Chaurigang / Chaunrikhiang / Chaunrikhang / Chowrikhang / Chaurikhang
Chaurigang (about 4,380 meters / 14,450 feet), a meadow located at the snout of East Rathong Glacier in West Sikkim, India, receives good amount of snow. The meadow lends itself to the views of imposing bare and snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. You can enjoy the views of Frey (5,830 meters / 19,240 feet), Talung (7,307 meters / 24,112 feet), Rathong (6,680 meters / 22,044 feet), Kokthang (6,148 meters / 20, 290 feet), Kabru (7,340 meters / 24, 223 feet), Palung and Bidhan Chandra peaks.
Kokthang (6,147 meters) is located to the south of the Rathong Glacier. Many humps on the serrated ridge crowning the peak create an illusion of conquering the summit although the climber may have reached one of the several humps. The highest point of the ridge is the true summit. Kokthang and Rathong peaks are separated by a deep saddle known as Rathong Pass (5,197 meters / 17,050 feet). The pass, below the Rathong Peak, is not very far from the Indo-Nepal border.
Chaurigang is not only the base camp for several high altitude treks but also the training area for mountaineering courses conducted by Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (H.M.I.), Darjeeling. The high altitude meadow lies within the wealthy Khangchendzonga National Park (K.N.P.). The wealth is being reviewed to assess its suitability to be inscribed on the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) world heritage site (WHS) list.
East Rathong (Ratong) Glacier is the source of the Chokchurang Chhu (river), one of the principal tributaries of the Rathong Chhu. The second principal tributary of the Rathong Chhu is the Prek Chhu that originates from Onglakthang Glacier. The Rathong Chhu, the sacred river, feeds the Rangit River, the largest tributary of the Teesta (Tista) River. The Rangit meets the Teesta at the right bank. The government planned to dam the Rathong. However, the proposed 99 MW Ting Ting Hydro Electricity Project on the river near Yoksum was scrapped, as the locals revere the river and use the water in various religious ceremonies.