The big day was finally here! Woke up at 5:30 am. Got ready and called the driver. To my surprise he was surprised to see me ready and willing to leave before 6:30 am as it was quite dark outside. We left the hotel, met the travel agent and took my permit from him and proceeded towards Nathula pass.
Tsongmo lake also called Changu lake lies between Gangtok and Nathula pass. After an hour of drive I reached Tsongmo lake. There was fresh snow all over the place. The roads were covered with snow so was the lake. A big Part of the lake was frozen. There were no other tourists or travellers there because I reached before 8 am. It was all good, the frozen lake, bitting wind and me.
Moving on from the Tsongmo lake, I headed towards Baba mandir. It is a temple made by Indian army for a soldier named Harbhajan singh. It is said that he mysteriously went missing and wasn't ever found. Though many people have claimed to see him in their dreams and so they decided to make a temple in his memory.
Baba mandir is accompanied by a statue of lord Shiva made up of white marble, sitting, meditating in the Himalayas.
Never saw a a Shiva statue more fascinating. There was a waterfall behind the statue, which was frozen, adding four moons to the pictures I clicked.
Now the actual journey towards the Nathula pass started. Road was full of snow and it was quite hard for the driver to control the vehicle. Saw many accidents on the way. The army men were clearing the snow from the roads along with the locals to help vehicles pass.
Nathula pass is the Indo-china border. My driver was busy showing me buildings in China. He was like,'brother see, that building is in China, that building is a military hospital, that pillar, can you see? It also lies in china'. He was more excited than me, I felt.
On the way to Nathula pass I saw two more lakes. Manju lake and Thangu lake. Manju lake is a small lake, looked like a pond to me. Thangu lake was big, frozen and surrounded by snow capped mountains.
After an hour of drive reached Nathula pass. The place was all white. The temperature was -14℃. That's the coldest place I have ever been to. It is situated at 14400fts above sea level. I could easily feel the scarcity of oxygen in the air. It was difficult to walk. I saw a bench and headed towards it, sat there for few minutes, watching the army men, their camps, the Chinese troops, the Indian flag, thinking about the hardship these people go through to keep us all safe.
The driver came and said we should start going back as the weather was starting to get bad. It was all dark around me. 1 pm looked like 6 pm. There was no sun only the black clouds. We started going back because if we get caught in the snow storm we will be struck in the pass with no certainty.
While returning the Tsongmo lake was crowded with tourists and beautiful yaks. I stopped for a while to click few pictures then headed towards Gangtok.
This was the last day of the great adventure I was seeking through out the year. I wanted to end it on a good note which led me to the nearest wine shop. It was time for a little celebration. I celebrated the end of the journey.