity: Well-linked to major cities across India.
  • Helicopter Services: Operated by Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, offering daily services from Bagdogra to Gangtok in just 20 minutes.

By Train:

  • Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Siliguri, West Bengal (117 km).
  • Commute to Gangtok: Shared taxis available from NJP, charging approximately INR 200-250.

By Road:

  • Sikkim State Transport Buses: Regular services between Gangtok and Siliguri.
  • Private Transportation: Hire private buses, jeeps, and taxis from Siliguri and Bagdogra.

Local Transportation:

  • From Gangtok:
    • Taxis and cabs readily available.
    • Numerous travel agencies offering packages inclusive of Yumthang Valley, Lachen, and necessary permits.

Plan your journey wisely and consider the diverse transportation options available to ensure a seamless and memorable visit to the captivating Zero Point in Sikkim.

Related Article: Gangtok Snowfall Time Best To Visit Sikkim 2024

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