At an altitude of 14,000 ft, 56 km east from Gangtok, Nathula is located along the Indo-China border and is one of the most exotic places in Sikkim. Forming an off-shoot of the ancient Silk Route, the city can only be visited by Indians after getting permits from Gangtok.
Deriving its name from the Tibetan words Nathu meaning listening ears and La meaning pass, it is one of the only two open trading posts between India and China. While it was shut during the Sino-Indian war, the route was open again in the hope that it would help trade between the two countries develop.
It is also one of the only four officially agreed Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) points between the Indian army and the People’s Liberation Army of China and is the only place in India where you can see Chinese soldiers across the border. Hence photography is strictly prohibited in Nathula. The other three BPM are Chulshul in Ladakh, Bum La Pass in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh and Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.
After it was closed to visitors for political reasons, it was reopened on on July 6, 2006 coinciding with the birthday of the reigning Dalai Lama.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN NATHULA
There are many budget and mid-range accommodation options available in Nathula. Hotel White Conch residency, Orange Village Resort, Juniper tree hotel, Denzong Inn and Golmaheem hotel are some hotels in the area.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN NATHULA
Since Nathula is at a high altitude, there aren’t too many restaurants here. However, in-house restaurants of hotels serve delicious food.
BEST TIME TO VISIT NATHULA
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Nathula is as given below. The best time to visit Nathula is also specified.