Day 3We had to leave early morning at around 7 AM for Nathula pass, so we had our documents ready along with the cab waiting downstairs to take us to Nathula pass. It is a journey you can do within a day, so you can comeback to Gangtok by the evening. We were wearing leather jackets but were suggested to rent a jacket which can keep us warm and protect us from the rain as it was raining on our way to Nathula. We rented jackets at about 100rs per jacket from a shop and it was a life saver as we got to experience live snow and it was freezing out there on our way back I was able to capture the view of changu lake like I had only seen in movies. We reached Gangtok at around 5 PM and had dinner early along with their local red wine Saino which became my favorite drink during my entire trip as we had to leave early tomorrow for our 3 days trip to Lachen and Lachung.
Nathu La Pass (India-China Border)It took us around 35-40 minutes from Changu Lake to Nathu La Pass. Nathu La Pass is located at a height of 14,140 feet.
Day5: Nathula passAn important pass on the crossroads of the Indo-China border, Nathula Pass forms a part of an offshoot of the Old Silk Road. Things haven’t changed much and the pass still indulges passing tourists in pretty much the same way as it once catered to traders and merchants. Take a trip to Nathula Pass to escape the monotonous squalor of the big city life.Only Indian nationals with a valid permit can visit the Nathula Pass. How to get Nathula Pass permit? A permit can be obtained by applying to the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department. You can apply through a registered travel agency. A photo ID proof and two passport size photographs are required for the same. The Nathula Pass permit cost is INR 200/- per person. We got our permits from the hotel staff , who also arranged the taxi for us. While visiting Nathula you can also go to famous Tsogmo lake and Baba Mandir.We got lucky and when we reached Nathula pass, snow fall started which just made our day.
As we reached closer to the border, the heavy snowfall, subzero temperature and the altitude made it a little difficult to breathe properly. Also, the army men didn’t allow the visitors to stay at the top for more than a minute. Actually, there was nothing much to see. We could see the China headquarters and an iron fence separating the two lands. The snow had made everything nebulous. We came back to the car in another half an hour and enjoyed the snowfall for some more time.Unfortunately, because of heavy snowfall, the route to Baba Mandir was blocked. Consequently, we started our journey back to Gangtok, planning to stop at Tsongmo Lake for pictures.By the time we reached there, it started throwing cobbler’s knives (Heavy rain- Ireland). We despise the idea of hurting or causing trouble to animals for our own benefit and thus, we opted out from the Yak Ride. Tsongmo Lake is 1km in length and half of it was frozen in April. The landscape is majestic. Since the area is at the tree line, there is hardly any greenery there. Only the pastel shades of brown and grey paint the panorama.
Earlier used for trading between the Indian and Tibetan locals, Nathu La (La meaning Pass) lies at the Indo Chinese border. 56 km from Gangtok, one has to pass through Tsongmo Lake to reach this place. It is mostly covered with snow throughout the year and the subzero temperatures are very common. The pass constitutes the Eastern Himalayas and the beauty of the snow-clad peaks at the tree line is bound to leave one enchanted.