Sited at a distance of 56kms from Gangtok in Eastern Sikkim, Nathula is a mountain pass on the Indo-Chinese border that serves as a trade link between the two countries. Located at an altitude of 14,140ft Nathula ranks amongst the highest passes accessible by tourists via motor able road, Nathula was the place through which the famous Silk Route used to operate until 1962. The other side of Nathula is Chumbi Valley of Tibet. The terms ‘Nathu’ and ‘La’ literally mean ‘listening ears’ and ‘pass’ respectively in Tibetan language
Nathula is hidden under the beautiful layer of white snow for most part of the year making it a winter wonderland. During 1903-1904, Nathula played a vital role in British expedition to Tibet, which sought to prevent the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a foothold in the region. During the 1962 Indo-Chinese war, the Nathula Pass witnessed heavy fighting between the two countries. Since then the boarder remained closed until recently in 2006. Nathu La is one amongst the three trading border posts connecting China and India, the other being Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh in Uttarakhand. The rich alpine forest surrounding and the spiraling road leading towards the historic place is an added point which has attracted travelers towards Nathula. The way up to Nathula Pass is beautiful. The snow clad mountains and frozen lakes make the entire atmosphere magical. You will be awe inspired by the scenic beauty of the place, which Mother Nature has bestowed on this land. To relish the charm of the old route the best time to visit Nathula is during May to October when the weather is soothing and favorable but if you want to bask in the view of the snow covered Nathula than December to February is the best time to let yourself be engulfed in the cold and teeth clattering weather while witnessing Nathula covered under the thick blanket of snow.
Travel through the spiraling road while being mesmerized by the astounding view of the glacial lake and climb few stairs to reach Nathula the trade route of India and Tibet. Cold yet mesmerizing beauty of Nathula with the view of the Mt Chomolhari on a clear day and lingering essence of the old silk route have bewitched many travelers traveling to Nathula.