Location : Garhwal Himalayas
Base : Joshimath
Altitude : 4500 m above Sea Level
Attraction : Nanda Devi Peak
Duration : 13 Nights / 14 Days
Destination Covered : Delhi - Haridwar - Devprayag - Mundoli - Nandaghunti - Kanol - Nandakini Valley - Nandadevi - Kuari Pass - Tapovan - Delhi
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.
Everest may well be the highest peak in the world but the beautiful peak of Nanda Devi must surely be the most fascinating. The area first came to the attention of the Western world as a result of the 19th century explorations by Traill, Graham and Longstaff but shot to fame in the 1930's when Shipton and Tilman forced a route into the Inner Sanctuary. Nanda Devi is the highest mountain situated completely within India and is surrounded by a ridge wall of nearly 6000m. The only break in this wall is the Rishi Ganga, a wild and seemingly impenetrable gorge.
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), Dunagiri (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.
Understandably, the country that surrounds the Sanctuary now has its own attractions for walkers and pilgrims alike. The immediate landscape has been beautifully tamed by centuries of low-key habitation and cultivation but the constant backdrop of the mighty Himalayan peaks makes for a magnificence unrivalled elsewhere in the region.
Itinerary : (Nanda Devi Trekking)
Day 01 : Delhi - Haridwar - Devprayag
We arrive New Delhi early morning and transfer to the hotel. We then take the early morning train to Haridwar, one of the most holy Hindu towns on the banks of the Ganges. We then continue by road to the small hamlet of Devprayag perched above the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers. A visit to the saddhus on the riverbank for a good weather blessing is a must! Simple guesthouse.
Day 02 : Devprayag - Mundoli
We follows the gently winding road into the heart of the Garwhal foothills, past Rudraprayag with its memorial stone to Jim Corbett and the infamous man eating leopard and onwards up the Pindar valley. We camp above the road-head near Mundoli. Camp.
Day 03 : Mundoli
An excellent start to our journey as we trek through rhododendron forest, hand-tilled fields and small, friendly villages. We camp near an old Forest Rest House with impressively large deodar. Camp.
Day 04 : Mundoli - Nanda Ghunti
Today involves a long climb to the magnificent bugyal or grazing meadow of Bedni. Here we are rewarded with startling views of Trisul (7120m) and Nanda Ghunti (6390m). A tougher day of steep ascent and descent. Camp.
Day 05 : Nanda Ghunti - Kanol
Classic walking today as we head north through Rolling Meadows bordered with ancient rhododendron trees that give the most wonderful display of colour in spring. The trails are good and the scenery magnificent. We camp near a river beside the village of Kanol. Camp
Day 06 : Kanol
A tough morning as we make the long descent to the Nandakini River. A welcome paddle in the clear water to sooth our feet whilst the porters set up camp. A long half-day. Camp.
Day 07 : Kanol - Nandakini Valley
We start the day by trekking up and out of the Nandakini valley, a tough but rewarding climb along good trails. Birds of prey such as Lammergeyer, Golden Eagle and Himalayan Griffon are common in this area. The day's efforts are well worth it as we camp in peaceful and wonderfully flat meadow for the night. Camp.
Day 08 : Nandakini Valley - Nanda Devi
A day traversing one of the main valleys that radiate out from the Inner Sanctuary of Nanda Devi. A steep descent takes us to our interesting campsite above the gorge of the Bharagithi. Camp.
Day 09 : Nanda Devi - Kuari Pass
We cross the river on a splendid suspension bridge. Shipton and Tilman were not so fortunate and had to improvise a crossing out of fallen tree trunks and rope.... From the river we climb steeply to a level trail that takes us to our next campground, in sight of the Kuari Pass. Camp.
Day 10 : Kuari Pass
An easier day as we make camp at Dhakwani near the base of the Kauri Pass in preparation for an early start tomorrow. Camp.
Day 11 : Kuari Pass
We make a pre-dawn start for the pass to gain the best views. Climbing in the footsteps of Shipton and Tilman, we follow the zigzag path to the top of the pass (3658m). The route is not difficult and the views that unfold at the top are unrivalled anywhere in the Himalayas. A stunning panorama of snow covered 6000 and 7000m peaks stretches as far as the eye can see. After savouring this moment we descend to a sheltered grazing meadow to watch the peaks fade into the twilight. Camp.
Day 12 : Kuari Pass - Tapovan
The final day of our classic trek. We descend further towards the Alaknanda valley and the small settlement of Tapovan where we rejoin our transport for the short ride to Josimath, an important halting point for Shipton and Tilman during their explorations. Overnight at Hotel or Guesthouse.
Day 13 : Tapovan - DevPrayag
A long day of driving as we follow the river to the Alaknanda valley southwest on to Devprayag. Overnight at Hotel or guesthouse.
Day 14 : Devprayag - Haridwar - Delhi
We continue our journey to Delhi via Haridwar where we take the train on to Delhi (if tickets are unavailable due to pilgrims we will continue by road). We arrive in Delhi in time for last minute souvenir hunting and an enjoyable meal in one of the many excellent restaurants. Overnight at Hotel.