Chungthang is a small town in North Sikkim, located at the junction of the Lachen and Lachung rivers, where they form the Teesta River, considered to be the most important river in Sikkim. Located at an altitude of 1790 m, it is one of the primary military bases of the country due to its proximity to the China border.
Chungthang is considered to be a sacred site by locals and Buddhists. It is believed to be the place where Guru Padmasambhava himself walked around and sat on a rock. This rock has a crack and footprints of Padmasambhava as per saga. There is also a paddy field, which is a natural wonder as the climate of the town is not suited to grow paddy. Another saga around Chungthang is of Guru Nanak Dev having crossed the town on his way to Tibet.
What to see
Chungthang offers splendid views of the mountain scenery with small shops and eateries in traditional mountain houses. It is a good place to take a refreshment break while on the road and taste some of the delicious local dishes of the Lepchas and Buddhists. The locals are friendly and courteous, giving an insider’s view of this part of the country. While in Chungthang, you can see some of the revered sites of Buddhists.
The Holy Rock
This is the sacred rock where Guru Padmasambhava sat, where a continuous stream of mineral water flows till today. The paddy growing around the rock is also tied to the same legend, wherein Guru Padmasambhava sprinkled some grains of rice.
Confluence of Rivers
This is the spot where the Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu unite to form the Teesta River. It is common to see people swimming or fishing in this area. You can also take a picnic break here, enjoying beautiful scenery all around with the flowing water of the rivers completing the picture of natural serenity. Rafting is also one of the activities possible in the water of the rivers. It is best to enquire about the best season and availability of rafting facilities from travel agents.
When to reach
Chungthang is cooler than some of the other towns, as it is higher in altitude. The best time to visit is during the summer months of March-June and the autumn months from October-December.
How to reach
Chungthang is well connected by road to Gangtok and other main towns of Sikkim. It is also connected by road to the closest airport Pakyong Airport around 104 km and Bagdogra Airport around 175 km. Also, the closest railway station is New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal.
The most convenient way to reach Chungthang and get around is by booking a taxi with a travel agent. The public transport in Sikkim is very infrequent and not predictable.