The Garhwal-Kumaon region is a repository of awe-inspiring legends of gods and goddesses in the Hindu pantheon merged with the state’s magnificent landscape. The Nanda Devi Mountain, deified in all glory is the goddess presiding over the region Chamoli, Pithoragarh, and Bageshri districts of Uttarakhand. The Nanda Devi massif is considered the highest mountain in India, as Kanchenjunga which is higher is on the Indo-Nepal border. After the Nanda Devi inner sanctuary region is closed for visitation, the closest trekkers can get to get an up-close gorgeous view of the mountain goddess in through the Nanda Devi Base Camp trek. However, this advance base camp trek is not for the uninitiated as a lot of technical climbing and use of tools are involved. The expedition begins from Munsiyari, located at 7513 ft; the trek kicks off from Dhapa, located 10 km ahead of Munsiyari. Trekkers are needed to submit their ids at ITBP office prior to the expedition and get a permit to trek in the inner line area of the sanctuary. The geographical purview on this trek covers the deep and cavernous Rishi Ganga river gorge, and later the Ramganga and Saryu valleys. The Panchachuli peaks have a glorious, noteworthy presence throughout this trek that photography enthusiasts would be remiss not to capture!
Considered a 10-13 days trek starting and coming back to Munsiyari, depending on the necessities of acclimatization, Nanda Devi Base Camp is an expedition as challenging as it gets. The itinerary takes a descent towards Gori Ganga River to Lilam village and continues along the river gorge on a trail of bamboo thickets and conifers up to the Bugdyar campsite. From Bugdiyar, the expedition takes a turn for some bone grinding challenge. Several steep overhang ascents, switchbacks, and precarious ridge walk later we reach Ghangar at 3300 m. From here, the eastern side of Nanda Devi comes into sight. Look around also to spot a lesser-known but enchanting Himalayan peak from here-- the Burpu peak. Beautiful Johari villages fall along the path. In the coming days, trekkers acclimatize in the rhododendron and birch surrounded Pachhu Valley and reaches the Pachhu glacier, and later the foot of Nanda Devi East. Photography enthusiasts can put their devices to good use, capturing the mountain deity sisters as the legends have-- the Nanda and Sunanda peaks. If you want to make yourself eligible for this moderate plus trek, work on your endurance and basic fitness, in addition to gathering experience on trek beyond 3700 m.
The journey begins from Munsiyari at an altitude of 7513 ft and takes a hike up to 12795 ft upon reaching the Nanda Devi Base Camp.
To avoid nature borne hazard, treks to Nanda Devi must be attempted in the summer months from May to June, or post-monsoon from September to October. An expedition during the rainy season or high winter is ill-advised.
By Air: Pantnagar, located 250 km away from Munsiyari is the closest airport for accessing this trek. You can find local cabs to reach Munsiyari from here.
By Rail: The nearest railhead to Munsiyari is Kathgodam, at a distance of 275 km and Tanakpur 289 km away. Cabs and buses are available from both railheads for reaching Munsiyari.
By Road: Munsiyari is well-connected by interstate buses with towns and cities like Anand Vihar (Delhi), and Almora, Haldwani, and Champawat (Uttarakhand).
Are There Any Shops Available On the Nanda Devi Trek?
Shops are sparse on this trek route, though you can find food supplies etc on the Johari villages on this itinerary.
Is There Any Possibility Of Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness remains a great possibility. Follow medical guidance in taking a precautionary dosage of Diamox, known by the generic name Acetazolamide, sufficient hydration, rest, and proper acclimatization.
Nanda Devi Base Camp route is devoid of the commercial tourism traffic. The permit for the expedition is not given to a lot of groups at a time. It is not a busy route.