"Visit to Nathu La ( Pass) Indo- Chinese Border!" Top 5 Page for this destination State of Sikkim by goutammitra

State of Sikkim Travel Guide: 185 reviews and 906 photos

VT Goes to Nathu La ( Pass) Indo- Chinese Border

Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. Nathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan. On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Indian state of Sikkim on Jawaharlal Nehru Marg and only citizens of India can visit the pass, that too after obtaining a permit in Gangtok.

Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between China and India; Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements. The opening of the pass was expected to bolster the economy of the region and play a key role in the growing Sino-Indian trade but that has not happened. Currently, agreements between the two nations limit trade across the pass to 29 types of goods from India and 15 from the Chinese side. The opening also shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region.

Remedy to overcome Breathlessness and giddiness.

We too faced breathing trouble, when we got down from the jeep. We felt giddy and breathlessness. Rakhi was breathless too, then one army personnel suggested to chew chewing gum or bubble gum, it brought relief with in 5 minutes. It was used by them also. I suggested all travelers to any high altitude area should carry chewing gum with them to overcome such trouble. It is tasted by the Indian Army.

Visit to North Sikkim- Our Dream came True!!!

For so many years I had a dream to visit this wonderful place. I had tried before to visit Gurudongmar Lake but something was wrong as always. During my all six past trips I had tried at least 3 times to visit this place but it was eluding me all the time. Our VT friend Mantrana ( Mantru) visited this place in October 2007, and made beautiful page and great tips, since then I booked for North Sikkim twice but it was still eluding.

So at last, during our festival Holi, I decided to give it a try again and I was successful. We started by Teesta Torsa express on 14th March and reached New Jalpaiguri exactly at 3.00 AM, I was amazed as that train never runs on time. We took the immediate Jeep available at the stand and we were at Gangtok at 7.30 AM in the morning!! After a days aclamatisation in Gangtok ( 5300 feet) and at Rumtek Monastry ( 6700 feet), we set for Lachung in North Sikkim. On way we visited many places enroute. Next morning on 17th March we set out for Gurudongmar Lake in the vehicle of able driver Baichung Bhutia. Enroute we stopped at many place as the place is controlled by Indian Army, who also offer hot air and sometime coffee/ tea to the tourists going to Gurudongmar. Our breakfast was lousey with just bread, jam and banana. We envied other tourists having hot momos and hot noodles at Thangu Restaurant ( read more on my restaurant tip), who were ready to sacrifice time. Then at about 11.04 AM we were at Gurudongmar Lake. It was stunningly, dangerously beautiful. Despite little bit of discomfort at - 20 degrees Celcius and at the altitude of 17800 feet , I was able to take so many photographs, operate my handycam and took several video clips. In the video clip being uploaded here which I took with my cell phone after a few word my tongue stuck and I was not able to speak anything. Please have a look athe video too then youshall be able to judge why I call this place dangerously beautiful!

Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world located at an altitude of 17,100 feet (5,148 m). It lies on the North side of the Khangchengyao Range in a high plateau area contiguous to the Tibetan Plateau. The stream emerging from the lake is one of the source-streams of the Tista River.

The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, the Indian tantric Buddhist who conducted rituals here. It is said that this is why, even at the height of winter, one portion of the lake never freezes. Guru Nanak, also known as Nanak Lama, who was a devotee of Guru Padmasambhava, visited many of the places where Guru Padmasambhava prayed at, including this lake in North Sikkim.It is located close to the Indo-China Border in the province of North Sikkim, Sikkim, India.

The lake remains completely frozen in the winter months from November to Mid-May except for one small part of the lake which is supposed to be touched and blessed by the Guru Padmasambhava.

The lake is highly revered by the Sikkimese and Buddhists and the waters are supposed to have curative properties. The Indian Army got into a conflict with the Sikkim Government when they erected a gurdwara (a Sikh temple) near the lake in the 1990s : the gurdwara has now become a 'Sarva Dharma Sthal'(House of worship for All Religions), and ruffled feathers have been smoothened.

Due to the extremely inhospitable terrain and the difficulties associated with reaching the place, the lake sees only a handful of visitors each year. Access is strictly controlled at the Army check post at Giagong. Due to the altitude, there is a scarcity of oxygen. Visitors are advised to acclimatise overnight at Lachen, carry medicines like Coca 10, Deryphyllin etc., and to descend quickly in case of acute or persistent discomfort. Over-excitement and loud, stressful talking should be avoided.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Stunningly beautiful.
  • Cons:It does not call you more often!!
  • Last visit to State of Sikkim: Mar 2013
  • Intro Updated Mar 20, 2013
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Comments (20)

  • marvelous_girl's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2010 at 5:25 AM

    a very beautiful plce.....

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2009 at 2:35 PM

    Sikkim looks just beautiful. Loved the flower pictures. Good local customs tips too. That bevarage sounds quite interesting.(Drinking of Chaang or Tumba with the Bhutias)-

  • Pat_Bangkok's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2009 at 7:07 AM

    Namaste .. great tips of Sikkim.

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2009 at 4:40 PM

    I enjoyed the photos of the mountain flowers in Sikkim. What an aadventure trip. Thanks so for sharing.

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2009 at 8:19 AM

    Great tips and photos of Sikkim, such a beautiful place full of snow mountains!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jul 4, 2009 at 6:54 AM

    What beautiful scenery and bloosm. I guess it is always respectful to ask anyone if you can take their picture in any country. Wonderful page of a beautiful country. Have a lovely weekend.

  • abi_maha's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    Amazing place!

  • hana_aya's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2009 at 9:41 PM

    Thanks for your comment. I will put some tips so soon.

  • ashwini62's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2009 at 10:00 AM

    Goutam, Thanks for you kind words on my HP. Your comments are much appreciated. Ashwini

  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    your best page and best pics ever. i loved those flowers. my home is known as home of daffodils and tulips but it is zilch in comparison. xclent tips. Rakhi and i seem to have much in common. no long hikes for me too. give me shopping :-D

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