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An adventurous trip to Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass In Gangtok

Warmth of spirit on Snow Cladded Mountain

Tourism in Gangtok

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Nathula Pass In Gangtok (2020)

Nathula Pass in Gangtok, Sikkim is a high-altitude mountain pass in the Eastern Himalayas. 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. 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 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 in 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 in Gangtok 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 the environment. 

History of Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass is a mountain pass at a height of 4310 meters above the sea level. The pass serves as the connector between Sikkim and China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass is closed for around 40 years when China suppressed the Tibetan uprising. Later on, in the year 2006, it was reopened and now it serves as the Border Personnel Meeting Point between both the armies of the two countries.

Information Related to Nathula Pass Permit

Nathula Pass in Gangtok is open for tourists from Wednesday to Sunday. Tourists traveling to Nathula Pass need to carry a valid permit from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department. Only Indian tourists are allowed to visit the Nathula Pass with a permit and no foreign tourists will be allowed to enter the Nathula Pass.

Major Attractions in Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass in Gangtok is famous for various tourist attractions. Some of them are listed below:

Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir: This mandir has immense importance and rich history attached to it. The mandir was built in the memory of an army personnel Harbhajan Singh who died at Nathula while protecting the country. People of Sikkim state that Baba Harbhajan Singh is always on duty and guards the border. He notifies the army of any foreseen danger. Take a trip to Nathula pass and visit this astounding place.

Mera Bharat Mahan Hill: While going to Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, you will come across this hill on the way where “Mera Bharat Mahan” is written which is worth watching.

Tsomgo Lake: Tsomgo Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes in the country with stunning landscape surrounding the lake. Tourists need to avail for the permit before going to this lake.

Mandakini Waterfalls: The cascade of water falling from a height looks mesmerizing and is a great place for a picnic with scenic views of the surrounding. See the mesmerizing spot with a trip to Nathula Pass.

Indo-China Border: There is a staircase which will take you to the Indo-China Border where you can have a glimpse of the Chinese soldiers on the other side of the border.

As a tourist, you can visit the border trade market at Sherathang. Close to Sherathang, there is a magnificent place like Kupup which is mostly covered by clouds. It has the 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.

Trip to Nathula Pass

Trip to Nathula Pass in Gangtok can be taken by Indians with a valid permit and this permit has to be taken from Tourism and Civil Aviation Department. Travelers must take extra precautions during winters as the temperature drops below -25°C and during summers the temperature remains around 10°C. 

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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