Nathula Pass is located 56 km from Gangtok at an altitude of 14450 ft, bordering between India and China in the Tibetan Plateau. An Ancient Silk Route (also spell Ntula, Natu La, Nathu la) is a pass on the Indo-China border connecting the Indian state of Sikkim with South Tibet. It is one of the highest motor-able roads and is maintained by the Border Roads Organization, a wing of the Indian Army and is richly covered by many varieties of alpine flora and fauna. It is most tranquil place to visit.
On the Pass the Indian army and the Chinese border guards are within touching distance of each other. Nathula Pass used to be a main gateway for Sikkim -Tibet Trade (also known as SILK ROUTE) until it was called off in 1961. Shortly later China and India fought a bitter war and trade never resumed. Till then, China had a trade office in Kalimpong, a People’s Bank of China in Kolkata and also a consulate there.
After remaining closed for more than 40 years, the pass is due to open for trade on 2006. Thanks to the Indian Prime Minister’s Visit to China, the announcement of Resumption of Indo-Tibet trade through Nathula was made official on 23rd June 2003. With declaration of trade, tourism will not be far behind. The pass is useful for Indo-China foreign trade promotion.
Nathula Things to do
There are numerous waterfalls that are located along the route from Gangtok to Nathula. The drive from Gangtok can be an exhilarating experience as one can get a view of many snow clad peaks along the way. One has to climb up a set of steps to reach the pass itself and you can engage in conversation with both Indian and Chinese soldiers. SUVs that have permits are the only vehicles that are allowed in the region.
This place also turns out to be a great destination for people looking to shop for some locally items. There are many small shops by the side of Tsomgo Lake that sell sweaters, shawls, scarves and thermals, all with a tag saying ‘Made In China’. Also enjoy a Yak Safari on the banks of the lake, which might not be as fast and thrilling as a roller coaster ride, but definitely entertaining.
Baba Temple near Nathula Pass : Baba Harbhajan Shrine was built in the memory of an Indian soldier of Punjab Regiment, Harbhajan Singh, who sacrificed his life in this difficult terrain in 1968. For the convenience of viewing at a glance.
Many pilgrims from the country of Tibet pass through the Nathula Pass to visit the numerous religious sites that are present here. The place can be visited only on certain days of the week and there is a restriction on the number of vehicles that can travel to the place on any particular day. Foreign tourists are also not allowed to visit the place and they can travel only up to the Tsongo Lake.
The Nathula Pass can be accessed from the hill town of Gangtok and the only way to reach the place is using four wheeled vehicles.
By Air : The closest airport is situated in the town of Bagdogra and one has to reach here and take a taxi to Gangtok and switch to a four wheel drive vehicle to reach the Nathula Pass. The airport is located around 84 kilometers away from the town of Gangtok. It is well connected to places such as Guwahati, New Delhi and Kolkata. There are two daily flights from Delhi to Bagdogra. Taxis are available from the airport and they cost around Rs 7 per kilometer for the trip.
By Train : The nearest railhead is situated in the town of Jalpaiguri and this is at a distance of around 98 kilometers from Gangtok. Trains ply from cities such as Chennai, Delhi, Howrah and Alipur to Jalpaiguri. Second class tickets from Delhi cost around Rs 440. Taxis are available at the station and this is the quickest mode of transport to the town of Gangtok.
Nathula Map[mappress mapid="68"]