Defining the interpretive trek
A nature trail designed with interpretation tools is not a passive ‘Terra Firma’, it is designed to actively engage you by opening windows to look through and explore the various dimensions of the place. It is different from the common trekking options wherein the visitor misses the holistic experience of a destination. As an essential component of responsible tourism, ‘Nature Interpretation’ is an emerging academic discipline with few universities now offering courses in Nature Interpretation.
Interpretation Centres, signage, booklets/brochures detailing the natural and oral history, customs and traditions, travelogues, story tellers and nature guides are some of the tools to amplify the interpretive characteristics of a destination.
Interpretation of Nanda Devi
The Nanda Devi Interpretive Trek narrates the story of Nanda Devi region. The narration is multi layered and keeps visitors engaged as they hike along the trail. Every landmark along the trek has its own story sometimes embedded in the folklore, culture and customs of the native communities. The narrative also includes the unique transhumant lifestyle and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of the native Bhotiya community. The stories from the era of mountaineering expeditions, about the local hero’s and their daring acts, the travelogues and books and other relevant literature is available at the Interpretation Center at the base camp Devangan Lodge. As an attempt to redefine adventure tourism, the interpretive trek is designed to immerse in the holistic experience that Nanda Devi offers as a tourism destination.
Nanda Devi Trek Details
Following the footsteps of Shipton and Tilman, the trek takes you to the boundaries of the core zone of Nanda Devi National Park, a World Heritage Site for natural diversity. You will be camping at Clifftop campsite of Kanook and at Lata Kharak below the tree line. The trek also provides the opportunity to visit Saini Kharak, at the top of the riverine Rishi gorge which is considered to be amongst the most difficult canyons in the world to negotiate. However you won't be doing any climbing but will approach from the much gentler Lata-Kharak side. On Day four you will gain the highest trek elevation of 4180 m at Jhindidhar. From Jhindidhar you will slowly negotiate the rocky patch till Himtoli and continue your downhill descent till the village of Tolma where you will staying under home stay arrangement.
Nanda Devi: Geography and History of Exploration
The Nanda Devi basin was declared a game sanctuary in 1939 on the recommendations of the British- American Expedition of 1936, the first to reach the summit of Nanda Devi (7816 meters). The core zone of Nanda Devi National Park is 625 square kilometres, out of which only 25 square kilometres is grassland and 65 square kilometres is forested, the remaining area is rocky or snow covered. The inner area of the sanctuary is bowl shaped studded with some of the highest mountains in the Indian Himalayas, 12 of which are over 21000 ft. The drainage from the sanctuary is through the Rishi Ganga which flows 3 km downstream from Lata and joins the Dhouli Ganga near the village of Raini. The villages of Lata and Raini were in the forefront of the Chipko Movement. The Nanda Devi is the patron goddess of Garhwal and Kumaon region.
The 62,460 ha core zone of the Nanda Devi National Park is surrounded by a 514,857 ha buffer zone of bio sphere. The almost vertical terrain of the core zone areas holds significant populations of flora (300 plus species) and fauna including a number of threatened species notably Snow leopard, Himalayan Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Thar and 114 documented avian species.
The first recorded attempt to explore the Nanda Devi basin was in June 1883 by William W. Graham, who could proceed only up to Rishi Ganga. Another notable attempt by T. G. Longstaff met with the similar fate, all he could manage in 1905 was a view of the inner sanctuary from what’s now called as the Longstaff col. His second attempt led to the first summit of Trishul in 1907 but Nanda Devi still remained out of reach. Incidentally it was Dr. Longstaff who discovered the Siachen Glacier during the 1930s. During the same period, the civil servant turned mountaineer Hugh Ruttledge made three unsuccessful attempts to enter the basin of Nanda Devi sanctuary. In a letter to ‘The Times”, he wrote that 'Nanda Devi imposes on her votaries an admission test as yet beyond their skill and endurance', adding that gaining the Nanda Devi Sanctuary alone was more difficult than reaching the North Pole.
