“Among mountains, I am the Himalayas” And the Himalayas have always been the abode of the Gods
A Simple explanation for this would be that for centuries this mighty corner of the Himalayas remained inaccessible to man and so
become Devabhoomi for him. The concept becomes clearer when one notes that the “Char Dhams” i.e. the main holy shrines of Gangotri,
Yamunotri , kedarnath ,Badrinath and Hemkund Saheb are all 10,000 feet above sea level.
The higher the holier can be one interpretation and it is not surprising that the Pandavas sought for heaven here. The Uttarakhand
Himalayas is also the place where the great sages contemplated, mediated and wrote. The Vedas and Upanishads tell us fascinating stories
about gods and deamons who dwelt here. This is the real cultural heritage of Hindus.
Ancient literature refers to this region as Badrikashram, Himavat, Tapabhoomi ,Devabhoomi and Kedarkhand. Every cave,rivulet,brook and
valley is associated with the memory of a sage or saint and fascinating legends. Here, where temple pinnacles touch the sky .
The temples in the Uttarakhand Himalays varying in age and time but drawn from the mighty epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana.
The Uttarakhand Himalayas boasts of two international heritage sites namely the Valley of flowers and the Nandadevi Sanctuary .
Come and Explore theAncient Heritage with Sampooranayatra.
Nanda Devi National Park
Total Coverage Area: 630-sq-kms
Established In: 1980
Altitude: Between 2,400mt. and 6,817
The centerpiece of the Garhwal region is undoubtedly the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Until 1934, the gorge of the Rishiganga
river and the immediate area around Nanda Devi peak was one of the least known and most inaccessible parts of the
Himalayan region. In the Sanctuary, the mountains stand in a vast amphitheater, seventy miles in circumference and about
6,000m high. The Nanda Devi Sanctuary is drained in part, by the Alaknanda and Saraswati rivers.
Surveying The Wildlife
The early Indian Surveyors and mountaineers alike were unable to venture into the Inner Sanctuary. It was in 1934 the
Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman eventually managed to find their way to the Sanctuary. This paved the way for the
Anglo-American mountain expedition of 1936 to ultimately climb the peak. When Tilman and Odell reached the top of Nanda
Devi on 29th August, 1936, they had reached the highest point ever climbed by man till then. And this height record
stood till the French stood on top of Annapurna in Nepal in 1950 - the first 8,000m peak to be climbed by man.
Nanda Devi Peak
Even if not counted among the20 most highest peaks in the world, still Nanda Devi at one point in time, enjoyed the
singular status of being the highest mountain in the British empire. At present too this peak is considered to be
the second highest mountain peak in India, standing at a height of 7, 816m.
Inner part of the Sanctuary
The Inner Sanctuary bears similarity to wrongly written alphabet letter E, with the middle strokes made up of the twin
peaks of Nanda Devi - the main and the east peaks. The other formidable peaks, which form on the other strokes of the
letter include Latu Dhura (6,392m), Sakram (6,254m), Bamchu (6,303m), Deo Damla (6,620m), Mangraon (6,569m), Kalanka
(6,864m) and Changabang (6,864m). Towards the south lie peaks like Maiktoli (6,803m), Devtoli (6,788m), Devistan (6,678m),
Panwali Dwar (6,663m) and Nanda Khat (6,611m).
The outer area of the Nanda devi Sanctuary is easier to enter. This is the reason why it has provided rich pasture ground for
shepherds for centuries. Many high Himalayan peaks lie on the outer rim as well including Ronti (6,063m), Nanda Ghunti (6,309m),
Trishul (7,120m), Bethartoli Himal (6,352m), Hanuman (6,075m), Dunagiri (7,066m) and Mrigthuni (6,855m).
Destruction & Preservation Of Nature
The peak of the Nanda devi national park - the goddess herself - presiding over the panorama of fantastic beauty and piece.
When Shipton and Tilman first entered the region, there were herds of Bharal, totally unafraid at the approach of man.
Unfortunately the love of mountain beauty was short-lived. In the year 1974 the park bacame an open ground of the mountaineers.
Forests were hacked to build bridges and provide fodder for the animals. Fragile juniper slopes above the tree line were
deliberately burnt to provide charcoal for the porters accompanying the mountaineering expeditions, whom the foreign
expeditions had neglected to supply with warm clothes.
Ultimately, the Sanctuary was declared a National Park. This disallows anyone to enter it. Only in the last few years,
some scientific expeditions have ventured into the area to analyze the situation and also to organize clean-up operations.
Air : Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 315-kms.
Road : Nearest roadhead is Lata, 30-kms. From Joshimath, which is also connected by bus services. Joshimath is linked by road to
Rishikesh and other centers in the region.
Accommodation & Facilities :
Nearest accommodation is available at Joshimath.
VALLEY OF FLOWERS
"High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal lies an enchanted valley. Here flowerful pastures with clear
running streams are set against silver birches and shining snow peakf. Dew lies thick on the flowers,birds sing in the
surrounding forest and the air is pure and charged with floral smells. Hidden from the probing eyes of
civilisation, this valley had been known to the inhabitants as the Bhyundar Valley, the playground of fairies and
Trespassing their celestial abode was avoided although shepherds did take the liberty to graze their cattle here.
Legends associate this valley with the area from where Hanumanji of Ramayana collected. 'Sanjeevani' herbs to revive
Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama. Hanuman had to visit far-flung areas in his search for the life-saving herbs,
some named after him."
The Valley was introduced to the world as the Valley of Flowers by Frank S, Smith - mountaineer, explorer, botanist
who camped here for several weeks in the monsoon of 1937 and did valuable exploratory work. He authored a book
called "The Valley of Flowers" which unveiled the beauty and floral splendours of the valley and thus
threw open the doors of this verdant jewel to nature-enthusiasts all over the world.
In 1939, Miss Margarate Legge, a botanist deputed by the botanical gardens of Edinburgh arrived at the valley for
further studies. While she was traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and was lost
for ever in the garden of the gods. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial on the spot where
she was buried by the locals.
thoughtful memorial is still there and the lines inscribed on the marble slab read:
"I will lift mine eyes
unto the Hills
from whence cometh my strength"