Nathang Valley Travel Guide- A comprehensive information on Nathang valley,East Sikkim(Old Silk rout)
Nathang is called Ladakh of East Sikkim. Nathang valley is locally known as Gnathang Valley is situated at an altitude of 12,700 feet above sea level. Nathang village is one of the remotest Tibetian habitations in Eastern Himalaya. Here one can experience chilled wind waves blowing all around. Nathang usually remain snow covered from January to April. This time the whole valley become white desert J . Govt. of Sikkim is planning to start skiing in winter.
What to see :
Durga and Krishna Temple : There are two temples standing side by side. Vibrant colour of these temples is very eye catching in this arid region.
Frozen Pond: There is a frozen pond just behind the Durga temple. Brahmin duck is a common species spotted here certainly.
Buddhist Monastery : In the extreme right of the valley there is a small Buddhist Monastery.
British cemetery: At Nathang there is a small British cemetery at the end of the valley .This is the highest point of Nathang valley. You will find some old grave here.
Dafter Bungalow: In early days when the silk rout was open, Dafter Bungalow was used for custom duty collections but later this bungalow was renovated by the depertment of Tourism,Sikkim Govt. The original bungalow was built in 1920. There are three rooms and two of them are attached with bath and fireplace. No electricity is available here so generator is only source of power supply.
Sunset Point : Just opposite to Dafter Bungalow there is an old building, come just front of the building this is the ideal place for watching sunset from Nathang valley. One will find the hiding gradually under thick cloud.
Nathang sight seeing :
Zuluk Loop: Zuluk is famous for its incomparable loops. There are approx. 30 loops in this zig-zag path.
Ganek : Ganek is the sunrise point in Zuluk.Start early in morning(4:00 am) to reach Ganek and catch glimpse sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjungha.
Nag Temple: This cave like structured temple is dedicated to Nag Devata(Snake God). It is locally believed that this temple is formed naturally through a crack in a giant sized rock.
Tukla Valley : This is a war memorial built to commemorate the death of British soldiers, who died at the battle of Tukla.
Old Baba Mandir : This temple is build in the honour of Sepoy Harbhajan Singh. This temple is well maintained by Indian Army (cloud warrior regiment ). On the top of this temple you will find Harbhajan Singh’s bunker.
Kupup Valley : Kupup is a small valley situated at an altitude of 13900 ft. From Kupup Lhasa(Tibet) is only 520 km. You will even find a signboard mentioning distance with direction here from Lhasa.
Jelep La : In Tibetan language ‘Jelep La’ means lovely level pass. this is a mountain pass between India-China. This pass is situated at an altitude of 14300 ft. This is the last point of old silk rout from Indian side. In Tibet side this pass lead to Chumbi valley(in Tibet). This passs is closed after 1962 Sino-Indian war.
Menmecho Lake : Menmecho Lake is situated at an altitude of 12500 ft. This lake is located 20 km from Chhangu Lake.This is a stunning beautiful lake surrounded by rich forest. This lake is famous for its Trout fish.
Best Time to visit:
Nathang is accessible through out the year but keep in mind winter in Nathang is severe. During winter Nathang faces high snow fall and freezing temperature.Due to snow fall some times the road remain closed for few days. In summer the picture is completely opposite.Summer is wet and foggy here. During summer Nathang and its surrounding hills remain covered with different kind of grassy blooming rhododendron flowers.
How to Reach :
To reach Nathang one have to take a car from New Jalpaiguri(NJP). Podemchen is the entry point of Silk rout. For Silk rout one has to collect pass from DFO,Podemchen and this pass is available from Morning to 4 pm in a day.For Nathang one should stay one night at Zuluk then in next day start for Nathang.
What to eat :
Basic food is available here. You should try Momo and Sikkimies Local recipe here. All the foods are served hot and home cooked. Chicken and egg is available here. Masala tea is also a good option.
Where to stay :
Currently there are only two staying option at Nathang valley, Dafter Bungalow and Pinasha Home stay. Both are well maintained, clean and cozy. But if you are planning for Nathang I will suggest you to stay in Dafter Bungalow. Both of these two are maintained by Mr. Karma Sherpa and his daughter Pema. They are very helpful and friendly. Contact : Karma Sherpa : 9002890743 and Pema- 9474145958.
Recently another homestay came up with all facilities namely Golden Trout residency , this is near Gnathang monastery. For contact call : 8900084103/9475997420.
Distance Chart from Nathang(approx):
Siliguri- 165 km.
Last few years winter condition :
2010- Nathang was inaccessible by car from December end to April.
2011-Nathang was accessible by car till mid January
2012-Nathang was accessible by car till first week of January.
2013-Nathang was accessible by car till early December
2014-Till now(December) nathang is accessible by car but few days before Nathang faced a heavy snow fall.
In Summer – Max: 18° c Min: 2° c
In winter-Max 10° c Min: -9° c
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