Nanda Devi Basecamp
Places covered: Delhi - Haridwar - Devprayag - Mundoli - Nanda Ghunti - Kanol - Nandakini Valley - Kuari Pass - Tapovan
Elevation: 7,817 m
Duration: 13 nights and 14 days
Nanda Devi, whose name means Blessed Goddess, is the highest mountain in India. It is a great white double pyramid overlooking the sacred Garhwal region. Nanda Devi rises from a vast ring of high mountains that form the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, an amphitheater seventy miles in circumference and 6000m high, surrounding the Rishiganga valley. Only once in this giant cirque does the elevation drop below 5200 m.
Repeated early efforts to reach the inner sanctuary failed. Bill Tilman finally reached the sanctuary in 1934 with Eric Shipton, then Tilman climbed to the summit in 1936 with No ‘l Odell. With this ascent, Nanda Devi became the highest peak attained by man, a record which remained until the 1950 ascent of Annapurna.
Day 1: Delhi - Haridwar - Devprayag
We arrive in New Delhi in the early morning and transfer to the hotel. We then take the early morning train to Haridwar, one of the holiest 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 2: Devprayag - Mundoli
We follow the gently winding road into the heart of the Garhwal foothills, past Rudraprayag with its memorial stone to Jim Corbett and the infamous man-eating leopard and onward up the Pindar valley. We camp above the road-head near Mundoli.
Day 3: Mundoli
An excellent start to our journey as we trek through a rhododendron forest, hand-tilled fields, and small, friendly villages. We camp near an old Forest Rest House with impressively large deodar. Overnight stay at the Camp.
Day 4: 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. Overnight stay at the Camp.
Day 5: Nanda Ghunti - Kanol
Classic walking today as we head north through the Rolling Meadows bordered with ancient rhododendron trees that give the most wonderful display of color in spring. The trails are good and the scenery magnificent. We camp near a river beside the village of Kanol.
Day 6: Kanol
A tough morning as we make the long descent to the Mandakini River. A welcome paddle in the clear water to soothe our feet whilst the porters set up camp & overnight stay.
Day 7: Kanol- Nandakini Valley
We start the day by trekking up and out of the Mandakini 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 the peaceful and wonderfully flat meadow for the night. Overnight stay at the Camp.
Day 8: Nandakini Valley - Nanda Devi
A day walking through 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 Bhagirathi & over night stay.
Day 9: 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. Overnight stay at the 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 & over night stay in the 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 unrivaled anywhere in the Himalayas. A stunning panorama of snow-covered 6000 and 7000m peaks stretches as far as the eye can see. After savoring 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 Joshimath, 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.