Package Name: Major Harbhajan Singh (August 3, 1941 – October 4, 1968) still posted at Nathula Pass
Nathula Pass at an elevation of 14,140 feet is a mountain pass in Eastern Sikkim, on the Indo-Chinese border. It ranks amongst the highest passes accessible by tourists via motorable road. The Old Silk Route through Tibet and Eastern India used to cross through Nathula Pass and it served as a trade link. The Nathula Pass is marked by Entrance gates of both countries (India and China) and military bunkers on both sides of the gates.
Major Harbhajan Singh was an Indian army soldier who died in 1968 near the Nathu La Pass. He is revered by soldiers of the Indian army as the “Hero of Nathula”. Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathula Pass and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese occupied Tibet believe his spirit protects every soldier in the inhospitable high altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas. The soldiers say that “Baba”, as he is affectionately called has been guarding the international border for the past three decades. It is also reported that Baba foretells any dangerous activity on the border through dreams of fellow army men. Even the Chinese army confirms that they have noticed a human figure on a horse guarding the border at night. As a mark of respect the Chinese leave a seat vacant for Baba during flag meetings. Major Harbhajan Singh is revered as a Saint by both sides of the border.
Harbhajan Singh (23 Punjab) was born in a village in Kapurthala District and enrolled into the Punjab Regiment as a Sepoy in 1966. Serving the country as a part of the Sikkin Regiment, he died at a young age of 27 years on 4th October 1968. While escorting a mule column from his battalion headquarters to Donguchui La, Harbhajan Singh suddenly slipped and fell into a fast flowing nullah and drowned to death. Despite many search efforts his body went missing. On the fifth day, his fellow army man Mr. Pritam Singh had a dream in which Harbhajan Singh described to him how he died and that his body got buried under the snow. The army was taken aback to find his body in the spot that was mentioned in Pritam Singh’s dream. Thereafter a Samadhi was built near Chhokya Chho at an elevation of around 4,000 meters, which gained popularity as the Old Baba Mandir.
In 1982 a New Baba Mandir was reconstructed for the convenience of the visitors. It is situated at the junction of Kupup Gnathang road and the trail leading to Menmecho Lake.The shrine has a large portrait of Baba along with his personal belongings such as, clothes, slippers, shoes, bed, ironed uniform and polished boots as though he still lives there! The soldiers report that the bedsheets are found crumbled each morning and the boots become muddy by evening. Units of the Indian Army that are posted in the region have great reverence for Baba. They maintain Baba’s Mandir with a lot of love and affection and put their faith in him. There are various plates dedicated to him lining the shrine’s walls. The Army on account of all the reported help received from the spirit of Harbhajan Singh, promoted him to the position of an Honorary Captain and a paycheck is sent to his family every month. He is also granted an annual leave every year and his belongings are packed and accompanied by soldiers, to Kapurthala by train and brought back the same way. This is an unusual but true happening that defies all logic. A soldier’s love for his country never dies!