Nathula Pass in Gangtok, Sikkim
Warmth of spirit on Snow Cladded Mountain
Rated 4.1/5 (based on 1371 reviews )
Best time to visit
Feb - Apr
About Nathula Pass in Gangtok
Nathula Pass in Gangtok, Sikkim is a high-altitude mountain pass in the Eastern Himalayas. The adventurous pass is accessible from Gangtok throughout the year. The Kailash Mansarovar route from Nathula Pass takes tourists and pilgrims to China-occupied Tibet.
It is located at an altitude of 14,450 feet and 56 km from Gangtok and it is one of the three open trading borders between India and China. It is famous for its picturesque beauty and beautiful environment.
Nathu La in Sikkim used to be the Old Silk Route between India and Tibet until 1962. When war broke out between India and China, this passage closed and reopened after 44 years on 2006. Items such as wool, raw silk, yak hair, yak tail, China clay, horses, sheep etc. can be imported duty free from Tibet through this route, while 29 items including clothes, tea, coffee, rice etc. can be exported to China. It also shortens the distance between the important Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage sites, thus strengthening the economy and improving border relations with China.
Permits for Nathula Pass are available only for domestic tourists 4 days a week (Wed-Thursday and Sat-Sunday). Special permits are issued by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim. The number of vehicles is also restricted at the pass to maintain environment.
As a tourist, you can visit border trade market at Sherathang. Close to Sherathang, there is a magnificent place like Kupup which is mostly covered by clouds. It has world’s second largest Golf course. Other than this, you can visit Gnathang Monastery, Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, a shrine temple built in memory of Baba Harbhajan Singh, an Indian soldier, who died near Nathula, a popular sightseeing spot. The Gnathang war memorial was built in the memory of British soldiers who died in a war with Tibet in 1800s. On the way to Nathula you will come across a place called Thegu. which has the highest altitude ATM in the world.
Nathula Pass passes through Tsomgo Lake, a popular tourist destination in the region and does not have human inhabitation. This place is a home for birds like black eagle, blue whistling thrush, redstarts, folk, tit-blabber etc. The region also supports Himalayan wildlife like Tibetan gazelle, snow leopard, yaks, Tibetan wolves, etc. Nathula has a rich variety of flora apart from a spectacular wildlife range. Every year, several tourist folks come here for trekking in the valley and enjoy the scenic beauty. There are a lot of gush waterfalls along the way from Gangtok to Nathula. Also, it offers an opportunity to see beautiful snow peaks encircling the area.
Shopping Places near Nathula Pass
If you enjoy shopping, the Indo-Chinese trade market operates from 1st June to 30th September every year and from Monday to Thursday every week. During that period, Trade marts are set up on both Indian as well as Tibet side. The Indian trade mart is located at a place called Sherathang about 3kms below Nathula pass and you can see India's highest altitude internet Cafe.
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FAQ's of Gangtok
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There are a number of treks one can go for but all the treks require a decent fitness level. Some of them are Dzongri, Versay, Tholung, Goecha La, Tosar Lake, Everest Singalila and Green Lake trek.
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