Nathu La pass is situated around 60 kilometers from Gangtok at an altitude of 4,310 meters / 14,140 feet. The road to Nathu La passes through the Tsomgo Lake is nearly 2 hours drive. The terms ‘Nathu’ and ‘La’ literally mean listening ears and pass respectively in Tibetan language. In 1961, this route was closed due to war between China and India. Recently in 2006 the trade resumed after conciliation. The road to Nathula is one of the highest motor able roads in India and passes through Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region and the Peoples Republic of China. Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between China and India, the other two are Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh / Lipulech) in Uttarakhand. The Old Silk Route connects Lhasa in Tibet to the plains of Bengal to the south. Major Francis Young husband, serving as the British Commissioner to Tibet, led a successful mission through Nathu La to capture Lhasa. This led to the setting up of trading posts at Gyantse and Gartok in Tibet led to control of the surrounding Chumbi Valley to the Britishers. Tourists are allowed to the international border from where one can see Chinese soldiers on the other side of the barbed wire. Nathula is open for Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays i.e.5 days a week. The visitors have to get the permit known as the Inner Line Permit (ILP) through registered Travel Agency. Foreign nationals are not allowed to visit Nathula. Photography is strictly prohibited. Generally covered with snow throughout the year is a place to visit and enjoy. Summer temperature never exceeds 15 °C / 59 °F, winters are covered with snow and the road is closed whenever there is heavy snowfall, Rainfall is severe with occasional landslides. Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary surrounding the region has rare, endangered ground orchid and rhododendrons among tall junipers and silver firs.