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Nathu La pass in Sikkim reopened for Kailash-Manasarovar pilgrims after 53 years

Jun 17, 2015 12:00 IST

Nathu La pass was in news on 16 June 2015 as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj flagged off the first batch of pilgrims for Kailash-Manasarovar yatra that will travel through the pass.

During the yatra, piligrims visit Mount Kailash, which Hindus believe as the abode of Lord Shiva, and the Manasarovar Lake located in the south-western corner of Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China.

The pass was reopened after China agreed to open the route following a bilateral agreement signed in September 2014 during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India.

Nathua La pass is located on the Sikkim-Tibet border. The pass was closed by Chinese authorities in 1962 following a war between the two countries.

The pass is located 54 km away from Sikkim’s capital Gangtok and was part of the ancient silk route.

After a decade of talks between both the countries the pass was reopened for trade purposes in 2006.

Nathu La Pass connects Sikkim to the Chumbi Valley in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China.

The valley, hence the Nathu La pass, has geo strategic importance as it is located at the intersection of India (Sikkim), China (TAR) and Bhutan in the Himalayas.

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