Altitude: 4500 m above Sea Level
Attraction: Nanda Devi Peak
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 1930s 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
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
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.
Day 04: MUNDOLI-NANDA
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.
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.
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
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.
Day 09: NANDA DEVI-KUARI
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
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.