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The Nanda Devi Trail

This fascinating trek takes you the trail that was once taken by Shipton and Tilman in the 1930s when they traversed this region of Garhwal Himalayas in Uttaranchal. The Nanda Devi Mountain the highest in India has been a revered peak since time immemorial and finds special mention in Hindu scriptures. Also known as the Curzon trail, the Nanda Devi basin was closed in 1980s due to excessive ecological damage and declared a restricted area for mountaineers and trekkers. However the bordering hillsides and forests which are equally delightful are open for outdoor enthusiasts, environmentalists and leisure travellers. This long trek is one of the most rewarding in terms of scenic grandeur and stunning landscape. While on this trek you are exposed to some of the highest peaks in the Indian Western Himalayas like Nanda Devi (7816m / 25,792ft); Changabang (6864m / 22,651ft); Kamet (7756m / 25,94ft) and Dunagiri (7066m / 23,317ft). Still relatively unvisited this large Biosphere is a must for the avid trekker offering some of the most magnificent mountain views in the Indian Western Himalayas.

Haridwar
 
 
 
 

Day 1: On your arrival we meet you at the International Airport in New Delhi which is most often in the early hours of the morning and drive you to your pre-reserved hotel. The entire day is free for you to either relax in your room or explore this exciting city, its colourful bazaars and medieval and colonial monuments.

Day 2: We leave after breakfast and drive to the holy city of Haridwar in the Himalayan foothills with its profusion of temples lined up above the sacred River Ganga (Ganges) that originates high above and flows 2000 Kms across the plains to spill into the Bay of Bengal. We continue on our drive through beautiful forested hillsides and foaming streams and river to the small town of Deoprayag where the two main tributaries of the Ganges – Alaknanda and Bhagirathi meet. Our destination for the night is the town of Srinagar on the banks of the Ganges where on arrival we check into your pre-reserved hotel.

Day 3: A long day's drive today takes us through the picturesque Alaknanda valley with its fertile green fields; the hamlet of Rudraprayag where the legendary hunter turned conservationist shot a notorious man-eating leopard in the 1920s; through Karanprayag where the Pinder and Alaknanda meet to later flow into the Ganges before taking a track up to our first campsite on the trek – Mundoli village at 2134m / 7142ft.

Day 4: leaving our camp after breakfast we proceed to a grassy ridge at 2350m which affords excellent views of the hillsides and also a glimpse at the Nanda Ghunti peak towering to 6861m / 22,641ft. On our walk today we encounter a few tiny villages inhabited by friendly mountain folk who seemed to have stopped their clocks somewhere in the 19 th century. By early afternoon we begin an ascent to Wan - 2450m / 8085ft where we reach an enchanting old Rest House built by the British. We set up our camp on its lawns and stroll over to the gigantic Deodar (Himalayan Cypress) tree and see the shrine devoted to one of many deities of Nanda Devi.

Day 5: Today's trail is well defined and descends to a pleasant path before a steep ascent through cool oak and chestnut forests and later past tall Rhododendrons. The trail ascends above the tree line and takes us to a lush green meadow known as Bedni Bugyal at 3350m / 10,050ft . Bugyals are extensive alpine grasslands that also serve as pastures for local livestock. Our camp here is one of the most striking sites in the Himalayas as we get to see unmatchable views of an amazing stretch of dazzling mountain peaks to the north. Among these stand Trishul (7120m / 23,496ft) and the Nanda Ghunti at 6861m / 22,641ft along with other towering peaks of the Greater Himalayas.

Day 6: The trail goes downhill and then enters a forest to end at a pleasant meadow where we have lunch. From here we walk uphill to a low mountain pass - Kukin Khal (3121m / 10,299ft ) marking the watershed between the Nandakini and Kali Ganga rivers draining the slopes of the Nanda Devi sanctuary. The wildlife here includes –leopard, barking deer, porcupine and musk deer while the avian species consist of the Himalayan Griffon, Lammergeyer, Golden Eagle and kites. Our last leg of the day brings us to Kanol village at 2900m / 9570ft where we camp near a grove of Rhododendron. This is also where the explorers Shipton and Tilman camped 70 years ago.

