Mountain Passes – Nathula Pass, Jelep La Pass, Donkia Pass, Chiwabhanjang Pass

The crown of Northeast India, Sikkim is indeed a picturesque destination which nature lovers can call home. Along with meandering rivers, stunning monasteries, lush greenery, what makes Sikkim an ideal place is its adventurous mountain passes. Beautifully covered with the thick layer of snow, all the mountain passes are situated at a high altitude which offers the magnificent view of Sikkim. Some of the must-visit mountain passes are as follows

Nathula Pass:

Located around 55 Kms from the capital city of Sikkim, Nathula Pass is a high altitude mountain pass. It is situated in the eastern part of Sikkim at a height of 14,140 feet above the sea level. This pass doubles up as the Indo-China border that offers the trade link between India and China. It is one of the best and highest motorable roads in the world and is surrounded by alpine flora.

This pass is one of the oldest trading border posts connecting India and Tibet. The silk route, a former trade route used to pass through here. However, Nathula Pass is currently marked by entrance gates of India and China as well as the military bunkers on both sides of the gates.

Nathula pass is open for Indian Nationals 5 days a week, i.e. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The visitors have to get the permit prior visiting this place by applying to the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department through a registered Travel Agency. And foreign tourists are not allowed to visit this mountain pass.

Jelep La Pass:

Located at an elevation of 4,267 meters, Jelep La Pass is nearly 46 meters (150 feet) in length. It nestled between India and Tibet in the eastern region of Sikkim. The beautiful Menmecho Lake flows beneath the Jelep La Pass. One can soak the natural beauty of Himalayas while coming from Kupup Lake and New Baba Mandir just after crossing Menmecho Lake.

At the Indian side, this passes has two routes. One route runs through Kalimpong and the second route runs through Gangtok.  The Kalimpong route is the older one and it passes through the beautiful towns of Pedong in the northern region of West Bengal, Kupup, and Rhenok whereas the route from Gangtok goes through the towns of Sherathang which is nearby Changu Lake. The route is quite stunning which is blessed with forests of rhododendron and pristine hamlets. On the Tibetan side, the path passes through Chumbi Valley of the Tibetan Plateau.

Donkia Pass:

Situated in the Northern region of Sikkim, Donkia Pass serves as a link between Lachen and Lachung valleys. From the pass, you can witness the amazing Tibetan Plateau in the distant horizon.

Chiwabhanjang Pass:

Chiwabhanjang Pass is located in West Sikkim at a height of 3,143 meters. At this mountain pass, there are two small yet exquisite lakes known as Bhut-Pokaris which are surrounded by the misty mountains and lofty peaks. Another route to visit Chiwabhanjang Pass is from Uttarey in Sikkim through a three hour precipitous.