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Sikkim | Nathula, Changu lake re-open for tourists

The two popular tourist spots of Sikkim, Changu Lake and Nathula border have been reopened for the tourists almost after two months. 

The two popular tourist spots of Sikkim, Changu Lake and Nathula border have been reopened for the tourists almost after two months. 

Both the destinations were restricted for tourists after the COVID-19 cases spiked at JN road area in the month of June this year. 

Changu lake is located at an altitude of 12,500 ft meanwhile the Nathula at Indo China border is situated at 14,000ft in Eastern part of Sikkim almost 38 kilometres away from the capital is known to be one of the sacred lakes for the locals likewise a mesmerizing lake for the visitors due to its beautiful natural landscaping. However, with closing of the lake due to surge in cases at JN road area the lake remained isolated for almost two months. 

“ There was a persistent request from the tourism stakeholders to re-open Changu Lake and Nathula border. We have started issuing the permits” said a senior police official of Check post division which issue the permits to tourists. 

Tourism in Sikkim has been hardly hit by pandemic, with half of the people of the state dependent on tourism, the pandemic hampered the livelihoods of many people and stakeholders. Likewise, the footfalls in Changu Lake and Nathula border has declined after COVID-19 pandemic.

After the Sikkim check post division issued an notification on resuming tourist flow in these two areas the stakeholders  expressed their gratitude 

Speaking to Sikkim chronicle, a tour operator said,  “ Majority of the tourists who visits Sikkim wants to visit these two places. We are happy that almost after two months it has been re-opened. We are grateful to Check post division” 
Furthermore, he mentioned that many bookings had to be cancelled earlier due to the visit restrictions. 

Another local who runs a restaurant at  Changu lake said, “The pandemic has really made us use all our savings, earlier when there was no covid pandemic life was good, but now it seems it’s very hard for us to sustain”

“But slowly things are getting back to the place I assume, people have become more aware of the disease and have started taking it seriously, and now with the check post allowing tourists I personally am happy as again I can serve visitors and make my living”  he added 

Bikash, one of a tourism stakeholder also expressed joy, he said,” lots of booking for Changu lake was on quo as it is one of the most demanded places by tourists who visited Sikkim, so now I can send tourists” 

“During initial days of the pandemic we never thought that it would last this long, so we waited, but after five to six months it became very hard for us stakeholder to operate since our everything was under complete isolation, nothing at all, however after one year Sikkim government opened borders for tourists again and which was a great news, and like everyone I think everything will get better soon, and we might get out of this situation once again” added the statement
Meanwhile,  restrictions for tourists in places like Lachung, Lachen, Yumthang and Gurudonmgar lake are still in implementation.

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