Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
|Nanda Devi (7817m.) 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.
The Nanda Devi basin is surely one of the most legendary regions in the entire Himalayan chain.
The mountain itself, revered since immemorial time 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 explorations by W.W. Garden, Traill, Graham and Longstaff
but shot to fame in the 1930’s when Shipton, N.E. Odell and Tilman
forced a route into the Inner Sanctuary.
The area remained undisturbed until the 1950’s
when organized expeditions for Nanda Devi started.
In the vicinity of Nanda Devi is situated the Nanda Devi National Park,
which has some of the most unique high altitude flora and fauna in the world.
The spectacular views, sylvan environment, and richness of biosphere make it quite different
from the other wildlife sanctuaries of India.
The park has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.
The Government of India declared it later Biosphere Reserve.
All these status were given to save the park from tourists disturbances and pollution:
the fame and mystic of the area led to an excess of expeditions
and ecological damage. The Sanctuary was closed in 1984.
Since may 2003, it is open again under very strict rules.
The Nanda Devi National Park is located in the Indian state of Uttaranchal in the upper Himalayan ranges.
A part of the Garhwal Himalayas, the park extends from the latitude 30°24′ in the North
to the longitude 79°53′ in the East.
The entry to the park is from Lata village around 23 km from Joshimath.
Mountain peaks surround it from all sides except the west where it is bounded by an inaccessible gorge.
Being in the high altitudes, Nanda Devi National Park has a distinct climate.
For six months of the year, the region remains under a snow cover.
For the rest of the year, the region has a dry climate with heavy rainfall from June to August.
April to June are the months when the temperature increases a bit
and they are the months when one can visit this place.
The forest cover in this park is mainly restricted to the Rishi Gorge
and the main vegetation is of fir, birch, rhododendron, and juniper.
In the inner sanctuary, conditions are drier and near the Nanda Devi Glacier , there is almost no vegetation.
From Ramani , the vegetation changes to alpine and only juniper scrubs are the dominating vegetation.
The Juniper scrubs gradually give way to grasses, prone mosses, and lichens.In total, 312 floral species have been found here of which around 17 are considered rare.
Animal population of species like bharal, Himalayan tahr, serow, goral, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear,brown bear, leopard, common langur, Himalayan musk deer , and brown beer dominate the park area.
Warblers, gresbreaks, rose finches, and ruby throat represent avifauna here.
Approximately 80 species have been spotted in this park.
our trek route
The entire trek goes through thick forests and alpine meadows surrounded by glacial torrents, water falls,
hillocky and colorful boulders, moraines, steep gorges, overhanging cliffs and roaring rivers.
Day 1: Belta
Drive to Lata (a small village at the altitude of 2317 m.) : 26 km on the Joshimath -Malari motor road + 4 km trek to Belta. Duration 2 to 4 hours (up to altitude 2850 m.).
Lata is the best entry point to the area. It is a typical tribal village of “Tolchas”, situated near the left bank of the Dhalui river. Belta is a nice small flat area in a forest. From here, one can enjoy the huge dense flora & birds voices. From this place one can see easily Lata village and the lower part of Kuaripass.
First day camping side.
Day 2: Lata Kharak
5 km from Belta. Duration 3 to 5 hours (altitude 3689 m.).
The trek starts in the early morning to Lata Kharak; it is a steep trek, through dense forest. A forest hut is available there.
From Lata Kharak one can see the Chaukhamba Peaks & its range, Neelkanth Peak & Nar /Narayan Peak, Mana Peak & its range, Hathi Ghodi Parwat, Barhmal peak, the Kuaripass area and the Dayari Sera.
Mostly Lata Kharak is famous for the Nanda Peaks such as Ronthi & Nanda Ghunti, Bethartoli, Nanda Khat & many other Nanda peaks. All these peaks are seen very near at Lata Kharak.
Lata village, Tapovan, Dhak & Bhavisya Badri are easily seen from here.
