NathuLa Overview


Nathu La (Devanagari ???? ??; Tibetan: ?????????, IAST: N?th? L?, Chinese: ?????; pinyin: N?idu?l? Sh?nk?u) is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above mean sea level,[1] forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. Nathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan.[2] On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Only citizens of India can visit the pass, and then only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok.

Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between China and India; the others are Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) at the trisection point of Uttarakhand–India, Nepal and China.[3] Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements. The opening of the pass shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region and was expected to bolster the economy of the region by playing a key role in the growing Sino-Indian trade. However, trade is limited to specific types of goods and to specific days of the week.

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