I Love India : Nathu La Pass
India is one such country which truly amazes you with the variety of tourist destinations it has to offer. I have traveled a lot but still there are many places which i have not visited yet. I would like to share my experience of my tour to one such place i visited after my board exams in class 10. The Nathu La pass which is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in the eastern district of Sikkim. Now, obviously i visited the place on my trip to Sikkim but i am not going to bore you with the other details of the trip. I'll tell you more about Sikkim in another post. For now, let's focus on the Nathu La pass.
The Nathu La pass is located at the India-China border. It is at an altitude of 4,310 metres above the mean sea level, which is almost half the height of Mt. Everest. So, you can imagine how chilly the journey must have been. On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km east of Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Only citizens of India can visit the pass, and then only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok. Here's a little something about the history of the pass : Nathu La played a vital role in the 1903–1904 British expedition to Tibet, which sought to prevent the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a foothold in the region. 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 shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region and was expected to bolster the economy of the region by playing a key role in the growing Sino-Indian trade. However, trade is limited to specific types of goods and to specific days of the week.
Now, let's get to how i visited the pass. My family and my uncle's family arrived in Sikkim via flight. We had already planned to visit the pass while we were still in Gangtok. On the day of the visit, we woke up early in the morning. First, we were taken from the hotel through taxis to the place where they provide cars to visit the pass after seeing your entry. Then, we boarded the car. there, the system was that on one entry pass, three families in three different cars were allowed. My family and my uncles's family were accommodated comfortably in an innova. We were one of the families on the pass. From, here we left for another checkpoint which was high above in the mountains and a few kilometres before Nathu La.
The journey was amazing. The sights were beautiful. We saw the wonders of nature as moved from the lush, green, forest covered mountains to the snow capped ones. Everyone was damn excited to see all that snow. On our way, we stopped at a spot where the locals there provide everyone with warm clothes on rent for the trip ahead. It was very necessary as the temperature was very low there. After covering ourselves from top to bottom in jackets and boots, we set out for the checkpoint. We also saw a frozen lake on our way there. We were the first ones to reach the checkpoint among the three families. The second one came a short while later but the third took some time. We had to wait as the three families were allowed entry together.While waiting, we got out of the fight and played with snow there. After, the third party came, we set out and reached Nathu La.
When we reached Nathu La, it was extremely cold there. We went to the hall there. It was like museum. The scenery was just beautiful. We were also given certificates there as a proof that we visited the pass. Photography was strictly prohibited there as it was a sensitive border area. But still some couples were trying to take selfies. They were scolded by the army personnel patrolling there and were made ton delete the pictures. After sightseeing for a bit we quickly returned to the warm interiors of our vehicle and started heading back. We returned our clothes at the rest house and had some food. Everyone was chilly but as we returned down the slope, it started getting warmer. When we returned down the mountain, there was waterfall, we also visited that. It was warm and sunny and was almost evening. Thereafter, tired from our journey we returned to our hotels. I would recommend everyone to visit the place.