Wrapped around in the ancient histories of India and China, the Nathula Pass is a snow-shrouded mountain pass situated in the Indo-China border region in the Himalayas. Nestled in the midst of the highest peaks in the world, the Nathula Pass's Height is an awe- inspiring 14,140 feet. Surrounded by glistening snow, the crisp mountain breeze and the low lying clouds make Nathula Pass an enchanting destination.
The Divine Beauty of Nathula Pass
What we now know as the Nathula Pass was once a part of the historic pathways of the Silk Route, which made their way from Lhasa in Tibet to the fertile plains of Bengal. The winding roads of the Gangtok- Nathula Highway is a breathtakingly beautiful sight to behold. Flanked by mountains on one side and pristine blue waters on the other, this sight is indeed ravishing. The Nathula Pass in itself is a delight, with snow finding its way as far as eyes can see. The endless carpet of the shimmering snow is sure to bring out the snowman sculptor in you!
Situated nearby is the fenced Indo-China border, which can be reached by walking a few paces up the stairs. Interestingly, there is no 'no man's land' here, and the armies of both India and China guard their sides of the land. The border check post at Nathula Pass is marked by the Border Gates of India and China, a war memorial and an Exhibition Centre of India Army. Other attractions nearby include the Tsongmo Lake and the Nathula Pass Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple.
The best time to visit Nathula Pass is from May to October when you can enjoy the beauty of Nathula Pass without having to endure the extremes of the cold Nathula Pass weather. During the winter months, the Nathula Pass weather is raging with snowfall and the pass remains closed for these months. Note that due to the very high altitude of this region, the levels of oxygen here are low. Tourists are advised to not undertake any strenuous activity and carry plenty of woolen clothes and sunscreen to beat the cold temperatures and direct sunlight.
The Nathula Pass
Picture Credits: ThinkingParticle.com
The border gates at Nathula Pass
Picture Credits: Panaromio.com
The war memorial at Nathula Pass
Picture Credits: iamsouvik.com
How to reach Nathula Pass
The great Nathula Pass height makes it a treacherous yet adventurous ride. In order to reach Nathula Pass, shared jeeps and other reserved vehicles are available from Gangtok. The Gangtok-Nathula Highway lies en route and is a charming sight to see. Vehicles only from Sikkim government approved tour operators are allowed in Nathula. Since the condition of the roads is not good, it is advised to take robust vehicles like Jeeps or SUVs while approaching Nathula.
How to get permit for Nathula Pass
The Nathula Pass is a restricted territory, with only citizens of India having access to it after obtaining the required permits. Permits are issued by the Sikkim Tourism Department in Gangtok and can be obtained through a registered tour agency. Some hotels also provide this service. For the permit, one needs a photo ID proof (PAN card not accepted) and two passport size photos each. For a hassle-free visit, one needs to apply for the permit, at least, one day prior to their planned visit. The Nathula Pass permit cost is Rs. 200/- per person. Permits are not required or issued to children below 4 years.
Places to visit around Nathula Pass
Watershed War Memorial: The Watershed War Memorial is a befitting tribute to the brave soldiers of our country, who laid down their lives while protecting the nation in the post- independence period. Located at a distance of about 5 kilometers from the Pass, this memorial reminds one and all of the great sacrifices made by the Army for the nation.
The Watershed War Memorial
Picture Credits: Tripadvisor.com
Nathula Pass Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple: The Nathula Pass Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir is a shrine dedicated to the Indian army soldier Major Harbhajan Singh, who died in the Nathula Pass in 1968. Revered as a holy saint, the faithful which includes soldiers of the Indian Army, believe that Baba Harbhajan protects every soldier in the perilous terrain of Nathula Pass and also fulfil the wishes of his devotees.
Nathula Pass Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple
Tsongmo Lake: The Tsongmo lake, also known as the Changu Lake is a glacial lake located at about 40 kilometers from Gangtok. The lake, which remains frozen during the winter months, reflects a number of colours off of its surface and is held in esteemed admiration by the locals. The lake in itself is an enchanting sight to regard, with its sparkling blue waters and awe-inspiring surroundings.
The Tsongmo Lake
Picture credits: lonelyplanet.in
In conclusion, Nathula Pass makes for an amazing and truly spellbinding trip, which is sure to capture your heart and mind for a long, long time!