Located at an altitude of 14,140 feet and 56kms from Gangtok, Nathula Pass was the place through which the famous Silk Route used to operate until 1962. This used to be the silk trade route between India and Tibet. Lines of mules used to carry silk, gold and many other items from Tibet to India and take daily essentials back to Tibet. The route in Tibet goes down the Chumbi Valley to Yathung, a place about 30kms away which once used to be a major trading township (no longer so). In fact on a clear day you can see this route winding down the valley. If you look at the eastern horizon, you can see the magnificent peak of Chomolhari of Bhutan.
This pass holds its importance as the crossroad between India and China. It passes through the Tsomgo Lake and until 1962 it served as an important trade route between Tibet and India. Tourists are allowed as far as the International Border where one can see both Chinese and Indian soldiers facing one another, on either side of the barbed wire.
The Pass, which is at a height of 4310m above sea level, experience extremely cold weather conditions. The temperatures here may drop to Minus 25 degrees Celsius during winter. Here, winters usually last from November to February with temperatures dropping the most from December.