Finally in 1934, Shipton and Tillman, assisted by three Sherpas Ang Tharkay, Pasang and Kusang, managed to find a route through the alpine meadows of Lata and Tolma villages. This was followed by the first summit of Nanda Devi in 1936 by Tillman and Noel Odell under the British-American expedition traversing through the south east ridge. Odell, a Geologist by profession carried drilling equipment with the expedition gear for mineral prospecting in the Nanda Devi basin; however it was never used due to the hectic schedule of the expedition.
Eric Shipton also made another visit to the sanctuary during the same year, accompanied by Tenzing Norgey, but his mission was to map the sanctuary. Nanda Devi remained one of the most popular mountaineering destinations in the world till it’s notification as a National Park in the year 1982. A comprehensive documentation of the mountaineering is showcased at the Interpretation Center in Latavillage, including the story of Nanda Devi Unsoeld, who died during the Tragic Expedition of Nanda Devi in 1976.
Nanda Devi: A pilgrimage to Nature, Culture and Faith
The formally documented literature on Nanda Devi is over a century old. However, the story of Nanda Devi goes back to ancient times. The story of Nanda Devi is interwoven with the story of ingenious Bhotiya community, who adapted to the trans Himalayan terrain, developed a unique transhumant lifestyle and traded with the Tibetan communities across the high Himalayan passes. Since time immemorial Nanda Devi has remained their Patron Goddess and a family member too. Nanda Devi governs the lifecycle of the Bhotiya community and her influence not only reflects in the traditional customs and rituals but also in the management of natural resources of her region. As a repository of traditional knowledge and cultural heritage, the vertical landscape of Nanda Devi offers an all immersive experience to the initiated ones.
What's Unique about this trek
The native community is hosting this trek, a first experiment of its kind in the Himalayas. An inaugural trek for women was offered in 2006, but this offer is a commercial one. It has taken us almost 18 years to convince ourselves to present our land to visitors through our native eyes and perspectives. Please visit our campaign website www.mountainshepherds.com to know more about our journey.
Packaged by the tourism industry and more specifically by online aggregators, trekking is becoming more and more about milestones and exotic destinations. Your interaction with native communities is usually limited to clicking selfies with herds of sheep grazing in Himalayan meadows, of a shepherd with his dog, or of women carrying loads of fodder or toiling in the fields. What if the same people who live in these areas and are usually not in the periphery of your attention, invite you to trek in their own land?
We are in the process of developing an Interpretation Center on the Bio Cultural Diversity of our area at our Base Camp Devangan Lodge in Lata Village. Efforts are on to showcase our culture, crop diversity, vintage implements, handicrafts, history of mountaineering and the biodiversity profile of the Nanda Devi National Park.
We are also training youth from Lata and nearby villages in birding and taxonomy to make your trek more immersive.
Itinerary in Detail
Day 1: . Early pickup from Haridwar and drive to Lata ( 8-10 hours ). Arrival at our base camp Devangan Lodge in Lata. Introduction and equipment distribution. Shared accommodation in bunk beds. This will be your last chance to have a bath before your trek, you can ask for warm water!
Day 2: Early rising call with tea. Spend time at the Interpretation Center and Museum. Post breakfast hike 1.5 km to the summer Lata Village. If interested you can visit the 12th century temple of Nanda Devi. There will be an opportunity to interact with the villagers.
After tea and snacks at a village home, you will continue your trek to Kanook (9730 ft). You stop midway to finish your packed lunch and refill your water bottles at Bhelta before attempting the final steep climb to Kanook. The campsite is on a clifftop and offers majestic views of the Dhouli Ganga valley and Kauri Pass section in the west. At Kanook you will be camping in tents, 3 persons in each. Camp toilets will be set up.
