Nathu-La, India-China Border, Sikkim: Also Known as the Old Silk Route
Nathu-La the India-China Border, also known as the old silk route, was on my agenda when I went to Sikkim in the last week of December. The place and my trip is still itched in my memory and I have so many photographs from this place. At an altitude of 14,420 feet, what separates us from China is a thin barbed fence. Chinese soldires mingle quite freely with the Indian tourists. From what I have read, foreign toursists are permitted only upto Changu Lake and as of now cannot visit Nathu-La border from the Indian side.
A View into China from the Nathu-La Border, Sikkim
The border currently is a far cry from what is written in this 1999 Asia Times article on the Nathu-La Border. Apparently in 1999 they did not let anyone take photographs or talk to the Chinese soldiers at Nathu-La. As of now (2006), I was allowed to use my SLR quite freely poiting it as far as I could into the Chinese territory. The atmosphere at the border was quite merry and everyone was free to use there cameras and talk and shake hands with any Chinese or Indian soldiers. Of course the soldiers on both the sides talk with caution and within whatever brief they are given (my guess). The 1999 article also says that there is a sign saying:
”You are under enemy observation now,” warns a signpost on the winding 50-km road up from Gangtok.
I don’t think there are any such signs on the road to Nathu-La now in 2006. At least I didn’t see anything like this.
But my biggest question is what is China’s policy regarding the tourists? Do they let their people visit the border as tourists?