Tsomgo Lake, Gangtok, Sikkim 737101
Nathu La Pass 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. Only citizens of India can visit the pass, and then only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok.
Nathu La Pass is one of the two open trading border posts between China and India; the others being Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) in Nepal. Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La Pass 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. However, the outcome has not been satisfactory. 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, however, shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region.
It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, which helps in defusing face-offs. The four BPM are: Chushul in Ladaakh in , Nathu La in Sikkim, Bum La Pass in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh of , and Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand, 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the Chinese town of Burang.
Source : Wikipedia.
Nathu La Pass being a restricted area, Foreign tourists are not allowed here. Indian, to visit Nathula require a valid permit.Permit is issued by the Sikkim Tourism Department in Gangtok. You can get it only through a registered tour agency or your hotel where you stay can help you. You should apply for the permit at least one day before with a photo ID proof (Pan Card not accepted) and two passport size photos. Permit cost is Rs. 200/- per person. Permits are not required (or issued) to children below 4 years.
Nathula Permit issuing officer :
At Nathula Pass photography and videography are not allowed.
Nathula Pass experiences heavy snowfall during winter. The temperature of the region may drop down to -25 degree C. You can visit Nathula Pass in winter with proper garments. The sight of the snow capped mountains and snow covered valleys on all sides is amazing. May to mid November is the summer time in Nathula, when the temperature ranges around 10 to 15°C
Nathula Pass is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays