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Nathang Valley - Old Silk Route

Dec 4, 2023

Nathang Valley, also known as Gnathang Valley, is a breathtaking paradise nestled at an altitude of 13,500 ft. The valley was once home to traditional yak herders from Tibet, and it is the highest place in East Sikkim. The natural high-altitude phenomenon has enriched Nathang Valley in every possible way, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Nathang Valley was once a quaint hometown of Tibetan yak herders. Its remote location and isolated nature make it a popular destination for tourists seeking a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience. 

The valley is particularly noteworthy for being part of the historic Old Silk Route circuit, which adds to its allure and cultural significance. With its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

OG Pro Tip: This location is situated at a remarkable altitude of 13500ft above sea level, making it the highest settlement accessible to tourists from all over the world. Additionally, it is located close to the Doklam area, Indo-China Border where the famous stand-off happened.

Places to visit :

Lungthung, also known as Dhupidhara, is a breathtaking destination that attracts many travelers near Nathang Valley. This viewpoint, standing tall at an altitude of 12,500 ft., offers a magnificent view of the majestic Mt. Kanchendzonga. Bird enthusiasts flock to this place as it is a great spot to sight the Monal, the national bird of Nepal. 

Aritar, a charming little village located just a few kilometers away from Nathang Valley, is another must-visit destination. It boasts of the highest lake in Sikkim, the Lampokhri Lake or Aritar Lake, which offers boating facilities. The place is perfect for trekking and hiking, and one can explore the beautiful surroundings while enjoying the fresh mountain air.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is Changu Lake, also known as Tsomgo Lake. The lake was formed by a melted glacier and is approximately 1 km long with a depth of 50ft. It has an oval shape and is considered a holy lake, attracting many travel enthusiasts. Just a few kilometers away from Nathang Valley, there is an abandoned army bunker called Eagle's Nest Bunker, which has been turned into a tourist spot. From here, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Mt. Kanchendzonga, Western Bhutan, the Tibetan plateau, China, and the mighty Brahmaputra river.

Old Baba Mandir is a popular sightseeing attraction near Gnathang Valley. It was created and is well-maintained by the Indian Army to honor the martyr Sepoy Harbhajan Singh. At the top of the temple, you can find the bunker of Sepoy Harbhajan Singh. Another attraction near Nathang Valley is the Nathula Pass, which serves as the gateway between India and China. It is only accessible to Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Gyamochen is a viewpoint located just 5 km away from Nathang Valley. It offers an amazing view of the snow-capped mountain ranges, including Mt. Kanchendzonga

British War Memorial: In 1888, the British and Tibetans fought a battle in the high-altitude mountains of Sikkim. A memorial now stands at Nathang in memory of the British soldiers who lost their lives in the battle. The British built roads in Sikkim in the mid-1880s, which Tibet viewed with suspicion. In May 1888, the Tibetans attacked Nathang, but the British were able to drive them away. The British sent reinforcements in September 1888, and the Tibetans were forced out of Lingtu. The Memorial was erected in 1909 and the marble plaques have recently been replaced by granite plaques.

Things to do:

Apart from visiting the stunning places, there are many other things to do in Nathang Valley. Adventure seekers always prioritize Nathang as it offers a rational environment for trekking. Serious trekkers can opt for more difficult options as this place is full of varieties, including high-altitude treks.

Hiking to viewpoints like Lungthung and Gyanmochen is a popular attraction in Nathang Valley. Hikers often visit Nathang for the ultimate adventurous exposure. Apart from these, a simple wander towards the lakes like Menmecho lake and Kupup lake can provide a spiritual experience to the mind, as natural substances have the potential to help us evolve through nature.

Accommodation:

Accommodation in Nathang Valley is easy to find as there are newly built houses available for lodging. These houses are equipped with modern facilities such as comfortable beds, 24-hour electricity, attached western-style bathrooms, and solar water heaters. The walls are made of concrete, ensuring a safe and secure stay.

For those who prefer a more traditional experience, there are also homestays available that offer excellent service.

When it comes to food, the options are basic but healthy, and everything is organic. The food can be customized according to the preferences of the tourists or served according to a schedule. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are available upon request. Overall, the food is of high quality and much better than anything else available in the area.

How to reach:

There are no direct flights or trains to Nathang Valley. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) and the closest airport is Bagdogra Airport. One can hire a car from car rental services to travel directly to Nathang Valley. The distance from Siliguri to Nathang Valley is around 170 km and it takes approximately 6 hours to cover the distance.

The best time to visit Nathang Valley is during the summer months of April to June when the weather is pleasant. Due to its high-altitude location, the weather remains cold throughout the year. Therefore, visiting Nathang Valley during summer can be very refreshing.

It is advisable to avoid visiting Nathang Valley during the monsoon season. However, if you still wish to visit during this time, be very careful about the roads as heavy rainfall can cause landslides and block the roads.

During winter, Nathang Valley is covered in snow, which attracts many travelers who come to witness the stunning view of the snowfall. From October to March, wanderlusts come to the place to witness the snow-capped mountain range towering above the Tibetan Plateau.

 

 

 

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