I have mentioned about my vacation to Darjeeling, Pelling and Gangtok in my previous articles. When I wrote about Gangtok, I had mentioned that I would be covering extensively about Nathu La Pass; well, in this article I would be telling you 7 Things which you should do or keep in mind when you are going to Nathu La. I would like to advise you that if you are going to Gangtok and you don’t go to Nathu La then the trip is really of very little use; make sure that you talk to your travel guide and express your interest in this place otherwise making arrangements at the last moment becomes almost impossible because only 60 cars are allowed to enter Nathu La in a day.
Nathu La pass is located at a height of 14,140 ft so all those of you suffering from breathing problems, you should certainly avoid going to this place. The only way to reach Nathu La is a drive from Gangtok which is around 60 km; you will have to leave your hotel by 8 pm because it takes almost 3-4 hours to get here and then the permit checking takes a lot of time. In this article, I would be talking about Nathu La Pass – A View from My Eyes
Nathu La Pass – A View From My Eyes
1. Getting the permit
My experience regarding this was really pathetic. Honestly, the reason me and my friends decided to get transferred from Pelling to Gangtok was because of Nathu La Pass otherwise we would have preferred going to Jalpaiguri so that we could leave for Kolkata. When we reached Gangtok my friend called up the travel guide and asked when was the car coming to pick us up for Nathu La the next day and he said that it might happen that we don’t get the permit to visit the pass. At that moment we had really lost our state of minds and we ended up shouting on the travel guide; he later promised to give us a healthy update in the afternoon.
For going to Nathu La you need to get your permits from the border office. You will have to submit a passport size photo and a few identity proofs; Since only 60 cars are allowed in 1 day it becomes really competing to get into this place during holidays. Our travel guide was trying to explain this to us but we had taken a commitment from him at the time when we were booking our tickets. Somehow we managed to get the permit and we had left our hotel at 8 am in the morning after having our breakfast.
2. The Road
The second point that I would like to mention in this article, Nathu La Pass – A View From My Eye is that I have never seen a more dangerous road than the road to Nathu La. After about 20-25 kilometres you will able to see little ice and after 30-35 kilometres you can literally see the clouds going above your car. Yes! It’s that beautiful. I will have to give kudos to the driver he had a superb vision. Whenever he was making turns, we could see the way down; and though none of us said anything to each other but yes, the height was definitely very scary. I would like to inform you one more thing that after about 10 or 15 kilometres your mobile service provider would give away and you would be unreachable for at least 3-4 hours (Taking a round trip journey into account) so make sure you inform your parents or relatives before going up. I did this mistake of not informing and after I got down from the pass I heard a handful from my mom.
The third thing I would like to talk about in Nathu La Pass – A View From My Eyes is the Momos! I am a person who is really into chicken momos but when I entered Nathu La, I was informed by my driver that no shop there serves non-veg momos. For a moment I was really disappointed because I had no intentions of eating cabbage covered with steamed flour. It was around 11.30 am and all of us got really hungry because we had a very light breakfast because we knew that we are going to up 14,000 ft and no one had the intentions of throwing up in the car. So, we requested our driver to take a halt. He stopped at one of his known shops where he had ordered something with rice and me and my friends ordered momos and Maggi. I was a little hesitant while trying the veg momo but when I took my first bite trust me all my complaints went away in a second. They were so damn tasty and light that 4 of us had eaten 15 momos each. The Maggi was also great but I have had better in Kolkata so I am not going to brag about it.
4. Rent Boots!
This is again another funny story. Our driver made a halt and asked us to rent boots because the entire region is covered with ice and if the shoes aren’t correct, we will end up wetting them and hypothermia would be on its way. So, we decided to listen to our driver’s advice but one of my friends who happens to be a little miser decided to ignore his advice and go ahead with his sports shoes. He was trying to convince us and was told that the driver is trying to make money since we were tourists and we shouldn’t rent it. Actually, the rent was just Rs. 100 for the shoes and we really thought how does it really matter after all prevention is always better than cure. When we reached Nathu La, our miser friend had stepped into the snow not only did his shoes get wet but some ice managed to enter his socks; you should have looked at the expression of his face. We seriously had a blast looking at him!
5. Lake Tsomgo
The 5th place I would like to talk about in this article, Nathu La Pass – A view from my eyes is Lake Tsomgo. Suppose that you, unfortunately, do not manage to get a permit to Nathu La pass then you could still go to this beautiful place. If you are lucky enough you would be able to find a little snow; this place is really amazing for taking pictures. It is widely known as Changu Lake and is located on the way to Nathu La pass.
6. Kyongnosla Waterfall
Gangtok doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to waterfalls. So, if you are a person who is really into waterfalls then you should ask your driver to stop at this place. I remember just opposite waterfall there are 3-4 shops which sells gloves and snacks. I would personally suggest you to buy a pair of gloves because if you plan on touching the ice then you would really be needing it. Make sure, you have a cup of coffee or tea; the temperature there would be like 1 or 2 degrees and a hot beverage would really help your body to get a little warm. With this being said, Kyongnosla Waterfall deserves a spot in this article, Nathu La Pass – A view from my eyes
7. The View
After about 3 hours we reached Nathu La, the moment we stepped out of the car we were just laughing at each other because all of us knew that we were feeling screwed because of the temperature. The temperature that day was -2 degrees so you can just imagine our condition. I had never seen such a beautiful sight; I mean wheresoever you look everywhere you would be finding snow. We got up the pass and saw the India-China border and we even said hi to one of the Chinese soldiers. We interacted with one of our Indian soldiers because unlike us he was not wearing any sweater or vest just his army uniform; so out of curiosity we asked Sir, don’t you feel cold? He replied that if you stay here for 3 months you kind of get used to the cold around here. Salute to the Indian army! I can’t even imagine standing there with just a shirt and nothing else.
So, with this, we have come to an end to this article, Nathu La Pass – A view from my eyes. Like I mentioned many times in this article, this place is a must go if you’re going to Gangtok! It would seriously give you an experience of your lifetime so make sure you get your permits beforehand so that you don’t face the problems which we faced on our vacation.