Key Facts about Nathu La Pass

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A massive avalanche recently struck the popular Nathu La mountain pass in Sikkim, trapping several tourists.

About Nathu La Pass:

  • Location: It is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in the East Sikkim district.
  • Altitude: It is situated at an altitude of 4302 m and is one of the highest motorable roads in the world.
  • Nathu means "listening ears", and La means "pass" in Tibetan. It forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road.
  • Nathu La connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • It is guarded on both sides by Chinese and Indian soldiers.
  • Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between India and China; the other two are in Himachal Pradesh (Shipkila ) and Uttarakhand (Lipulekh).
  • Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements.


Q1) What is an avalanche?

An avalanche is a mass of material moving rapidly down a slope. An avalanche is typically triggered when material on a slope breaks loose from its surroundings; this material then quickly collects and carries additional material down the slope. There are various kinds of avalanches, including rock avalanches, ice avalanches , and debris avalanches .

Source:  Sikkim Avalanche Highlights: 7 dead, at least 150 trapped at Nathu La; no respite from snow soon: IMD