Friday 18 April 2014

Sikkim and Darjeeling, Summer 2014, Day 6 of 9, Road Trip Natu La and Tsomgo Lake

In the phase 2 of the Gangtok local sightseeing, the first stop was the Natu La. This place is the chinese border so the passes are tightly controlled and restricted number of vehicles are allowed every day. Fortunately for us Yak & Yeti guys managed it well and we got our permits in time and were ready to go in time.
9:00 AM We left for Natu La and reached the check point by 9:10 AM. There was a long queue of vehicle but we were out by 9:30 AM and on our way to the pass.
11:10 AM We reached Tsomgo Lake. This is the place where there are shops for refreshments and any snow gear that one may want to rent. We had tea and rented snow boots here.
11:40 AM We were on our way towards Natu La.
12:45 PM We reached Natu La. There is a fair bit of walk towards the border point and there was snow on the stairs. With the constant movement of people, the snow had turned into a slush and it was very slippery.
I was surprised how ill equipped people reach there. These are not poor people but I was ladies in high heals trying to climb on to snow deposited stairs.
The army people don't want the border to be crowded for obvious reason, so they ask people to leave after few minutes.
1:40 PM After roaming around the place, we left the place. The next stop was Baba ka Mandir. This mandir has an interesting story. Have a look here. While I was there, I saw many army personnel continuously drop in and salute the baba and move on.

At both the Baba Ka Mandir and Natu La Pass, military personnel issue a certificate for people who visit the place. I think the money goes towards Army Welfare.
1:55 PM We left the place for our return journey.

2:30 PM We reached Tsomgo Lake. This is where one could also have a Yak Ride and take a picture with Yak. For some reason the Yak guys were very pricey, we decided to give it a miss. We had to return our rented snow gear and Yak and Yeti had arranged for lunch in the same place. It was simple but hot lunch that we had and finally started for our journey back by 3:30 PM. It is not a good idea to stay in that place any time after 3 PM. We were late by half an hour and as we were half way through, extremely thick fog turned our visibility to almost zero and we had to crawl back to Gangtok.
 5:30 PM We were back in the hotel. We had planned to visit M G Marg but it was very foggy and a small rain that turned into a full blown hail storm.
Finally it was time to retire for the day.

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