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Nathan Valley (Gnathan Valley)

This is a high altitude valley in the Himalayan State of Sikkim in India. The valley is located in the East District and tourism has been opened in the area in recent past. The valley is located at an altitude of about 13000 feet and is surrounded on all sides by high mountains.

The valley has become quite popular amongst tourists as it is located within relatively short distance from the plains of Bengal and yet has the Tibetan plateau feature. North Sikkim, a more popular tourist destination with similar natural sights, is more difficult to access requiring two days of travel.

Nathang valley is also coming up strongly as a snow sports destination of Sikkim with provision for skiing during winter months. The tourism infrastructure here is still basic with homestay type accommodation the only option here.

The Population of Nathang consists of Nepalese, Sikkimese and Tibetan people. Nepali and Hindi is spoken and understood by most, English is also understood by some people here.

Jelepla

The famous Jelepla pass that was the traditional trading route between India and Tibet is just 16 kms from here. Till half a century back, people of Nathang valley was actively engaged in trade with Tibet through this pass. About 8 kms north of the valley is Kupup the location of the highest golf course in the world. There is also a lake at Kupup named the Elephant Lake because of its unique shape.

Old Baba Mandir

About 4 kms North East of the valley is the location of Old Baba Mandir. This is the place where the original bunker of legendary soldier Baba Harbhajan Singh is located. The bunker is still maintained and puja is offered by soldiers here who consider the place sacred and consider the spirit of the soldier as protecting them in the harsh environment near international boarder.

Tukla

3 kms South East of Nathang valley is the location of Tukla; this was the site where a decisive war between the British army led by General Graham and the Tibetan soldiers were fought in 1888. There is a war memorial here to commemorate the dead British soldiers. When Dr. Francis Younghusband invaded Tibet in 1904, he also took the same route and passed through Tukla, the road going to Jelepla pass is named Younghusbands track in his memory. Standing at an altitude of 13500 feet at Tukla, you will be amazed by the sheer human effort it might have take to take arms including cannons from Siliguri to this high altitude Tibetan plateau to fight war more than 100 years ago.

The Zuluk, Nathang Valley area is accessible through a circular road. If we take Gangtok as the starting point, the circle is Gangtok – Tsongmo Lake – Nathang Valley – Zuluk – Rongli – Ranipul and back to Gangtok. So from Gangtok you may travel to Nathang valley either via Tsongmo Lake or via Rongli. However in the absence of a clear government policy on tourism in this area, the Gangtok – Tsongmo Lake – Nathang valley route is difficult to get a permit for. Most tourists have to travel through the Rongli route although the Tsongmo route is much more interesting and the distance through the route is also smaller.

Restriction: You need special permission to visit Zuluk Nathang Valley area. naturebeyond organises all your permits as part of a tailor made package tour. Visit by international travellers are not allowed yet. You must carry valid ID proof and photographs to acquire limited period restricted area permit.

Map of Nathang Valley

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