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Nanda Devi (7,816 m, 25,643 ft) is the second highest mountain in India and is located in the state of Uttarakhand.
Nanda Devi meaning Bliss-Giving Goddess is a twin peaked massif, forming a 2 km (1.2 mi) long high ridge, oriented east-west. The western summit is higher, and the eastern summit is called Nanda Devi East. The main summit stands guarded by a barrier ring comprising some of the highest mountains in the Indian Himalayas, twelve of which exceed 6,400 m or 21,000 ft in height. The interior of this almost insurmountable ring is known as the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, and is protected as the Nanda Devi National Park. Nanda Devi East lies on the eastern edge of that ring and that\'s where we are going.
Munsyari, Uttarakhand is the starting point for this trek. To get to Munsiyari, take the overnight train or bus to Kathgodham from Delhi (Anand Vihar Bus stand). From Kathgodham you can hire a taxi to do the 300km road trip from Kathgodham to Munsiyari which can be done in a single day.
After travelling more than 600kms from Delhi by bus and a taxi we reach Munsiyari where we start our trek. We are all packed and ready to go. This is the KMVN guest house at Munsiyari where the rooms were great. Take the rooms on the second floor for the best view of the Panch Chuli Range
We need an innerline permit to do this trek. Movement of people in the Nanda Devi region is closely monitored. We wait for the paperwork to get done at the District Tashildars office and the ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police Force), Munsiyari. We are a team of five. Meera and I, Lakshman the guide, Gangaram the cook and Nathuram the horseman. We buy all supplies to last us 9 days at Kathgodham. Not everything is available at Munsiyari. We need the horse to carry some of the heavier stuff.
We drive down to Dumur from Munsiyari which is about 7kms. Here, we get our stuff out of the jeep and load some of the stuff on Kali the horse, a nice strong fellow. The rest, we carry.
After a rather long descent from Dumur to the Gori Ganga River, we head towards Lilam. The path is pretty much cut into the rock. For the next six days we shall be walking up this river into the Milam Valley.
We stop for tea at a village.
A recent landslide on the hill opposite. Landslides are very common here and many paths also disappear. The paths are just piles of rock or cuttings set on the hill face.
After a rather strenuous climb (thanks to a sedentary lifestyle back in Bangalore), we are at Lilam. The guide has arranged for us to stay in a PWD house just behind the ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police Force) checkpost.
Not the best of accommodation, but we didn't want to sleep in a tent out in the cold. Some rather larger than average size jungle spiders with shiny eyes kept us company that night. We didn't bother them and they didn't bother us. There were many of them on the walls.
All packed and ready to leave. Light breakfast of maggie noodles. Nathuram has all the kitchen stuff packed and our duffel
Heading to Bogudiyar 12-15km away.
We climb higher and higher up the Gori Ganga river gorge.
Looking down to the river. The area where the landslide happened is visible on the opposite hill. Far behind just below the cloud is the town of Munsiyari where we walked from the previous day.
A fossil of sorts. The villagers pray to it like a snake shrine, for safe passages. If you look carefully, it looks like three fossilized snakes. Very interesting, as the detail is superb including the snake eye.
We put our cameras into our backpacks as you are sure to get drenched as you walk under this waterfall. There is no other way but under the waterfall and this place is notorious for falling rocks, hence the tin sheets. Meera enjoyed walking under falls so much that she wanted to go again.
Excellent weather for walking all day. These paths are supposedly very treacherous in the rainy season and winter. So villages up the river are cut off during those months.
The Hasling forest. A beautifully tranquil place.
A tea shop on the way, where we stop to eat our packed lunch of parathas.
We meet a shepherd who was carrying this lamb. Supposedly, a few days old.
Dusk at Bogudiyar. Come evening, the clouds fill the valley.
We sleep the night at the ITBP metal tent. 5 star accomodation considering that we are two days walk away from the nearest town that has a motorable road and electricity. It even has a light bulb that glows for two hours every evening. This tent is used by the Border Police, they let us use it as it was not being used that night.
The village of Bogudiyar. Two or three houses and one police check post.
Another shepherd. When you meet a train of goat or sheep, the rule is that you give them way. Should any goat or sheep get scared, it would jump off the cliff and many others would follow it.
Another shepherd who was happy to pose for a photograph. He carried a very tiny lamb which was too weak to walk in his backpack.
The cliff wall of Nahar Devi. A lovely place. Camp here if you can.
The shrine of Nahar Devi
Heading towards Mapang. The path climbs very high at Mapang. We struggled to cross Mapang.
The Milam valley comes into view.
An Indian Air Force Helicopter patrols the sky
The other side of Mapang. Fantastic views and breezy valleys guaranteed from here. We are entering the Laspa region
Laspa Tea shop
Up ahead behind the hill on the right is Rilkot
The stream from Laspa Glacier
The beautiful mountains of Laspa glacier. Trek up this region to get to Laspa Glacier
The man made structure on the hill at the far end where the river disappears is Rilkot
Lakshman chats up with a villager
The ITBP tents at Rilkot. The one on the left leaks a whole lot less than the one on the right.