Located atop the snow capped mountains of Sikkim is the famous Nathula Pass – The artery of Indo – China Border trade. Just like the previous post on Bagdogra, this photo journal is a journey to this magnificent mountain pass. Located at a distance of about 50 kms from Gangtok, Nathula pass is at an altitude of 14200ft (4300+ m) and is covered in snow throughout the year.
The road to Nathula Pass is in itself a joyous adventure. The Tsongo Lake is at an altitude of 12400ft and is a sight to behold.
OK, here we go. This journey with my family was undertaken in May 2008, and I must confess, I don’t remember all the details.
India shares a pretty long border known as McMahon Line, though under dispute, with china. The Sino-Indo border dispute in India’s eastern sector is one of the most intractable land conflicts. But that didn’t stop us from visiting the border at Nathula Pass, a part of the old “Silk Route”. To make matters worse, the visit to Nathula pass is restricted for a very few months and that too on specified days for specified number of vehicles. Having a friend in high post in Military sure helps, as we obtained special permit from the Military Headquarters at Gangtok.
This is the Tsongo Lake and it remains frozen in winter. Though small, it is a very beautiful lake, Don’t judge beauty by size.
And I have a bad news for foreigners. Tsongo lake is as far as you go as Nathula Pass is off limits to foreign nations. Its disappointing, but better hope that the govt takes a lenient view on this. Till then you have to adjust with blogs and photo journals like this one to visit Nathula.
The roads, built by Project Border roads organization (BRO) of India Army, are itself an engineering marvel. The roads are in a pretty bad shape and are covered with snow close to the top. The mild snow fall takes the temperature below freezing point even in peak summer. The shortage of oxygen and lack of acclimatization of body can affect any traveller.
The road leading to Nathula pass is almost through the china border after a few kilometers. The fence you see in the above pic is the border. Watch out the “Don’t cross, you are under surveillance of China Military” sign posts on the road side. It annoying! Its like your neighbour is peeping into your house. I hate it.
This is the snow covered Indo – China Border at Nathula Pass.
I came!! I saw!! I conquered!!
That’s China. Itz just a few lines of Barbed wires that separate 2 mighty nations. If you are lucky, you might even get a chance to shake hands with the Chinese soldiers (Too bad, I wasn’t that lucky)
Did you see that!! I have my fingers in China!!
A War Memorial to fallen heroes of Indian Military, located at Nathula Pass.
There is a camp house and auditorium at the top and also a canteen. Even if you are not a tea lover, I’d urge you to try a brewing tea here. Trust me, you’ll love it. There is a souvenir shop run by Military personals wives welfare society for the benefit of visitors. Most importantly, don’t forget to get your certificate of visit so that you can brag about visiting Nathula.
So, what do you think? Did you like the place?
If so, what are you waiting for – Get packing!! As I always say, you can’t do justice to yourself as a traveler if you haven’t been to Nathula Pass. And Sikkim is a very beautiful place as well. I’ll write about Gangtok in another post, some other time.
Before I conclude I’d like to take a moment to remember the brave sons of our nation who gave up their today for our tomorrow. Do take a second to thank the soldiers who serve at the borders of India braving the harsh weather and guarding the integrity of mighty Bharat, so that you and I can sleep safely.
This is the end of Nathula Pass Photo Journal.