Baba Mandir is not consecrated to any saint or deity, as they are occasionally referred to as Baba. Although Nathula Pass is currently recognized as the entry point for Indo-Chinese commerce, it was formerly a stop along the illustrious silk route. Located at an elevation of 12,400 feet and 17 kilometers prior to Nathula Pass, Tsomgo Lake is an aesthetically pleasing location. Unique among the passes of Nathula is the Baba Mandir. It is a temple dedicated to an army soldier who, according to legend, continues to serve after having joined the 23 Punjab Regiment of the Indian army.

He was Sepoy Harbhajan Singh, and he was originally from the Punjabi district of Kapurthala. Born into a Sikh family in 1946, he enlisted in the Indian Army the following year, in 1966. He was assigned to the Sikkim-Tibet Border in 1968. He led a mule column from his battalion’s Tukla headquarters to Deng Chukla in October 1968, both of which were located in remote regions of East Sikkim. He perished after slipping and falling into a glacier or a swift-moving, frigid river.

Baba Mandir is not consecrated to any saint or deity, as they are occasionally referred to as Baba. Although Nathula Pass is currently recognized as the entry point for Indo-Chinese commerce
Three days were spent conducting an exhaustive search by the Army without success in locating his remains. By manifesting in the visions of his colleagues and directing them to his own corpse, Harbhajan Singh subsequently led them to his own remains. Eventually, his remains were discovered and interred with complete military honors. Soon thereafter, numerous associates began to see him in their dreams, and they were instructed to erect a Samadhi, or shrine, in his honor. In Chhokhya Cho, his battalion did construct a Samadhi for him in his shelter. It remained at the Watershed Memorial Complex subsequent to its relocation. This location has evolved into a holy site over time, attracting both military personnel and non-combatants who wish to pay their respects.

It is widely held that Baba safeguards the Indo-Tibet frontier and attends to the welfare of both the soldiers and the local populace. It is said that Baba serves as a guardian spirit for the Indian Army, alerting them to imminent dangers. Some accounts assert that he provides advance notice of an impending assault from beyond the frontier, up to three days. According to an alternative account, he visits his Samadhi nightly, donning his regimental attire, and conducting his duties throughout the area. His footwear is polished daily, and his uniform is hung in the proper location. Local legend has it that the Chinese army is a believer in the Baba legend.

At the flag meeting between the two armies, a vacant chair is reserved in his honor. This is an extremely intriguing tale. Conversely, he administers sanctions to military personnel who fail to adhere to regulations or uphold the condition of their uniforms. They claim that his own uniform, which hangs at the temple, cleans itself.

standard Gangtok itinerary includes a stop at Baba Mandir, in addition to a visit to Nathula Pass and Tsogmo lake

In October, a formal memorial ceremony is conducted during which floral tributes are presented to all individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. A nominal sum, contributed informally by Army personnel stationed at Nathula Pass, is formally transmitted to the individual’s family residing in Kapurthala. In addition, he maintains his pension benefits. Indeed, the train transporting his pension departs from New Jalpaiguri for his birthplace in Punjab with a vacant berth. His annual holiday has arrived. This is an utterly fascinating method of preserving the life of a courageous colleague.

Along the road connecting the Nathula and Jelepla Passes is the Baba Mandir. It has undergone a transformation into a revered pilgrimage site over time. In the belief that Baba is a wish-fulfilling deity, guests express their deepest desires to him. The temple contains an archival print featuring Baba Harbhajan Singh. A water bottle is traditionally brought to the temple and returned as sacred water. Free langar is served on Sundays at the temple, where all visitors are provided with a meal at no cost. Passing vehicles halt in this vicinity to show their reverence to the Baba.

A standard Gangtok itinerary includes a stop at Baba Mandir, in addition to a visit to Nathula Pass and Tsogmo lake, which remains iced for the majority of the year. One may engage in a yak excursion encircling the lake or simply capture visually captivating images. Based on my understanding, the sole means of transportation in the area is through shared vehicles, which require a permit to enter each morning and transport tourists throughout the day before returning them at the end of the day. Although you must submit a permit application the day before your trip, this is an administrative task that is handled by the tour operators.

Bear in mind that the weather would have an impact on the reality of your visit. Return from the Tsomgo Lake if inclement weather conditions persist. Numerous individuals would visit the Baba Mandir on a favorable day. It is not a cause for concern if you fail to visit any of the designated locations, as the Himalayas and Himalayan passes, such as Nathula, are renowned for their picturesque and natural aesthetics. Simply unwind in your Jeep while admiring these snow-covered passes. Remember that this was once a part of the renowned silk route.