Straddling the districts of Garhwal and Kumaon, close to the Nepalese border, Nanda Devi (7817m) 'Goddess of Joy' is the highest peak in the Indian Himalaya. For Indians of Hindu faith it is among the most sacred mountain after mount Kailash. Surrounding the peak is an oceanic expanse of high 6,000 and 7,000 meter peaks. It was the goal of many early 20th century expeditions-all of which failed to reach the sanctuary until Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman reached it via the Rishi gorge in 1932. Tilman eventually climbed the peak for the first time with Charles Houston in 1936.
Since the inner sanctuary is closed for any trekking or expeditions we cannot follow the Shipton and Tilman up the Rishi gorge to the inner sanctuary. However we approach from equally beautiful Saryu and Ramganga valley and later the Goriganga. This valley is accessed by hiking up the Gori Ganga river gorge which separates the Nanda Devi group from the beautiful peaks of the Panch Chuli group and the trek provides continuous fantastic views of the mountains.
Duration: 20 days
Maximum elevation: 3952m (Nanda Devi East Base camp)
Best season: September to November – March to May
Trekking type: Camping
Spectacular view of Nanda Devi and Panchachuli peaks
Expansive meadows and panoramic views of the Himalaya
Trekking through summer villages
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Airport transfers are provided for all clients arriving on Delhi. In the afternoon, a city sightseeing tour is provided. Alternatively, you may choose to take it easy at the hotel.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Delhi, evening transfer to the railway station
After breakfast, we have sightseeing tour of old Delhi and New Delhi then in the evening, we transfer to the railway station to catch the overnight train to Kathgodam.
Day 3: Drive to Khali Estate (1960m / 4-5 hrs)
Arriving at Kathgodam, we drive through impressive scenic country to our overnight stop at Khali Estate. We drive through Bhim Tal where is a beautiful lake, several small markets and villages, Kaichi Dham (nice Hindu temple), Almora and finally reach in hotel. We stay at hotel Mountain resort which is situated on the top of small hill, surrounded by forest. We have wonderful views from here including sun set and the mountains.
Day 4: Drive to Munsiyari (2190m / 190 km / 6 hrs)
It is very scenic drive through many hill villages, small markets and cross many ridges. We have very nice views of the mountains, green hills and terraces. Munsiyari is a very scenic village with fantastic views of the Panchchuli group. We can enjoy walking around the market. Here we should get inner line permit for restricted area to go Nanda Devi and Mila glacier.
Day 5: Trek to Lilam (1822m / 15 km / 6 hrs)
Leaving Munsiyari camp, we walk along the black topped road through beautiful small villages. We can see lots of flowers and many different vegetables. 30-40 min later (2.19 km) we arrive at Ambedkar gate. From here, we leave the road and follow wide path. From the ridge line / small village, descend down and walk through middle of the village and farming land to "Jalat" village. This is beautiful village, here we can see many traditional houses and local village life. From here we descend down for 10 min to Darkot and join with road again (1836m / 3.6 km / 1 hr). Darkot is large village.
From Darkot, we walk along the road. Little beyond Darkot, we take straight left hand side road. Most of the time it is flat route, there are some small ascends and descends also. It is very nice walk through beautiful forest. About 2 hrs 30 min later, we arrive in "Dhapa" villages (1818m / 7.4 km). This is small nice village, few minutes later it start small rough road but good condition. After 3 hrs 20-30 min walk from Munsiyari we arrive at road end point (Chilam Dhar / 10.67 km / 1716m). Here are some shops and local Tea shops. All the vehicles drive just to this point but the road is under constructing. Now, mostly tourist use vehicle and drive direct to this point.
