Nathula is a mountain pass in the Himalayas and is located at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above sea level. It forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. The word Nathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan. It is located 54 kilometres east of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and 430 kilometres from Lhasa. It is one of the three trading border posts between China and India: Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) in Uttarakhand being the other two. The region is covered with snow for most part of the year.
Summer in Nathula is the best time to visit as the pass is open and not blocked by snow. May to October are the summer months in Nathula with temperatures ranging from a minimum of 15 º Celsius to a maximum of 20 º Celsius
Winter at Nathula is very cold with temperatures reaching a low of -25 º Celsius. This is not the best time to go as the pass is blocked by heavy snowfall. It is advisable to carry heavy woollen clothing especially during winter and also sun screen to avoid getting sun burnt.
Data for temperature and rainfall of the region are not available as there is no meteorological centre in Nathu La.
The best time to visit is between the months of May to October when the pass is open. Nathula is open only for Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors have to apply to the tourism department through a registered travel agency in order to obtain a permit to visit the place.
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