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Mountain pass along China-India border opens

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Staff Writer | May 2, 2017
The Nathu La Pass in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has opened, the local border checkpoint said.
Nathu La Pass
Transportation   The road is steep and usually covered by snow
The Nathu La Pass sits 4,545 meters above sea level and is wedged between Tibet's Yadong County in Xigaze Prefecture, and India's Sikkim State. It is the shortest land pass for trade between China and India, and also the highest altitude land pass for trade.

The pass is open from May to November and closed from December to April, according to the Yadong border checkpoint.

The pass was closed for more than 40 years. It reopened in 2006 for trade only.

In 2015, China started to allow Indian pilgrims to use the Nathu La Pass. In 2016, 9,000 vehicles and more than 20,000 people travelled through the pass, including 588 Indian pilgrims, according to the statistics.

The pilgrims traditionally climbed over Qang La Pass, which is 5,200 meters above sea level on the China-India-Nepal border, to reach their destination. The road is steep and usually covered by snow.

Indian nationals have made the pilgrimage to Tibet every year since 1981. China has welcomed almost 80,000 Indian pilgrims in the past decade alone.