Day 3: Today you will start your vertical climb towards Lata Kharak. The guide will brief you about the trek and lead with a frustratingly slow pace. The objective is to keep the heart beat close to normal to insure calmness of the mind. Walking slowly you also consume less water and won’t feel exhausted. With each vertical step you will gain height and the slow pace will give youthe opportunity to learn more about the trees and birds you encounter with the help of the info booklet provided to you.
You should reach Lata Kharak (12300 ft) in 4-5 hours. Hot lunch will be served at the Lata Kharak Forest Hut. After an hour of rest you will get ready for the hike to SainiKharak. No need to carry your rucksack as you will be returning back to stay overnight at Lata Kharak. You just carry your water bottles, camera, jacket and torch in your knapsack and head towards SainiKharak (12700 ft). You have to negotiate a rocky portion to reach the small grassy patch in the middle of SainiKharak. If the weather Gods are happy you will get a closer view of the inner sanctuary of Nanda Devi with Bhitartoli, Hanuman, Nanda Khat, Nanda Ghunghti, Devangan andTrishul in close proximity. You return back to Lata Kharak where you will be sharing rooms in the Forest Hut.
Day 4: Early rising to catch the breath taking morning views. After breakfast you hike towards Jhindidhar (13400 ft). From Jhindi the route goes further up to Bakfiyana Pass and further to Satkula heading towards Dharansi and the base camp of Nanda Devi. It takes a minimum of 9 days to reach the base of Nanda Devi if one is allowed to enter the sanctuary. From Jhindidhar you get a mesmerising view of Dronagiri Peak. Dronagiri is part of the Ramayana mythology. As per folklore, Hanuman took a portion of the peak as he failed to identify the Sanjivanibooti he was looking for on it. More on this during your visit! The trail traversing down goes to the beautiful village of Tolma. After reaching the highest trek elevation point you will start your downhill trek towards Tolma (8200 ft). Long day ahh!
Mountaineering data shows that most accidents occur during descent. Twisted ankles in this case, so be careful. From Jhindidhar it’s a long downhill walk to Tolma. Shortly after crossing Himtoli you will re-enter the forest. You will be staying at different homes as decided by the village representatives. The food however will be centralized. From Tolma you will get the best sunset view on Dronagiri peak.
Day 5. Before breakfast there is an opportunity to explore around Tolma and experience the magical sunrise on Dronagiri. Post breakfast is the time to say goodbye to the mighty Himalayas, its people and villages. Gently you start on your last stretch of 3 Km trek towards the Suraithota road head. From there you will be ferried back to Devangan Lodge.
You deserve a bath after 3 days and we will insure you get hot water as you arrive at the base camp! If you need to wash your cloths, you can use our laundry. Before dinner there is an opportunity to buy handicrafts (rugs ) and spices from our store. The rugs available for sale are hand woven by the women from Lata and nearby villages. The spices and herbs are also home grown.
Day 6: After loading your baggage in the vehicles we will bid you farewell with folded hands. We never leave home for a journey without a heavy breakfast and will definitely insure that you are properly fed before starting your return journey! There are multiple options from Haridwar to reach Delhi and Lucknow.
Destination: Lata Kharak-Saini Kharak-Jhindidhar-Tolma
Duration: 6 days (from Haridwar)
Trek Strength: Low Volume (minimum10/max 15 pax)
Inclusion: All services including stay, food, forest entry permits and camping charges after arrival on day 1 at Lata village till departure on day 6.
Exclusion: Transport pickup charges between Haridwar and Lata village. Baggage transfer charges if one desires to offload his rucksack during the trek.
per person for Indian Nationals.
per person for Foreign Nationals (due to difference in official permit and camping charges).
Click on the batch to Register.
