Nathula Pass (Nathu La)
Nathula Pass from Gangtok, Sikkim | Permit Weather Visiting days
The Pass is one of the major attractions in Sikkim. It is trade route which connect Sikkim with Tibet. It is situated just 56 km away (3 hrs drive) from Gangtok. The road passes through Tsomgo Lake (Changu Lake) another major tourist attraction in Sikkim. Height is above 14,000 ft (4,200 mtr) and the road from Gangtok is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. Tourists need a protected area permit to visit the pass. you can visit the pass from Wednesday to Sunday. It remains closed on Monday & Tuesday. Nathula Pass temperature ranges from -20oC to 17oC in various season.
Nathula Pass in Gangtok (Sikkim)
A road travel from Gangtok to Nathu La Pass is one of the most charming travel experience. The road connects Sikkim with Chumbi Vally (Tibet) on the other side of the border. One can have an Automated Teller Machine, which is the highest ATM available in the world. On the way one can visit Tsomgo Lake (Changu Lake) & Baba Mandir is also just 5 km drive. At Nathu La there is an Exhibition Centre on Indian National Army. One can also have a magnificent view of My. Chmolhari (in Bhutan) subject to clear weather.
‘Nathu’ means ‘Listening ears’ and ‘La’ means ‘Pass’. It is one of the three trade routes between India & China. The other two routs are Shipkila in Himalchal Pradesh & Lipulekh in Uttranchanchal. Government of India closed the route after Sino-Indian war in 1962. It was resumed in 2006 with bilateral trade agreements by both the nations. It has shorten the distance for some of the important Hindu & Buddhist pilgrimage. Kailash & Man Sarovar is an example. Nathulal Pass is also one the of the meeting points of Indian & Chinese security personnel.
Flora & Fauna
Due the high altitude & steep elevation Nathulal Pass has very little vegetation. It comes under Alpine climate category where trees fail to grow due to extreme cold. You can see very little vegetation with some scattered shrubs. The main species are rhododendrons & Juniper along with primula, pedicularis, meconopsis, aconotum etc. The region have four months of summer when herbs & shrubs grow. The vegetation attract a no of insects & animals. Among the animals yaks are very common in this area. You can also find some engendered species like Tibetan wolf, snow leopard, golden eagle, Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan snowcock, raven, lammergeier, brahminy duck etc. The area comes under protected area & does not have any permanent human settlement. You can only see the security personnel securing the border from both the side.
Nathu-la Pass photos | Images | Photo Gallery
Nathula Pass Permit & Visiting days
Only Indian nationals are allowed to go to the Pass. Foreign nationals are not allowed to travel to the same. They can travel up to Tsomgo Lake (Changu) accompanied by a local guide.
Indian nationals also need a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit the Nathu La. Tourist need to submit a photo copy of any of the photo ID proofs (Voter ID, Passport, Driving License or any other id card issued by the Government of India / State Government) along with passport size recent colour photographs. PAN card is not accepted in Sikkim as an identity proof.
Permit Cost for Nathula Pass
It needs an additional cost ranging around Rs.3,000/- to Rs.6,000/- depending of the no of tourist, category of car & season.
Nathula Pass visiting days
It is open for 5 days in a week (except Monday & Tuesday)
Nathula Pass height/ altitude
Nathu-la is situated approx 14,150 ft (4,200 mtr) above sea level.
Best time to visit Nathula Pass | Weather/ Temperature
Winter (December to February)
December to February are the coolest months. Temperature ranges from -200C at night to 00C at day. This is the best time to see snow in East & North Sikkim.
Spring (March & April)
During it will be moderately cold. In March & April temperature ranges from -100C at night to 100C at day. This is flowering season & best time to see snow along with orchid & rhododendron.
Summer (May & June)
Summer is not be very hot. In May & June Temperature ranges from -20C at night to 170C at day. This is the time when most people visit the pass. There will be a possibility of occasional land slides & road blocks.
Monsoon (July & August)
July & August are not considered to be a good season, as there will be possibilities of heavy rain. Temperature ranges from 50C at night to 170C at day.
Autumn (October & November)
In October & November just after monsoon this is probably the best time to visit the Pass with clear sky & moderate temperature. Temperature ranges from -100C at night to 100C at day. It is also a good time for photography. you may also witness occasional snowfall during this period.
Gangtok to Nathu la Route MAP
List of Packages (Ex Bagdogra/ NJP)
|6 nights- 7 days
|5 nights- 6 days
|6 nights- 7 days
|8 nights- 9 days
|5 nights- 6 days