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Nathu La Pass

City: Gangtok       State: Sikkim       Country: India
Nathu La (14,400ft) is the only place where you can see Chinese soldiers across the international border.Prior to the 1962 invasion by China, this was a major pass linking Sikkim wit" Tibet. The road snaking down to Yuthang in the Chumbi Valley is visible in clea weather. After a skirmish in 1967, there have been no military clashes on this border and the pass has now been reopened for trade.The armymen live and operate in difficult situations in Himalayan borders, Nathu La is blanketed in snow for up to nine months of the year,Nathula is a pass on the Indo Chinese boarder (La meaning Pass in Tibetan). The place is 55 kilometers from Gangtok and passes through Tsongo Lake. The place is covered with snow for most part of the year. The pass was traditionally used by merchants of India and Tibet for trading. This was part of the famous Silk route connecting plains of Bengal with Tibet.The route leading up to the pass is one of the world's highest navigable roads, and is maintained by the Border Roads Organization, a wing of the Indian Army. On the Pass the Indian army and the Chinese border guards are within touching distance of each other. To visit the Indian side of Nathu La, a visitor's permit must be made one day in advance, which is done by any travel agencyThe pass is 56 kilometers east of the capital Gangtok. Although just 5 km north of the Jelepla pass, the Nathu La pass is not navigable in winters as it receives heavy snowfall. Temperatures in Nathu La regularly dip to -25 C in winters. The pass is open only to Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On other days is it in use for exclusive military use. A no man's land is absent, and the border consists of a barbed wire fence. Every Thursdays and Sunday post between the two nations are exchanged, a tradition dating back many decades.

Climate | When to Visit

Visit during: April to September

Directions | How to Reach

By Air: Gangtok does not have an airport of its own. But you may visit Gangtok after flying to Siliguri. Flights from Bagdogra can be booked at the Indian Airlines office on Tibet Road in Gangtok. There is a regular helicopter service from Bagdogra to Gangtok. By Rail: The railhead nearest to Gangtok is that of Siliguri. This, in turn, links various Indian cities with Gangtok through rail. By Road: The busiest route in and out of Sikkim is the road between Gangtok and Siliguri. Therefore, Gangtok is easily accessible through road

miscellaneous | Important Information

Tourists are allowed to visit Nathula only on specific days of the week. There is restriction on the number of vehicles that can visit Nathula on a day. Tourists are advised to make reservation for the Nathula visit well in advance to avoid disappointment. Foreign tourists are not allowed to visit Nathula. They have to return from Tsongo lake.

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