Nature lovers must be always in a hunt for some serene escapade, right? And a destination located at a higher altitude means even more fun. Furthermore this kind of serene location comes with its own thrill and excitement. The excitement of higher elevation, the comfortable weather and the picturesque beauty is all we need. Now that you have imagined it all visually, it’s time to witness this beauty with your own eyes too. Nathula Pass is one such location that offers a fascinating experience to its viewers.
No wonder Nathula Pass is one of the most gorgeous tourist destinations. It is popular and nature lovers and travel enthusiasts love visiting here too. Located in Sikkim it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. And if you are planning a trip to Nathula Pass then this is going to be a helpful read for you. In this article I will provide you all the information about Nathula Pass Sikkim. So keep on reading and enrich yourself.
Overview of Nathula Pass
Nathu and La are two Tibetan words where Nathu means “Listening ears” and La means “Pass’. One of the most popular destinations in Sikkim, this location is a paradise for travel enthusiasts. Nathula Pass height is 4302 meters above sea level. This gorgeous elevation is one of the attractive points of this gorgeous location. Furthermore this is an ideal location to enjoy a scenic trek or to enjoy the captivating view. With waterfalls, temples, snow capped peaks this location offers a lot to its visitors. Maybe that is the reason why this destination is one of the most popular destinations for travelers as well.
The cool weather and the strategic position are other things that attract a huge number of visitors here. An important trade route, a politically significant front and a picture perfect location the variety here is truly unmatched. With lush greenery at times and snow covered peaks during other times, Nathula Pass can be that ideal destination that you have been looking for.
How to reach Nathula Pass
The nearest airport to reach Nathula Pass is the Bagdogra Airport. From there the Nathula Pass is around 178 km. You can take a bus or a car to reach Nathula Pass from there.
The nearest airport to reach the Nathula Pass is NJP. From almost all major cities NJP is well connected by railways. Furthermore from there you can get cabs or shared rides to reach Nathula Pass.
The only motorable and convenient way to reach this Pass via road is from Gangtok. Gangtok to Nathula Pass distance is 54 km. The Nathula Pass to Gangtok distance should be covered via the Jawaharlal Nehru Road. From Gangtok you can get sturdy vehicles to drive till Nathula. Furthermore only SUVs are allowed to be driven from Gangtok. You can either get a car yourself or get a shared ride as well.
Strategic position of Nathula Pass
Located on the Old Silk Route, as a destination, Nathula Pass holds a lot of importance due to its strategic position. The Nathula Pass is the pass that connects Sikkim to the Autonomous Region of China’s Tibet. After the Tibetan uprising that was suppressed by China in 1959, this was sealed for more than 4 years during 1959. However later in 2003 the then Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited China. Furthermore he appealed for the opening of the route and it was resumed later on. In 2006 it was reopened. And since then this serves as an Official Border Personnel Meeting Point. Also the Nathula is one of the three trading borders that are open between China and India.
Due to the opening of Nathu La Pass and its strategic location it has become an important point of commute. The Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites are reachable more easily due to the Nathula Pass. Furthermore Nathula Pass has been of key importance in the development of Sino Indian trade. It further improved the border relations of India with China. Also it helped in the economy by development of tourism. For safety and security reasons a Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required. Also only Indians are given this permit. Foreigners are not eligible to get this permit and hence it is not allowed for them to visit Nathula Pass.
How to get Nathula Pass Permit
A valid Nathula Pass Permit is required to visit here for Indians. This permit is issued by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department of the Sikkim Tourism Department in Gangtok. For the permit there are few ways by which you can obtain it.
1. You can request any valid tour agent from a valid and reputed tour agency for issuing the permit.
2. Also another way is to talk to the hotel that you are staying in. They can help you with the permit.
3. You must obtain the permit before you arrive at the location. Otherwise you would not be allowed entry.
4. A Vehicle Permit is issued by the Police check Post for domestic tourists. Through a valid travel agency you can obtain the permit.
5. For the permit valid ID Proof like Voter’s ID or Driving License is required along with 2 passport sized photographs.
6. For Children below 18 years of age, birth certificate or father’s Voter ID or Passport is required. In this case Aadhar Card would not be accepted. Furthermore 2 passport sized photographs are required.
7. Children below 4 years of age do not need a permit.
8. Usually the Tour agency or the hotel through whom you are obtaining the permit would let you know about the cost of permit including their charges.
9. Nathula Pass Permit cost Rs. 200 per person.
10. It takes at least 24 hours to get the permit.
11. For a two wheeler certain documents need to be submitted. Registration certificate of the two-wheeler, driving license and ID Proof of rider and co rider is required. Also you need to submit an Insurance certificate, pollution certificate and 2 passport sized photographs.
Best time to visit
The higher elevation of this place is the reason for cooler weather here throughout the year. The summers in Nathula Pass are by far the ideal time to visit. During the summer months from April to mid June the Nathula Pass temperature remains between 12 to 20 degrees. This temperature is comfortable as well as convenient for tourist activities. However even that is quite cold so make sure you are still carrying woolens along with you.
Nathula Pass weather in winters is too chilly. Because of the height of this the area experiences very cold weather. Around this time the weather goes as low as -25 degrees. Furthermore, even some motor-able roads get closed due to excessive snowfall. But for everyone who wishes to enjoy the snowfall this is the time to visit here. The months between November to February are the winter months here. It is a different kind of thrill to enjoy the breathtaking view of the snow capped mountains. However the snow is visible here till the third week of April and after that it starts melting.
Monsoon is not ideal for a visit to this location. Due to rainfall the road conditions deteriorate. Furthermore the chances of landslides also increase. So you can avoid visiting this time. Other than that the autumn months from September to November are also a good time to visit here. The weather is pleasant and the atmosphere looks different too. With no snowfall the sun shines bright with a clear sky. Also after monsoon you can see the lush extensive greenery during this time too. Nathula Pass is basically an all year round destination. So you can plan your visit according to your preference and convenience.
Popular places to visit
One of the popular attractions near Nathula Pass is Baba Mandir Nathula Pass Sikkim. Also known as the Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir it is basically a temple built in the memory of Baba Harbhajan Singh. He was an army personnel who died in 1968 near the Nathula Pass. Furthermore what makes it a site to visit is its strategic location just on the Indo China border. Basically there are two Baba Mandirs, one is old Baba Mandir and the other is new Baba Mandir. For the convenience of the tourists the new Baba Mandir is created at Kupup Nathang Road. It is believed that Baba Harbhajan Singh guards the border between India and China alone.
This one is a gorgeous waterfall on the way to Nathula Pass that is considered as a popular sightseeing spot.
Yumthang Valley Lachung
Also known as the Valley of Flowers, the Yumthang Valley is a paradise for nature lovers. One needs a permit to visit here as well.
Other popular sightseeing spots are
· Staircase to Indo China border
· Tsomgo Lake
· Mera Bharat Mahan Hill
The strategic location of this Pass makes it an interesting spot to visit for sure. With the history attached to it, this is one of the tourist spots that packs a lot of punch. You would not be able to understand the beauty of this picturesque location until you actually visit here. So make sure you are visiting this place if you are ever planning to visit Sikkim. Let me know if this article is helpful for you in planning a visit to Nathula Pass