Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India, and the highest located entirely within the country. Nanda Devi rises in Uttarakhand, India, at the height of 25,643 feet. It is the 23rd-highest peak in the world. It was considered the highest mountain in the world before computations in 1808 proved Dhaulagiri to be higher. Nanda Devi is one of the highest peaks in the Indian Himalaya. The mountain has two summits, the main summit at 7816m and Nanda Devi East at 7434m. The mountain itself in surrounded by a number of peaks over 7000 Meters making it an extremely difficult mountain to access. It is a great white double pyramid overlooking the sacred Garhwal region.
Nanda Devi is considered as the deity and is worshiped among the locals of the region. According to the legends, Nanda Devi was the daughter of the local king. A marauding king wants to marry her. When Nanda devi father refused to do so, he declared war against them. Her father was killed and she somehow escaped. She found refuge on the mountain, now named after her. Till then she is protected by the ring of mountains containing 12 peaks. The Nanda Devi East is also referred to as the Sunanda Devi. Sunanda Devi and Nanda Devi have both been mentioned in the holy ancient Hindu scriptures ‘Bhagavata Purana’ and these twin Goddesses are worshiped all over the Kumaon Himalayas as well as throughout the state of Uttarakhand.
Tourist Atraction :
Tourists can make a visit to the Nanda Devi National Park, famous for its rare species of animals. Dominated by the imposing peaks of the Nanda Devi, the national park is famed to be one of the most spectacular wildernesses in the Indian Himalayas. This sanctuary, which covers an area of 630 sq km, is divided into two parts- the outer and the inner walls. The Nanda Devi National Park is home to many wild and endangered animals like the Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, lingus, brown bears among others. This sanctuary is also a home to 312 different variety of floral species. The main vegetation in this region consists of pine, fir, rhododendron, and junipers.
The park has been notified as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper contribute to the rich floral system of the park. Tourists can indulge in nature walk or can for the wildlife safari along with the forest officer. The main attractions of the park include Brown Bear, Bharal, Common Langur, Goral,Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Musk, Indian Leopard, Serow and snow leopard. Apart from this the avifaunas of the park include Grosbeaks, Rose Finches, Ruby Throat, and Warblers.
The Nanda Devi natural park remains open from 1st of May until 31st of October every year.
Every year Nanda Devi mela is held at the Nanda Devi temple in the month of September. On this particular day people of this region pay homage to the Goddess Nanda Devi. This mela was started during the region of Raja Kalyan Chand in the 16th century.
Located in the Rishi Ganga River catchment, Nanda Devi north and Nanda Devi south are the two glaciers, which are approximately 19 km in length. The Nanda Devi glaciers originating from the southern slope of the Nanda Devi peak are the treat to the tourists eye. Several streams originate from these glaciers and forms the river Rishi Ganga.
How to reach :
Nearest Airport is New Delhi. From From New Delhi to Rishikesh Can be reached by both bus and car, From the town of Rishikesh one can take a bus to the small town in the Himalayas known as Joshimath and then take another 25 km bus or car ride to the village of Lata, which is more popularly known as the unofficial base camp for the Nanda Devi mountain climbing trail.
Image copyright by thousandwonders.net, trekearth.com