From here, we steeply descend down to a river for 15 minutes, cross the river by wooden bridge and then steeply climb up for 15-20 minutes to Jheu Dhar. There are 2 local tea shops here we join with old rough road. After tea shops, it is very easy almost flat rout to Lilam. We walk along this old rough road it has damaged by landslide and floods in many places. We have nice views of green valley, Gori Ganga River, Bhui and Panto villages. There are very small ascends and descends on the way we leave the road just before Lilam village, climb little up by the side of electric pole and gently ascend to the camping ground. There is a camping ground below the small hotel on top of the village. The ITBP camp is at bottom of the village, here we don't have to show our ILP. Panto and Bhui villages are just in the front other side of the valley. There are not any flat huge grounds for camping but we can pitch many tents in small terraces. Mostly mobile Sim cards work here. We will not reach close to Gori Ganga River and all the time stay much higher from the valley floor.
Day 6: Trek to Bugdiar (2450m / 15 km / 7-8 hrs)
From Lilam, we climb up by making many switch backs (The old / lower path is closed because of road constructing). The path is very good and mostly stone paved. About 30 min later we arrive in small local hotel, here is very good rest place. Leaving this hotel we continue to climb up and walk through beautiful grassy hill slope. There is a gentle ascend for a while and cross small stream by cement bridge (15 min from hotel). After bridge it is easy walk for a while then steeply climbs up to another (last) local hotel (15 min / 2070m). We can see many Vultures around here. This is very good place to rest and drink some tea with nice valley views. From this hotel we climb up steep, there are also some easy gentle ascend and small stream (jumpable). About 40-50 min later from hotel, we arrive at the trail separation point near small stream (2.67 km / 2322m / 2 hrs from Lilam /higher route and middle). The higher route via "Minsing" pass is much better than middle route. Middle path is little bit short but very dangerous and slippery. The middle path goes towards right hand side through very steep hill slope.
The higher path continues up by left side then cross small stream after 15-20 minutes. The path is very good and stone paved but very steep up. We have wonderful views of some snowy peaks (Panchchuli - just tops) and beautiful valley. About 1 hr 30 min later from trail separation point, we arrive on top of the ridge line (near tree line), follow the ridge line for a while, descend little bit, climb small up to the shrine and then 10 minutes last climb up to the top of "Minsing" top (2795m / 4.74 km / 3 and half – 4 hrs from Lilam). There are some bells and prayer flags on the pass.
From Minsing top, descend to small meadow (10 min) there is an old hut and small flat ground but no water. After this meadow we steeply descend down through beautiful mixed forest, join with middle path (50-60 min from top / 2453m) and arrive at beginning of Babal Dhar. Here is a local tea shop, leaving this tea shop we gently descend down passing some local hotels to small ridge line then steeply descend to the long suspension bridge (2133m / 30-40 min). It is very nice walk and not difficult.
After the bridge, there is very easy gentle ascends and flat route for a while then steep climb for 15-20 minutes. Around here we can see some old Bee hives in rocky cliffs and Musk Deer. It is nice walk through mixed forest and Bamboo groves. About 1 hr later from bridge, we arrive at "Siuni" (2270m) there is a local hotel. There are some small ups and gentle ascend but mostly flat. From here it is flat, gentle ascend and small climb to old weather station tower (1 hr) then small climb and easy flat route to Bugdiar (25-30 min from tower). There is ITBP camp at the beginning of Bugdiar. There are also some hotels and shops. We should register our ILP. The camping ground is about 10 minutes further from ITBP check post. There is side river which we cross by local log bridge and walk 5 minutes to camp. We use helipad ground to pitch the tents. This is small flat ground. Bugdiar is situated at deep and narrow valley.
Day 7: Trek to Rilkot (3141m / 15 km / 6 hrs)
From camp, we walk easy flat for 5 min and then steep climb up about 15-20 minutes. After that it is gentle ascend, descend and flat route through just above the Gori Ganga River along the narrow green valley. The path is very good and mostly stone paved. We climb steep up for 20 minutes then arrive at "Nahar Devi" (2676m / 1 hr 20-30 min from camp). Here is a local hotel and small shop at the beginning and Nahar Devi temple is about 10 minutes further. It is situated in very deep valley and the bottom of huge rocky cliff. Many people offer incense and flowers in this temple for their good luck. Here the river stream becomes very wide.
