If you do not like Nathang Valley, you would not like paradise. Located at an altitude of 13,500 feet, this lush valley was the home to traditional yak herders who came from Tibet. Few streams crisscross the valley, and prayer flags flutter on the mountain edges on this vast plain of nothingness. Nathang Valley appears in different colours in different times of the year. In autumn it looks golden when the grass dries up, in rainy season it’s covered in flowers and in winter it is buried in 5 feet of snow. Nathang Valley is also visited by migratory birds just before the onset of winter. There’s a monastery, a temple and a small bridge over a small stream in the distance dotting the valley. There are some nice newly-built, well equipped modern homestays at Nathang Valley, which offer basic but comfortable accommodation with the very essentials like hot meals, hot water, comfy beds, room heaters, attached western bathrooms, 24-hr electricity and endless supplies of blankets. Nathan falls in the middle of the Silk Route circuit and is the most scenic place to stay. It is also nearest (just 20 mins) to the best sunrise view points like Lungthung and Eagle’s Nest Bunker. There are numerous trek routes from Nathang too.
What to see in Nathang Valley:
You would find a Hindu temple and a small Buddhist Monastery in the valley on the fringes of a small village. You would also find few streams snaking through the valley and makeshift bridges built on the stream. And there is nothing more except endless stretches of grassland, surrounded by high mountains. The valley is devoid of any trees and it seems out of this world. Just 5 kms away, you would find the famous Eagle’s Nest Bunker from where you can get a 360 degree view of the whole range of Mt. Kanchenjungha, West Bhutan, plains of Bengal, China, Tibet and the beautiful River Bramhaputra meandering across in the horizon. Sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjungha from Eagle’s Nest Bunker is beyond human description. Another nearby sunrise point Lungthung village is just 20 mins away from Nathang Valley. While staying at Nathang you can cover Padamchen, Genmochen, Thambi View Point, Kupup Lake, Tukla Valley, Baba Mandir and all other spots in the Silk Route circuit in day trips. Zuluk has high diversity of Himalayan fauna. Other beautiful lakes like Jorepokri, Green Lake, Changu Lake and Menmecho Lake are only 25 km away from Nathang Valley. For more sightseeing, you can move ahead to Nathula Pass situated at a height of 14,400 ft above sea level. You will be able to see the border gate of China and India here. Interestingly, you will also find a café at this high altitude offering you piping hot tea and coffee.
Accommodation in Nathang Valley:
Recently, local villagers have made a few homestays with the help of Government aids. There are two distinct types of homestays at Nathang – the Traditional Type and the Modern Type. Government aided homestays are concrete in structure, having 24 hour electricity supply in every room. Cushioned beds, room heaters, water heaters powered by solar energy and quilts are provided in every room to make the stay very comfortable. Bathrooms are western in style and attached to the rooms for better accessibility. Traditional homestays are made of wood and have Bukharis (traditional wood burners) installed in every room to keep the chill at bay. The traditional homestays also come with very cosy cushioned beds, endless supplies of blankets and attached Western Bathrooms.
Food is basic but served hot and home-cooked. The usual menu includes Chapatis and puri-sabjis in the breakfast, egg meals in the afternoon, snacks in the evening and chicken meals in the night. Momos and traditional Sikkimese dishes are mostly available in the evenings. Tea is served throughout the day.
Best time to visit Nathang Valley:
Nathang Valley looks beautiful in every season, so you can visit the place from June to September when the valley is veiled behind wild flowers. From September to January, the valley gains back a golden hue after the snow thaws from the grassland. From January to April the valley remains under the cover of snow, so if you are looking forward to experience snowfall in winter, this is the ideal time for you.
Nathang Valley Trivia