Urban Legends Be True: When You're In Sikkim, Make Sure To Visit Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir

    What Makes It Awesome?

    Have you been planning to visit Nathu La - the pass that connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Then make sure to visit the mysteriously famous BABA MANDIR on your way back from Nathu La. Harbhajan Singh was 27 when he died but it is believed that his soul has been living in those mountains for almost 47 years now. This is the story of Baba Harbhajan Singh – the hero of the Nathu La pass {India-China border}. He was an Indian army soldier who died on duty. His body may have left the world but his soul is still on active duty, this is what is believed. He slipped and drowned in a glacier near the Nathu La pass in Eastern Sikkim while trying to send supplies to a remote post. He was accorded the status of a saint by the Indian army. It is believed that he himself helped the Indian army locate his body after three days of his death. And a few days later, through a dream, he instructed one of his colleagues to build a shrine in his name, after which a shrine was built at his Samadhi in the mountains.

    What's My Pro Tip?

    There is a small museum close to the temple. It helps if you visit the museum first and then the temple. The museum has a short video on the significance of the location, history etc and few photographs from the past.

    Anything Else?

    Some striking beliefs about Singh as told by the Indian army officials I met at Nathu-La and Baba Mandir are listed below: 1. Baba warns the soldiers of any impending attacks atleast three days in advance. He is still guarding the international boundaries of the two countries. 2. During the customary flag meetings between the India and China, the Chinese army still sets a chair aside for baba. 3. Baba Mandir today has three rooms, baba’s office, store room and living room. In the living room, every item of his need has been neatly kept. His bed, shoes, slippers, water bottle, ironed uniform, an umbrella - everything! 4. His room is cleaned every morning. On some mornings, soldiers have found crumpled bedsheet and his muddy shoes in the room. 5. On a lot of occasions, soldiers have discovered that Baba still visits the camps and his post. 6. He still draws Major’s salary every month and still gets two months of leave every year. 7. Every year on 11 September, his belongings are sent to his hometown. The train departs from New Jalpaiguri station in Siliguri, West Bengal. 8. A berth is reserved in his name and is left empty for the entire journey. A team of soldiers accompanies him till his hometown. 9. The Army is on high alert when Baba is on leave. It's true that some soldiers never die!