Leaving the temple, walk through bottom of rocky cliff. The path is almost flat and gentle ascend. It is very narrow valley and rocky peaks are standing in both sides. About 25-30 minutes later, there is steep up for 10 min and flat route then descend down to the very nice waterfall (15-20 min). There is another waterfall little further in the other side. After waterfall, we walk through small green ground. The path is gently climb, ascend and then easy flat to another small meadow (below old path which is higher route through rocky cliff / 1 hr from waterfall). There is a ruined old hut at the beginning. We follow the lower main path and walk through rocky cliff just above the river. The path is very good, there is a small waterfall which falls down on the way and we get wet. Behind the rocky cliff, descend little bit down to huts / local tea shop (25 min from hut). From here, we climb up about 15-20 minutes then very easy flat route, small ascends and descend to Laspa river (25 min from top). This river is coming down from Laspa side. We cross this river by wooden bridge (constructing new bridge) and climb very steep up through slippery path about 15-20 minutes. After then it is easy flat and gentle ascend (15 min) then descend down for a while. The Laspa trail is separate from beginning of descend. From here it is easy walk to Rilkot (1 hr 15-20 min). There are 2 small climb and gentle ascend and descend but mostly flat route. The valley and the river stream become wider. Rilkot is situated at bottom of the last ridge above Gori Ganga River. There is ITBP check post and camp in the beginning and some hotels and camping grounds are little beyond (5 min). Here are several private houses above the camp. Here is constructing new road and connected with Milam village.
Day 8: Trek to Pachhu village (3395m / 14 km / 5 hrs)
Leaving Rilkot, the path is flat, cross a small stream, descend little bit (20 min) and then steeply climb up to the small top (15 min). We cross a stream (jumpable) just before the top and join with new road. From top, it is very nice views of the valley including Gori Ganga River and surrounding views / alpine areas. From here we walk along the small new road (few trucks drive here which are using by road builder army). About 25 minutes later, we arrive at trail separation point for Martoli and Milam village (3310m / 3 km). The left side small path leads to Martoli village (2.4 km) and along the road goes to Burfu and Milam. It is very easy and enjoyable walk (gradual ascend and flat). Tola village is in the other side of the valley. From trail separation point we follow the road, it is gradually descend to a side river beyond Martoli (1 hr from trail separation). We have very nice view of Trishuli peak towards head of the valley. After this river, the road climbs up by making switch backs for a while, descend and then easy flat to Burfu Bridge (40 min / 3240m / 8.33 km). We have very nice views of Burfu Dhura, Trishuli and several villages from here.
After bridge, we leave the road (road goes other side) and follow small path to Mapa village (40-50 min). It is very easy and nice walk through grassy grounds and Juniper bushes. The Mapa (summer village) is beautiful, here are grows some vegetables and crops and keep many animals during the summer. From this village, we walk through some old fields, grassy ground and follow lower path. The higher path goes up to small temple. It is very easy and nice walk. The path gradually ascend, flat, small climb and then descend little bit to Pachhu village (1 hr 15-20 min from Mapa). Pachhu is very old summer village, mostly houses are ruined. Here is a small temple on top of the village. Many people live here during the summer. There is another village other side. It start strong windy in the afternoon. We can see very nice view of Nanda Devi East from last corner (last part of Pachhu)
Day 9: Hike to Nanda Devi East base camp (3952m / 4.59 km / 3 hrs), back to Pachhu (5 hr)
Leaving Pachhu village, we walk by left side of the temple and climb up to small top (15-20 min). From here we can see very nice first view of Nanda Devi (7816m), Nanda Devi East (7434m), Latu Dhura (6392m) and some small peaks. From here we walk through beautiful small forest of Pine, Juniper, Rhododendron and Paper Birch. The path is very good and gently ascends. There are also some small steep ups. We have very nice views around all the time. We can see Kalganga Dhura (6215), Bamba Dhura (6334m) and Burfu Dhura (6148m) in the other side of the valley. About little bit more than 2 hrs walk from camp, we arrive at very nice meadow / small top. From here the mountains views are wonderful. From here it is very easy 25-30 min walk to the last top (3952m) which is the best point to see views of Nanda Devi and other mountains. The base camp and glacier moraine is very close from here (20 – 25 min walk).