Day 7: After breakfast gazing at the might Trishul peak and the surrounding rich green fields, we descend to the Nandakini River. After lunch we walk along a pleasant path through pine forests and a few villages. Crossing the Nandakini over an iron bridge we walk a little further before setting up our camp on the river banks.

Day 8: Today's trail goes along the fertile valley bypassing charming villages under the gaze of stately mountains at the heart of the Nanda Devi region; we stop for lunch at a delightful spot with excellent views. Refreshed, we take on a steep ascent to reach Ramni village our campsite for the night.

Day 9: Today is a short day's trek involving a steady climb through forests to the Ramni Pass at 3215m / 10,609ft a mountain ridge from where you can see the Kuari pass far ahead. We then continue through dense forests of Oak, Chestnut and Rhododendron that rise above an undergrowth of exotic wild flowers. You may chance upon wild pheasant, jungle fowl and the beautiful Monal. By afternoon we set up camp in a forest glen. Take short walks or simply relax in the soothing silence.

Day 10: As we continue our trek through delightful forest we reach Jhenipani village at 1524m / 5029ft. From here we descent a steep hill slope to the Bireh Ganga torrent over which we cross a large suspension bridge to begin a steep winding ascent to our lunch spot on the hillside. We can also see the remnants of the Gohna Lake formed due to a massive landslide in 1893 and which later broke through the make shift dam resulting in a devastating flood down river. We continue our walk through pastures and forests to the small village of Pana and climb up to the small meadow of Kalighat where we set up our camp for the night.

Day 11: Today we head towards the Kuari Pass as we cross the last pastures (Bugyals) and go down a steep path to the Pal Gudhera stream. From here a steep climb takes us through rocky forested hills - an ancient trade route linking the southern Garhwal villages with Tibet and frequented by traders carrying grain and returning with salt and borax from Tibet. By afternoon we reach the small pastures of Dhakwani at 3120m / 10,296ft at the base of the pass.

Day 12: After an early breakfast we start our steady ascent to the Kuari Pass on which we get to see an unforgettable sunrise on the glistening Himalayan mountain peaks. Two hours later we reach the saddle of the Kuari col at 3658 / 12,071ft and climbing further to the Kuari ridge at 4268m / 14,084ft are rewarded by spectacular views of the Great Himalayas forming the border with Tibet. We get to identify Kamet (7070m); Badrinath (7040m); Changabang (6863m); Hathi Parvat (6727m); Neel Kanth (6600m) and the stupendous Nanda Devi (7816m). We then continue downhill to our campsite below the pass to experience unforgettable sunsets over these mountains.

Day 13: The last day of our trek as we walk down a long winding slope to the hamlet of Tapovan at 1978m / 6527ft through forests and meadows. Tapovan was once on the ascent route for climbing the Nanda Devi peak. From here we board our jeeps to drive through the Dhauliganga valley arriving in time for lunch at the temple town of Joshimath (1875m / 6187ft). We check into the rest house for the night.

Day 14: Today's drive is along the Alaknanda River to the Shivalik foothills and finally to Srinagar town where we check into a rest house for the night.

Day 15: Today we drive down to Haridwar the place from where we began our exploratory journey into the high Himalayas and after lunch drive back to Delhi to check into your pre-reserved hotel for the night. Farewell dinner before you head on to your next destination.

OtherTreks in Uttaranchal
S. No. Treks Days
1.

The Gangotri Trail

12
2.

The Valley of the Flowers

9
3. Har-Ki Dun Trail 14
4. The Legendary Roop Kund Trek 18
5. The Extended Rupin Pass trek into Himachal 14

 


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