Are you looking for an adventurous and memorable trip to the Himalayas? Do you want to witness the stunning beauty of nature and the fascinating history of two ancient civilisations? If yes, then you should definitely visit Nathula Pass, a mountain pass that connects Sikkim in India and Tibet in China.
More About Nathula Pass
Nathula Pass is one of the highest and most scenic passes in the world, offering a panoramic view of the snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and sparkling lakes. It is also a place of great significance, as it was once a part of the Old Silk Route, a trade route that linked Asia with Europe and Africa. Nathula Pass is not only a border post, but also a pilgrimage site and a tourist attraction, attracting thousands of visitors every year.
In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about Nathula Pass, from how to obtain a permit, how to reach there, when to visit, what to see and do, and what tips and advice to follow.
How to Obtain a Permit to Visit Nathula Pass
Nathula Pass is a protected area and requires a permit to visit. Only Indian nationals are eligible to apply for a permit, and they need to provide an identity proof (such as Aadhaar card, voter ID card, passport, etc.) and two passport-sized photographs. The permit can be obtained through a registered travel agency in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
The travel agency will charge a nominal fee for the permit and arrange the transport to Nathula Pass. The permit is valid for one day only and allows entry to Nathula Pass between 8 am and 3 pm.
The permit is issued on a first-come-first-serve basis and is subject to availability and weather conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to apply for the permit at least one week in advance and avoid any last-minute hassles.
How to Reach Nathula Pass from Gangtok
Nathula Pass is located about 56 km from Gangtok and can be reached by road in about 2 hours. The road to Nathula Pass is steep, narrow, and winding, passing through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Sikkim. The road also crosses several checkpoints, where the permit and identity proof are verified.
The best way to reach Nathula Pass from Gangtok is by hiring a taxi, bus, or shared jeep from the taxi stand near MG Road or Lal Bazaar. The cost of hiring a vehicle varies depending on the season, demand, and bargaining skills. The average cost of hiring a taxi is around Rs. 4000-5000 for a round trip, while the cost of hiring a bus or shared jeep is around Rs. 800-1000 per person for a round trip.
Best Time to Visit Nathula Pass
Nathula Pass experiences extreme weather conditions throughout the year. The temperature ranges from -25°C in winter to 15°C in summer. The pass receives heavy snowfall from November to March, making it inaccessible for tourists. The pass also remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance purposes.
Therefore, the best time to visit Nathula Pass is from April to June and from September to October, when the weather is pleasant and clear. During these months, tourists can enjoy the spectacular views of the Himalayas and witness the changing colors of Tsomgo Lake. However, tourists should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature at any time of the year.
What to See and Do in Nathula Pass
Nathula Pass offers a variety of attractions and activities for tourists to see and do. Some of the highlights are:
Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple: A temple dedicated to Baba Harbhajan Singh, a soldier who died near Nathula Pass in 1968 and is believed to protect the area from any harm. The temple is revered by both Indian and Chinese soldiers, who offer prayers and offerings to Baba Harbhajan Singh. The temple also has a museum that displays his belongings and photographs.
Border Trade Market: A market where Indian and Chinese traders exchange goods such as woolen clothes, electronic items, dry fruits, etc. The market is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Tourists can also buy souvenirs from the market.
Indo-China Border Gates: The gates that mark the border between India and China and allow tourists to see the soldiers of both countries standing guard. Tourists can also take photographs with the soldiers and shake hands with them.
Tsomgo Lake: A glacial lake near Nathula Pass that is considered sacred by the locals. The lake changes its color according to the seasons, from blue in summer to frozen white in winter. The lake also hosts migratory birds such as Brahminy ducks and red pandas. Tourists can enjoy a yak ride or a cable car ride around the lake.
Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary: A wildlife sanctuary near Nathula Pass that is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. The sanctuary has a rich biodiversity, featuring rhododendrons, primulas, orchids, blue sheep, snow leopards, red pandas, etc. Tourists can also trek to the Kyongnosla Waterfall, which is a scenic spot.
Tips and Advice for Visiting Nathula Pass
Visiting Nathula Pass can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience, but it also requires some precautions and preparations. Here are some tips and advice for tourists who want to visit Nathula Pass:
Clothing: Nathula Pass is very cold and windy, so tourists should carry warm clothes such as jackets, sweaters, gloves, caps, socks, etc.
Medicines: Nathula Pass is at a high altitude of 14,140 feet above sea level, so tourists may experience altitude sickness, headache, nausea, dizziness, etc. They should carry medicines such as Diamox, Disprin, Avomine, etc. and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Water bottles: Tourists should carry their own water bottles and avoid buying plastic bottles from the shops.
Photography: Tourists can take photographs in Nathula Pass, but they should follow some rules and restrictions. They should not take photographs of the military installations, the border gates, or the Chinese side.
Nathula Pass is a unique and amazing destination that offers a blend of adventure, nature, and culture. It is a place where tourists can witness the beauty of the Himalayas, the history of the Old Silk Route, and the harmony of India and China.
Nathula Pass is a place that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits it. If you are looking for a trip that will challenge you, inspire you, and enrich you, then you should definitely visit Nathula Pass.
Also read: Nathula Pass: A truly enigmatic experience
So what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Nathula Pass with Tripoto now and get ready for an unforgettable experience.