After enjoying with mountain views we come back to camp for late lunch (retrace).
Day 10: Trek to Milam village (3440m / 15 km / 5 and half - 6 hrs)
From Pachhu, we come back to Burfu Bridge (5.6 km). We retrace for 25-30 minutes and then take lower path which is use by horses. This path is just above the river and very good. There are several small ups and downs but mostly gently descend and flat. We cross the Gori Ganga River by bridge and climb small up (10 min) to Burfu village. Burfu is beautiful summer village but mostly houses are ruined. Here is a shop and local tea shop. We can see very nice view of Burfu Dhura range from here.
After visit this village, we gently descend and join with road (5 min) then walk along the road. The road is gently ascends but mostly flat route. We have wonderful views of Nanda Devi, Nanda Devi East, Latu Dhura and Nanda Lapak when we reach in front of Pachhu village. Trishuli peak is standing at top of the valley. About 1 hr 20 minutes later, we arrive in "Belju" village (3413m / 10.5 km). The view of Trishuli becomes more impressive. Pachhu village is just other side and all the Nanda Devi peaks are standing at the head of small valley.
From Belju village it is about 1 hr 40-50 minutes easy walk to Milam village (5 km). We cross a river by bridge before Milam village then gently ascend and walk through some hotels and ITBP camp. The mountain views become more superb. The ITBP camp is in the middle and then starts Milam village area. This is the largest village of this region and here were almost 500 houses when it was main trade route but now mostly houses are damaged and ruined.
Milam is the last check post for Milam glacier trek, here we should show our all ID cards and clients passport with our permit. They keep our permit with them and give back when we leave Milam.
Day 11: Visit Milam glacier (5.8 km / 3569 / 2 hrs 30 min-3 hrs), back to Milam (5 hrs)
Today, we start early in the morning to see Sun rise views on mountains. Leaving camp, walk through middle of the village and gently ascend. The path is very good and easy walk through Juniper and Himalayan Rose bushes. Other side of the valley, we can see Sakram (6254m), Deu Damla (6220m) and Mangraon peaks. About 30-40 minutes later, we have wonderful view of Hardeol whole valley is dominating by Hardeol (7151m). We can see also some other peaks. The path continues gently ascend through Juniper and Himalayan Rose bushes and. As we go further the mountain views become better. After little bit more than 1 hr walk, we arrive at the best view point (3504m / 3 km). There are some Cairns. From here, we can see wonderful views of Trishuli (7075m), Hardeol, Rishi pahar, some other peaks and Milam Glacier. After this top, it is very easy walk about 1 hr 15-20 min to the beginning of Milam glacier. The path is very clear and gradually descend, ascend, flat and small climb to the Glacier.
Milam Glacier is moraine glacier. It is huge and very long. The old Icy glacier is far from here. The Hardeol and Trishuli peaks are standing at top of the valley. Some time we can see blue Sheep around here.
After enjoying with mountain and glacier views we come back to camp for late hot lunch.
Day 12: Trek to Martoli (3385m / 14 km / 5 hrs)
Leaving Milam camp, we go to ITBP camp to collect our permit and ID cards then follow the road all the way to Burfu village (Retrace / 9.27 km / 3 hrs). We stop in Burfu village for tea then follow the same path (road) to the bridge at bottom of Martoli village (3210m / 1 hr). After bridge, we leave road and steeply climb up to the huge meadow / Martoli village (1.2 km from bridge / 30 min)
Martoli is large summer village, situated at top of the flat meadow. Mostly houses are ruined and abandoned but few houses are in good condition. Here is a rest houses belong to the KMVN but not good, one small private local guest house and normal shop. The Nanda Devi temple is on top of the village (1 km). This is very good place but strong windy in the afternoon. From Martoli, we have fantastic views of Kholi (6114m), Trishuli (7074m), Rishi Pahar (6992m), Nandakot (6881m), Kuchela (6294m) and Longstaff col (5910m). From Nanda Devi temple we can see Nanda Devi East (7434m) and Nanda Lapak (5782m).
