NANDA DEVI TREK
A classic trek that retraces the pioneering steps of Shipton and Tilman through the Garhwal Himalaya. The Nanda Devi basin must surely be one of the most legendary regions in the entire Himalayan chain. The mountain itself, revered since time immemorial by all those who live in its shadow, has long attracted the attention of the pioneering mountaineers and explorers, mystics and spiritualists, writers and everyday travellers who have visited the area.
This classic trek takes us across the picturesque meadows and valleys that border the western edge of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. The route we follow was used by Shipton and Tilman on their amazing journey to the Nanda Devi basin. During the trek there are many views of the surrounding peaks and the Kuari Pass (3658m) itself has an unrivalled panorama of the Great Himalayan peaks including Nanda Devi (7816m), Changabang (6864m), Doonagiri (7066m) and Kamet (7756m).
This amazing feat of endurance and determination was capped when Tilman later returned to conquer the peak itself. Sadly, the mystic of the area led to an excess of expeditions and ecological damage and the Sanctuary was closed in the 1980's. Investigations are currently underway to assess the recovery.
Day 01 : Rishikesh to Joshimath (270 kms/8-9 hrs):
The drive to Joshimath comprises of hilly landscape along the entire route. Enroute one can visit the much revered confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi at Devprayag. This is the place from where the river is named - "Ganges". As Uttarakhand is abode of gods there are another three holy prayag (confluences) Rudraprayag, Karanprayag and Nandprayag which are a real site to see. Arrive to the hill station of Joshimath followed by checking into the hotel. Evening explore the town of Joshimath. Overnight in hotel.
Day 02 : Joshimath to Lata Village (2317 mts/7599 ft) (2 kms/1 hrs):
After Joshimath one leaves the national highway and drives on real mountain roads. The drive from Joshimath to Lata is 28 km and takes approximately an hour. En route one gets to see a big thermal hydro project at the village of Tapovan. Lata is the starting point and one is introduced to porters and the trekking team. The trek to Lata village is a steep climb through fields and clusters of abandoned houses. After a series of switch backs one arrives at the village. A warm welcome at the village is a unique experience as Inhabitants of Lata are considered friendly and renowned for their hospitality. Evening visit the Nanda Devi Temple and explore the village. Overnight in the village.
Day 03 : Lata Village to Lata Kharak (3689 mts/12099 ft) (9 kms/7 hrs):
The trail from Lata village is distinctive and climbs gradually through Oak, Rhododendron and Pine forests, to a ridge followed by a traverse to cross a side stream. After this the trail again climbs over another ridge and continues to another side stream. After crossing the second side stream the trail becomes more steep- with a series of switch backs, finally terminating at the campsite at Lata Kharak. The walk of the day is challenging at times, but the peaks i.e. Hanuman, Hathi Godhi elates the spirits! The campsite is an open space on top of the ridge, with Himalayan peaks i.e. Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Dronagiri, Hathi Ghodi and Dev Sthan visible all around. Overnight in tents.
Day 04 : Lata Kharak to Semi Kharak to Lata Kharak:
This day is a reserved for exploration and acclimatization. This day one is required to trek to Semi Kharak, on a boulder path. Semi Kharak is famous for viewing Nanda Devi and the Rishi Ganga River gorge. The area of inner line adjoining Nanda Devi can be seen vividly. The walk takes approximately 6 Kilometers both ways and takes approximately 4 hours. Return to camp and enjoy lunch. Evening at leisure for relaxation and photography! Overnight in tents.
Day 05 : Lata Kharak to Dharansi Pass (4250 mts/13940 ft) (10 kms/4 -5 hrs):
The trail from Lata Kharak climbs steeply to reach Jhandi Dhar. There is a bifurcation to the village of Tolma at this point. From Jhandidhar the trail traverses for about 1.5 kilometer before it becomes steep for 500 metres to reach Bagfyana Pass. From here trail continues to ascend and descend through the narrow gorge of Satkul to reach Dharansi Pass. The stunning view of Nanda Devi is venerable amongst many. Other Himalayan gems visible from here are, Nanda Ghunti, Chang Bang, Dronagiri, Hathi Ghodi and Dev Sthan Over night in tents.
Day 06 : Dharansi Pass to Tolma Village:
The day's trek is a long descent to the village of Tolma. One starts the reverse trek on same trail till Jhandidhar. From this point, one follows a new trail which descends down a ridge and continues to descend further through a forest of Oak and Rhododendron finally terminating at the village of Tolma. Another warm welcome to a village house and a welcome tea, gives one a glimpse of the hospitality and culture of the hill folk!. The houses in the village are typical houses made of stone and mud and inhabitants are well known for hospitality. Overnight in the village.
Day 07 : Tolma Village t0 Surai Thotta t0 Karanprayag (1890 mts/6199 ft) (8 kms/3-4 hrs):
The trail from Tolma descends through fields to reach Surai Thotta. It is time to bid farewell to the porters, and to board the vehicles and start driving towards Karanprayag via Joshimath and Nandprayag. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 08 : Karanprayag to Rishikesh (170 km/ 6-7 hrs):
The drive for the day covers 170 kilometers and takes approximately 7 hours. En route visit the confluences at Rudraprayag and Devprayag. Arrive at Rishikesh. Trip End.