Planning & Research Courtesy : Insignia
Next day morning we started for Nathula apprehensively as two days before it was closed for civilian and visitors. However driver of this cab was positive and assured us that we would be able to make it to Nathula!
On the way to Nathula it was decided that we will first go Nathula and then while retuning back will cover other places like Baba Mandir, Lake etc. Excitement is an understatement for the feeling I felt because of many reason, Seeing India – China Border was one them.
On the way we stopped at one place, small market, where we rented snow boots,glows, jackets etc to be ready to enter into snow, well, we did not realise by that time it was more then 4 feet at some places.
Taking pictures is not allowed at Nathula but I can paint picture for you. It was all snow and so much snow that whole barbed wire fence had gone into it and we were walking like we could cross the Border, had not there been Indian Army guarding the place and on the other side Chinese troops are deployed.
We could not see many Chinese soldiers but only one and he returned a favour of shaking hands with us. I tried asking his name but no response and We spent almost 20 mins at last point of Nathula.
We started climbing down as we started to freeze and we came to know, we can get certificates signed by Army Personal about visiting Nathula, of course we got it. We also got to know about cross border business/ markets and flag meetings and where do they takes place.
After coming down we headed to Baba Mandir ( Temple) which is in the name of a soldier of Indian Army who had been martyred on his duty. It is common knowledge in the region that spirit of the soldier still patrol the border and help army personal in their duty. The temple has canteen where food for Baba get ready three times a day and Army treats him as real soldier i.e. all regular uniforms, food etc goes to this temple. They have made one more temple which is rather on road for ease of reach of tourist, however we went to original temple.
We visited Elephant Lake after this and saw Bhutan ( which is distantly visible) on the way back to Gangtok. We saw many trained Yak and Tsongu Lake as well. We reached Gangtok by evening to get ready to start for Bhutan next day!
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