Day 13: Trek to Laspa (3324m - camp / 8.97 km / 4 hrs 30 min – 5 hrs)
From Martoli, we gently descend through beautiful grassy slope and join with road (3.4 km /3341m / 1 hr). The path is very good and very nice views around. After the road junction we retrace to Rilkot (5.16 km / 2 hrs from Martoli) and then again follow the same way to path separation point for Laspa (3174m / 8.37 km / 1 hr 15-20 min from Rilkot).
From here, we leave the main path and steeply climb up to the beginning of huge meadow of Laspa (3305m / 8.8 km / 30-40 min). The path is good but very steep up. About 200 meter beyond the top, there is huge flat ground for camping. Little bit further up, in the left side there is also a nice flat ground. If we make camp here water will be close. The Laspa village is about 15 minutes / 0.67 km further from here. There are not any good grounds in the village. So it will be the best idea to make camp before village. This is very nice place and peaceful.
Laspa is also a small summer village, situated at the top of small hill. Here are about 25-30 houses but mostly abandoned and damaged. The Shalang Dhura (5678m), Bankatia (5630m) and other small peaks are standing in the back side of Laspa village. These peaks are small but wonderful. There is a small temple on top of the village.
Day 14: Hike to Bankatia base camp (3547m / 3.28 km / 2 hrs), back to camp (3 hrs 30 min)
After camp, we walk through beautiful grassy ground, cross a small stream (jumpable) just before village and then through middle of the village (3404m). Here are growing lots of local vegetables. We have wonderful views of the mountains. We visit the small temple, beyond the long wall we gently climb and turn left side. The path is small but clear, it goes up by the side of old cement water tank. There are not any steep climb, mostly gentle ascend and flat. Before base camp we descend little bit to huge flat grassy ground and walk about 15-20 minutes further to better place. This place is bottom (base) of Bankatia and Laspa Dhura. The shape of Bankatia is same like "Axe". So, in local language it called Bankatia.
From base camp we have very nice views of Bankatia, Laspa Dhura (5913m) and some other small peaks. This is very wide open place and we will be just in front of these mountains.
After enjoying with views we come back down to the camp for hot lunch. In the afternoon we relax in camp.
Day 15: Trek to Bugdiar (13.45 km / 5 - 6 hr)
From Laspa camp, we steeply descend down to the main path (Retrace), there is also a straight way and join with main path near river. After then we follow the same way to Bugdiar.
Day 16: Trek to Lilam (15 km / 6 -7 hrs)
From Bugdiar to last part of Babal Dhar, we follow the same way. After that we can use middle path but in many places it is very difficult and slippery because of small rocks. It comes through very steep slope. It is not good for tourists. So, it is better to use higher same route. It doesn't make big different.
Day 17: Trek to Chilam Dhar (4.5 km / 2 hrs), drive to Munsiyari (40-50 min)
From Lilam to Chilam Dhar it is very easy walk (Retrace). From here we use local Jeep to drive Munsiyari. We can get Jeeps easily or can call from Munsiyari. We can reach in Munsiyari for lunch. In the afternoon we visit around local market of Munsiyari and can enjoy with Panchchuli views. Panchchuli is just in the front.
Day 18: Drive to Kausani (6-7 hrs)
From Munsiyari, it is another beautiful scenic drive to Kausani. We have wonderful views during our drive and pass many interesting villages. Kausani is beautiful place, situated on top of the hill, separated from the towering mountains of the Nanda Devi range by low. The view of the snow covered Trishul and Nanda Devi is so clear that one gets a feeling of the snow being within touching distance. Here are many good standard hotels, Mahatma Gandhi's ashram and small tea garden.
Day 19: Drive to Kathgodam (4 hrs)
We drive to Almora or Rani Khet and then Kathgodam. It is very scenic drive. We catch up afternoon train for Delhi. Arriving in Delhi, we transfer to the hotel.
Day 20: Transfer to Airport
We will transfer you at the airport for your international flight.