Sikkim trip in Oct 2010 was all surprises and new experiences, exactly the way I like my travels to be. Nathu La pass visit came as a last minute addition into the trip itinerary because the pass opened a day before we arrived in Sikkim. Nathu La pass is in East Sikkim and also happens to be the India-China border. Till mid-October 2010 the roads to Nathu La were closed due to landslides. Here's a shot of the mountains affected by landslides. Yet, as soon as the pass opened, vehicles crowded with passengers to the brim, rushed off to Nathula creating a traffic jam on the single lane mountain route.
The permits to Nathula pass are for India Nationals and each person would need 2 passport size photographs and an ID card copy (Driver's license/ Voter's ID/ Passport). Fill a form and get it stamped at the permits office because at ~10000 ft there is a checkpost where these get checked. When you have gone that far and tried acclimatizing, you would rather have the permit in place. Better safe than sorry!
|Eat, Eat and Eat|
Dont miss the Tsongo Lake on the way. Lots of other small lakes adorn the sides of the road up to the border. All of these look equally beautiful , especially in the fall like season up in the Himalayas.
Most of all, what really touched my heart is the feeling of patriotism. Along the way, on the mountains, are painted in bright white. The first time I saw my country's border with a neighbour and realized what the tensions of BRO (Border Roads Organizations) would be to make these roads, maintain them in the midst of extreme climate and clear out roads for people like us to enjoy a drive. And I say, Jai Hind!