Day 3: 4 km to Saini Kharak (3240m.) & back to the camp at Lata Kharak.
Duration: 2 hours to Saini Kharak (altitude 3240 m.), 4km from Lata kharak. Water is not available over there so one has to come back by the same route to Lata Kharak.
The trekker can already enjoy the Sanctuary near and clear from Saini Kharak.
This place is famous for its sightseeing, the view of the Nanda Devi and its other peaks. One can enjoy the lofty peaks & Rishi Ganga from here. From here one can approach the Reni village while crossing Rishi Ganga.
Or a trek from Lata Kharak to Zandhidhaar (3928m.) and Satkula (4023m):
– 3 km of steep climb to Zandhidhaar (duration: 2 hours), and amazing view when the Donagri and other unnamed Peaks come on the way on the beautiful small meadow covered with flowers. One has to climb many ascents and descents to reach Zandhidhaar.
– From Zandhidhaar to Satkula is a 3 km trek. One can see the Lofty of Nanda Devi peak very near.
From Zandhidhaar, the way to Satkula is quite flat & straight, so this trek is not hard.
One can make the camp side at Satkula. It’s a nice place covered with dense forest. Inside the forest is a nice lush green meadow. If one is lucky, he can see the beautiful Monal Pheasant or other birds & wild animals very near.
Day 4: trek to Dharassi Pass (4152m.); overnight in camp.
8 km trek from Lata Kharak (altitude at top 4665 m.). Duration 5 to 7 hours.
From Satkula to Dharassi pass is steep and rocky. One can have difficulties after 2 km trek from Satkula when the rocky surface begins to enter the pass: some equipment brought by the guide and porters shall be needed to face these types of difficulty.
The Pass appears to be a long steep trek with many ascents and descents until the Nanda Devi comes into the view when crossing the Pass. Dharassi Pass is a Camp side where water is available. The Pass is inside a huge dense forest which covers many types of wild animals and birds. There is a beautiful small meadow from where one can enjoy the Nanda Devi Sanctuary nearly. There are rich flora & fauna inside the Pass.
The Pass beauty is everlasting: the view is over the Nanda Devi, Donagri, Mrigthuni, Mangraon, Changbang, Kalnka, Hanuman and many other peaks are seen from here.
The whole Nanda Devi Sanctuary is seen from here. Sir Emund Hillary described the Sanctuary as a God – Gifted.
Day 5: 3 km trek down to Dibrugetha and back to Dharassi Pass.
4 km from Dharassi pass. Duration 2 hours down & 4 hours steep back trek (3500 m.).
There is a great flat meadow area which is straight down from Dharassi pass, this meadow is known as Dibrugetha. If one has luck, he can enjoy the wild animals like black bear, musk deer, Monal pheasant and many other types of wild animals.
Day 6: 9 km trek to Tolma, overnight in camp.
Duration 4 to 5 hours (altitude 3750 m.).
Tolma is a nice small village inside a forest, but we are making the camp before the Tolma village. The camp side is a small flat part inside a forest where a beautiful water stream is available. Only Tolma & Suraithota village are seen from here.
Day 7: back to Joshimath via Suraitohta (altitude 2329 m.) .
Duration 2 to 4 hours. 5 km down to Suraithota, and further drive 28 km to Joshimath.
Possibility of other treks…
or way back to Rishikesh/ Delhi.
COSTS include: Road transportation from Rishikesh to Rishikesh by car, Accommodation in Medium Class Hotels (where applicable) on a twin sharing basis, all Meals, tents on twin share basis, cooking tent and utensils, table and chairs, permits and entrance fees,English speaking guide, cooks and porters/mules. We serve variety of food on our trips which includes Indian, western and Chinese.
COSTS exclude: Accommodation in Rishikesh, Personal Insurance, all alcoholic beverages and Expenses of personal nature.
Bethartoli peak & … Ronthi peak on the way.
The Nanda Devi peak is considered to be one of the toughest peaks to climb in the world
and was a favorite destination of mountaineers from all over the world.