BABA HARBHAJAN SINGH TEMPLE
Why Should I Land Up
Faith seems to be the guiding light for soldiers stationed at the Nathula Pass on the Indo-China border. This faith stems from the Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple located at an altitude of over 13,000ft. Fact and legend intertwine to create a narrative that gives hope to soldiers posted there and an interesting story for travellers.
The miraculous exploits of Harbhajan Singh have received myth-status and you should visit this place to take in the scenic beauty and hear the anecdotes that surround this place. The perfect travelling experience is when you come away with life-affirming stories and Baba Mandir, as the locals call it, is one such destination.
How To Get There
Baba Temple can be a pit stop on the way to the popular Nathu La Pass. The shrine is located around 55-60kms from Gangtok. As the road turns towards Kupup Valley onto Tukia, there is a fork in the road from where your car will take you to the temple. One needs a Protected Area Permit before visiting this location that is strategically vital to Indo-China relations.
Since this shrine is immensely popular with travellers, finding a local jeep to take you up there will not be a problem.
When Should I Land Up
The best thing about Baba Mandir is that no matter when you land up, you’re bound to be met with enchanting views.
In the monsoon, the rain makes the surrounding forests glisten and the region is completely transformed into a gleaming panorama of trees, beyond which tower the mighty mountains.
April to November is the best time to visit the temple. The summer months are the most pleasant and you can have a good time simply strolling around this area.
Since Nathu La Pass is closed during winters, reaching Baba Mandir might not be possible.
According to official records, Harbhajan Singh died in battle (at Nathu La) during the Sino-Indian War in 1965. However, the mythology surrounding his death offers an absorbing narrative.
Legend has it that Harbhajan Singh drowned in a melting glacier while transporting supplies to an army outpost. His spirit guided fellow soldiers to locate his body, and he even appeared in a soldier’s dream instructing him to create a memorial shrine.
Since then, the legend has grown, and jawans (soldiers) posted at Nathu La believe that Baba Harbhajan Singh protects them in this physically demanding region, and even warns them of impending attack from across the border.
It is said that during flag meetings between India and China, the latter always reserve an empty chair for Baba as a sign of respect. Whether you choose to believe the legend or not, there is no denying the faith that attracts hundreds of army personnel and civilian tourists to this shrine.
In a land where mythology is part of the social fabric, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple stands out as a peaceful shrine for people from all walks of life. As a traveller, a visit here offers a glimpse of the faith that brings people together. For the soldiers posted in the region, Baba Harbhajan is a beacon of hope amidst the beautiful, yet gruelling, forces of nature.