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Nanda Devi Sanctuary trek

 Introduction :

The Nanda Devi Sanctuary is a cup-shaped sea of snow, gravel and rocks surrounded by almost seventy, white ethereal named and un-named peaks piercing into the deep blue sky.  It has a perimeter of nearly 120 km with an area of 640 sq. km and represents a natural fortress with steep walled peaks on the periphery.

Some of the most outstanding peaks of the Central Himalayas are clustered between the glaciers of Gangotri and Milam, a vast glacial land , called the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.  The most popular peak in the sanctuary is Nanda Devi, and with its top shaped like a camel’s hump, it has attracted mountaineers from all over the world.

The Sanctuary is dotted with meadows and waterfalls, and is the base and starting point for mountaineering expeditions to Nanda Devi and many more peaks and a journey’s end for trekkers.

About Nanda Devi trek
Location : District – Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India

Days: 4 

Grade: Moderate

Itinerary :

1st day : Rishikesh to Joshimath ( 250 km road)

2nd day : Joshimath – Lata – Jhandidhar ( 15 km road, 11 km trek)

3rd day : Jhandidhar – Suraithota – Joshimath ( 12 km road, 25 km road)

4th day : Joshimath to Rishikesh

Trek route

The seven day trek from Lata to Tilchaunni, the sanctuary heart,  is at times difficult and tedious.  If you become exhausted, sit down and contemplate the  beauty of the surroundings – this is a tonic for  frayed nerves to take you further on.

The village of Lata, 15 km by motor from Joshimath, nestles amidst terraced fields and it is from here that the trek starts.  From Lata, it is a tiring, all uphill trek of almost 8 kms to Lata Kharak, but one is well-rewarded with the glorious views of the snowy peaks of Ronti, Nanda Ghunti and Bethartoli across the Rishi Ganga.  Lata Kharak is a  broad open grassy ridge covered with flowers in the summer time.  It is always windy and cold.  From here, a fine view of the northern face of Bethartoli Himal and the Trisul Massif extending to the south can be seen.  To Dharansi it is a long uphill trek across the DharansiPass (4253 mtr).  When approaching the Pass, one gets the first glimpse of Drongari (7068 mtr) and immediately after crossing it, Nanda Devi (7818 mtr) can be seen.  From Dharansi, the path trails its way across the MalathuniPass (4238 mtr) where the western face of Hanuman (6076 mtr) can be viewed, and then descends almost 750 mtr through grass and snow slopes, dense forests to a mountain stream.  After crossing this stretch, one finally arrives in the hospitable meadows of Dibrugheta, where a camp can be made amongst the forests near the river.  In summer, Dibrugheta is covered with fritillaries, anemones, potentillas and other wild species.  Trekking on to Deodi, the track rises steeply at first, then it is one long traverse across several mountain ridges before one crosses a bridge over the Rishi Ganga and arrives in Deodi.  From Deodi it is an 8 km trek through junipers and rhododendron forests to Ramani.  As one treks toward Tilchaunni, Nanda Devi looks coming ever closer.

Place Altitude (m) Distance (km)
Joshimath 1890
Lata 2317 15 motorable
lata Kharak 3689 8 trek
Dharansi 4152 10 trek
Dibrugheta 3500 4 trek
Deodi 3354 9 trek
Ramani 3520 8 trek
Bhuj Gara 4050 6 trek
Tilchaunni 4200 8 trek
Entry regulations

What used to be a trekkers and mountaineers paradise only a few decades back is now a restricted area. The Nanda Devi National Park is a part of Biosphere Reserve and the entry restrictions are for ecological reasons. It has been considered necessary to restrict the entry of visitors into the park to ensure conservation of forests and wild life. But with tourists nowhere in sight , it tends to become a safe heaven for poachers and herbs smugglers, which the department must be aware of. A more practical way to achieve the desired results would have been to allow a regulated flow of tourists to the sanctury under strict supervision to keep the poachers away.

Entry rules for the National park keep changing  and for the present  trekkers in groups of 5 only  are permitted to go upto Dibrugheta. But this is not enough to see and understand the grandeur of the surrounding nature.

The feel of Nanda devi sanctuary can also be had without going to Dibrugheta and restricting the trek to the familiar periphery of the sanctuary. The various peaks of the sanctuary can be viewed  from following view points of the periphery.


Periphery route
Lata 2317
lata Kharak 3689 8 km
Jhandidhar 3695 3 km
Hitoli 3580 4 km
Tolma 2161 5 km
Suraithota 1990 3 km       
 Both Lata and Suraithota are motor heads, therefore this circuit can be done in either direction. In both cases guides and porters will be necessary.


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