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Located 56 km east of Gangtok on the Indo-China border, Nathula Pass is Sikkim’s most popular tourist destination. It connects India’s Sikkim to the Tibet Autonomous Region in China. Before you plan to visit Nathula Pass I thought you would like to know these interesting things about the place.
Nathula Pass, which is a major tourist destination in the north-east India today, was once an ancient silk route which connected Lhasa in Tibet to the plains of Bengal. Then after the Indo-China war in 1962, the pass was closed. But then, 44 years later, the pass was opened once again in the year 2006. Since then the pass has been a hub of tourists.
The best part about travelling to Nathula Pass is the travel itself. You come across the astounding beauty of the Himalayas standing tall. The drive to Nathula is itself an amazing experience that allows you to see beautifully snow capped mountains all the way along. You can also get lucky to witness and enjoy the snowfall there if you visit in the first week of March. Though photography isn’t allowed at the Nathula Pass, you can still take photographs during your drive to the place with picturesque mountains in the backdrop.
Remember that the place is open for visit only for Indian nationals. You can visit there on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. But you will need to take a special permit to visit the pass, which can be arranged by any local travel agent once you submit them your identity proof and photographs.
It is also important to know that it is advisable to visit this high altitude pass from March to mid-November. The pass remains closed during winters since it becomes non-navigable due to heavy snowfall at that time of the year and the temperature also drops down to as low as -250 C.
On your way to the pass, you’ll get an army canteen which offers you snack and beverages like momos, samosas and tea at affordable prices. You can also buy a certificate of your Nathula visit there.
And then you must not miss an opportunity to stop by at the Changu Lake and Baba Mandir during your trip to the Nathula Pass. Changu Lake is an oval shaped lake, nearly 50 feet deep, which usually remains covered by snow almost all year round. The lake is also a home to the Brahmini ducks and several other migratory birds and it is an extremely beautiful sight that you sure won’t want to miss. Just nearby the lake is a sacred Baba Mandir that is known to be a very holy site for all and so it deserves a visit too.
Enjoy your excursion to the Tsomgo Lake, the Baba Mandir and the Nathula Pass before you return to the capital city Gangtok!