All about Nathula Pass: Tourism, visiting Days, Permit, Vehicle Charges & How to reach
The Nathula Pass, which is 58 kilometres from Gangtok and is located at an elevation of 14450 feet, is a well-liked tourist destination not only because of its extraordinary beauty but rich heritage. The Pass, which connects Sikkim to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, is a branch of the Old Silk Road.
As the main route between China and India, this pass retains its significance. It goes through Tsomgo Lake and was a crucial commercial route between Tibet and India up until 1962. Tourists are permitted to travel as far as the International Border, where they may observe Indian and Chinese soldiers standing opposite one another behind barbed wire.
The Nathula is nothing less than heaven with its stunning alpine vegetation, aside from its political significance. This pass, which stands at a towering 4310 metres, is one of the most popular destinations for thrill-seekers. The Nathula Pass’s winding roads go down to the lovely Chumbi Valley and up to Yathung, which was formerly a significant trading centre.
On a clear day, the breathtaking view of Bhutan’s Chomolhari mountain will not be missed if you look toward the eastern side of the pass.
A protected location, The Pass is open to visitors five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. However, a special authorization is required to enter this Himalayan Pass, and both photography and strangers are severely prohibited.
Obtaining a Nathula Pass Permit
Contrary to what it may sound like, obtaining a special permit is not very difficult for country citizens. It is created by the Gangtok-based Sikkim Tourism Department. Additionally, you can ask the hotel or a licenced tour operator to assist you in the process and obtain the permit.
All you have to do is submit two passport-sized photos and a picture ID proof. The cost is INR 200 per person, and you need to apply for the permit at least 24 hours in advance. Underage children will not be granted official permission. You can use them at your own peril, though.
Ways to Get to Nathula Pass
Once in Gangtok, you can contact a local, licenced travel operator to reserve a round-trip package from there. You might seek advice on this from the hotel where you are staying. Nathula is situated on Jawaharlal Nehru Road and approximately 56 kilometres from Gangtok.
Usually, it takes a full day to travel from Gangtok to Nathula. which also includes sightseeing, particularly at the Tsomgo Lake and the Baba Mandir in Nathula. But make sure the car you’re riding in is from a tour company that has been authorized by the Sikkim government. In Nathula, unapproved vehicles are not permitted.
Tour operators often operate in groups and charge per person during the peak tourist season, which runs from May to September. It comes down to an affordable cost. Due to low demand, there are fewer automobiles available during the off-season. Sharing a vehicle could be challenging if you’re visiting Nathula in the off-season.
In any case, visiting Nathula in the winter is not a sensible move. due to the bad road conditions and regular landslides brought on by snowfall. Roadblockage may result from all of this.
As indicated previously, make sure that the vehicle you are driving in from Gangtok to Nathula Pass is authorised by the Sikkim Government. stating that the cost of the car varies on the time of year you visit to Nathula. Rates are lower throughout the offseason and higher during the busiest travel period.
The cost for each person in a shared vehicle is usually INR 900/- to INR 1000/-. This rate includes your visit to Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir and also the cost for your permit. If you wish to reserve and travel by yourself and with your group only, then the fare is usually INR 8000/- for big cars like Jeeps and SUV’s.
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