Nanda Devi Sanctuary Trek


Duration: 10 Days

Altitude: 4250 m/1ft

Grade: Moderate to Challenging

Season: Mid April � October

Nanda Devi National Park is spread over an area of 630 sq. kms., just next to the Nanda Devi Peak (which is the second highest mountain in India -7817 mts.), is the Nanda Devi sanctuary. It was established in 1980. The first men on record to have reached this Sanctuary, while yet in its pristine form, were the the British Mountaineers Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman. The area had largely remained undisturbed till then, except for Tilman’s successful attempt on Nanda Devi… The Rishi Ganga River forces its way through two gorges. The first one, near Lata village, cuts off any possibility of an easy approach, and therefore a route over two intervening ridges -the Dharanshi and Malathuni � was explored. Shipton and Tilman called this the Curtain Ridge. Near the second gorge of the Rishi Ganga a route was explored over precarious, rocky terrain. The approach to the inner sanctuary will always be difficult. The route is: Lata, Lata Kharak, across Dharanshi Pass (4267m/14000ft) to Dharanshi Alp, across Malathuni Pass (4270m/14010ft) to Dibrugheta Alp, along the river to Deodi, Ramni at the foot of the gorge, Bhujgara half way through the gorge and Patalkhan across the main difficulties of the gorge. ‘The Slabs’ are the first of the challenges, where downward-sloping rocky slabs make for a precarious crossing. A narrow staircase of stones ahead cuts across a huge wall. Just one slip and you would plummet thousands of feet down the gorge, aptly called the vaikunth seedi (the ‘staircase to heaven’) by locals. If you climb up this, you will reach the heaven of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, whereas if you fall, you might reach heaven anyway. Patalkhan is the first halt in the sanctuary. From Patalkhan, the route crosses the Rishi Ganga to enter the north side of the sanctuary.