A ghost soldier is believed to patrol the Indo-China border in India and protect his colleagues. Devotees believe that the soldier can cure all illnesses.
The place could be worth a visit by the Ripley’s Believe It or Not team. Nathu La, a mountain pass in India along the Indo-China border, has acquired fame not primarily because of the snow-capped peaks around and the breathtaking scenery, but because it is home to a ghost soldier who is widely believed to protect the Indian soldiers keeping vigil along the border. The soldier, who died many years ago, is highly revered among the tourists and soldiers alike.
Strikingly, the phenomenon has been receiving patronage from the Indian army which has built a shrine in its honor and continue to pay its salary and other benefits. The shrine and the legends of the ghost soldier have made Nathu La a tourist hotspot, notwithstanding the fact that the place is astoundingly beautiful and is also an important trade route between India and China.
Baba Harbhajan Singh was an Indian soldier who died in the Nathu La pass in 1968. He was said to have drowned in a stream. That was precisely the time when the legends about the famous ghost soldier started to be passed on for decades to come.
Harbhajan Singh, who was born in the Kapurthala village of Punjab state in India, served the 23rd Punjab battalion. He was escorting a mule caravan on October 4, 1968 when he fell and drowned into a wild and fast stream. After several search missions had failed to locate him, Harbhajan Singh was believed to have given the directions to the site where he had died in the dreams of one of his colleagues. The search mission resumed exactly as instructed in the dreams and his body was located. Harbhajan Singh was also believed to have wanted a shrine built in his name.
In the camp at Nathula Pass, a camp bed is kept for him and his boots are polished and uniform is kept ready every night. The sheets are reportedly crumpled every morning and boots muddy by evening. The Chinese soldiers have also been reported to have seen a human figure patrolling the border at night. Obviously, the legends of the ghost soldier are not confined to the Indian side of the border only. Every time a meeting is held between the Indian and the Chinese soldiers on the border, a chair is reserved for Harbhajan Singh.
The Indian army continues to pay the salary and other benefits to Harbhajan Singh long after he had passed away. The army also grant annual leaves for two months to the ghost soldier— usually from September 15 to November 15 every year. October 4th, the day of his death, is specially commemorated and other soldiers who died on duty in Nathu La are also remembered on the day. Despite the blessing of the Baba the army at Nathula border is in high alert when Baba goes on an annual leave from September 15 to November 15 every year. Even leaves for other Army men during the months are cancelled and extra cautions are sought after.