I had got up in time to experience the sunrise in Lachung. A thunderous night had given way to a serene and peaceful morning in this faraway village offering a fascinating view of snow-capped peaks of Himalayas. I ambled along the road which meandered through the village for a while, relishing the quietude. The only sound was of the gushing waters of Lachung river. Within a few minutes the valley was lit by the morning rays which made the peaks glow.
By now quite a few shared taxis started to pass by which I assumed were going towards Yumthang Valley and further to Zero point. Around 6’o clock a group of women who had stayed in the same resort as ours was also ready to leave for their excursion to the valley. We ourselves were supposed to start around the same time but our driver had not turned up. While we waited for him the departure of other groups made us more eager by the moment. Finally the guy arrived and we were on the move just a little before 7’o clock.
Yumthang Valley is just around 20 km from Lachung but the manager at the hotel had told that it would take around 1 hour to reach there because of the rough terrain. Our short journey began with a scrutiny of our permits at the army check post at Lachung and within minutes we found ourselves in mid of a spellbinding landscape.The interplay between the green fields, lovely blue sky and glowing white peaks was fascinating. We could not resist stopping at one such point which had all these elements in a beautiful harmony.
Till now the roads were pretty ok and estimated time to complete the journey seemed to be an exaggeration but once we restarted the terrain really got tough and our speed slowed down. We had also entered the valley of Rhododendrons, only a month from now beautiful red flowers would bloom all around in this scenic landscape. The temperature previous night had touched zero in Lachung and higher up where we now treaded it had snowed. The snow laden peaks now stood almost next to the road and not in the distant horizon. We stopped again, played in the fresh soft snow which lay there by the road while being absolutely wonderstruck with the spectacular topography of the place.
The last stretch of this fascinating drive to Yumthang Valley was through a dense and beautiful coniferous forest. The ornate conifers were laden with snow which had come down the previous night. They were so close that their branches brushed the windows of our car. You could take your hand out to shake them and let the snow slip down. Amidst all the white there were flashes of red, a few Rhododendrons had already bloomed. In a matter of a few days these beautiful red flowers would colour this entire valley.
While we were busy admiring the abundant beauty all around we had made our way to the spot famous for hot springs known to have healing powers. A small array of shops there sold much-needed refreshments. A cup of tea and Maggi in such a magnificent ambience was a breakfast we would always remember.We also rented ourselves pairs of boots to walk around. The springs were on the other side of the Lachung river, a small pedestrian bridge decorated with prayer flags was the way to get there.With our little daughter it seemed too long a walk so we decided to stay back on our side. Right on the edge of our end of the bridge I had stood and looked at the scene which was right out from a postcard. On the horizon were tall peaks, with Lachung river flowing through confined by tall conifers laden with milky white snow on either side. We did not go to the hot springs but the surreal surroundings we found ourselves in were themselves worth the stop here.
After this short stop it took us only a few minutes to reach the Yumthang Valley. It was like a huge and expansive playground of snow which extended until horizon. Lachung river flowed closer to the far end and quite a few people had walked all the way, we did too. It was an out of the world view and words would not do justice to the amazing landscape we were in. We were clear that whatever happens in our trip but a few hours spent here in Yumthang Valley would be the highlight of our vacation.