Nanda Devi Trek 29 Apr to 04 May ’19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 30 Apr to 05 May ’19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 01 May to 06 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 02 May to 07 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 03 May to 08 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 04 May to 09 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 05 May to 10 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 06 May to 11 May ’19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 07 May to 12 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 08 May to 13 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 09 May to 14 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 10 May to 15 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 11 May to 16 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 12 May to 17 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 13May to 18 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 14 May to 19 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 15 May to 20 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 16 May to 21 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda DeviTrek 17 May to 22 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 18 May to 23 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 19 May to 24 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 20 May to 25 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 21 May to 26 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 22 May to 27 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 23 May to 28 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 24 May to 29 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 25 May to 30 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 26 May to 31 May’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 27 May to 1 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 28 May to 2 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 29 May to 3 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 30 May to 4 June’19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 31 May to 5 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 01 June to 06 June’19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 02 June to 7 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 03 June to 8 June’19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 04 June to 9 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 05 June to 10 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 6 June to 11 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 7 June to 12 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 8 June to 13 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 9 June to 14 June’ 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 10 June to 15 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 11 June to 16 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 12 June to 17 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 13 June to 18 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 14 June to 19 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 15 June to 20 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 16 June to 21 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Nanda Devi Trek 17 June to 22 June 19₹8,800.00 Register
Procedure for Booking
STEP 1: Please download the Indemnity Form and Registration Form. Read carefully before proceeding to book your seat. Please note that you have to submit hard copy of the forms at the time of reporting for the trek at Lata.
STEP 2: Choose your dates and proceed to finish the online payment formalities.
NOTE: Please note the maximum group strength is 15/day and minimum group strength to run the trek is 10 pax/day. In case of below 10 booking for a particular date, the participants will be informed a week before with options to either reclaim the booking amount or choose from other available dates.
For any queries you can contact us.
DAY 1 Pickup from Haridwar and drive to Lata. Trek briefing and equipment distribution. Overnight at Devangan lodge in Lata.
DAY 2 Trek 1.5km to summer Lata village. Village visit and interaction with villagers. Post village visit, trek 3km to Kanook campsite. Overnight in tents.
DAY 3 Trek 4km to Lata Kharak. Post lunch hike to Saini Kharak. Overnight at Forest hut at Lata Kharak.
DAY 4 Post breakfast trek to village Tolma via Jhindi Dhar, Himtoli. Homestay at Tolma village.
DAY 5 Post breakfast trek 3kms to Suraithota roadhead and drive to Devangan lodge.
DAY 6 Post breakfast return drive to Haridwar.
Food: During trek days only vegetarian food with eggs will be served. While at base camp (day 1 &4) both vegetarian and non vegetarian food will be served. Our meal plan is similar to that of Nehru Institute of Mountaineering with six servings a day. This includes morning tea, breakfast, forenoon fruit juice/snacks, hot lunch/pack lunch, afternoon tea with snacks and dinner. A small emergency ration is also issued to the participants at the onset of trek.
Environmental Ethics: While organizing treks our emphasis primarily remains in minimizing the generation of trash during trekking by repackaging the goods in reusable containers. Whatever trash generated in the forms of empty food cans etc is brought back for segregation at our base Devangan lodge. We prefer to properly document our trash management process. You are welcome to visit our Trash Management Log page on facebook to check the evidence.
Baggage transfer: Limited baggage transfer facility can be arranged with prior intimation. The trek is porter supported and it will cost Rs. 1000/day for hiring the services of a single porter including his wage and food. A porter will carry only 20 kg of weight. The cost can be shared with other members desiring to offload their rucksack. However you will be still carrying your water bottle, woollens, and other essential items your might require during the trek.
Cloakroom facility: Available at the NDI Basecamp, Devangan Lodge, Village Lata.
Dietary restrictions: Please inform us in advance in case you are allergic to any specific food/ingredients. We hope you understand the difference between allergy and aversion to some food.
Access and transport logistics: NDI base camp at Lata village is located 25 km upstream from Joshimath (NH 58) on Niti –Malari road. Shared Sumo taxi and buses are available from Haridwar till Joshimath. From Joshimath our representatives will assist you in getting transport till Lata. We are also arranging Pick up services from Haridwar. The 9 seater shared Sumo taxi will leave early from Haridwar and cost Rs. 7000 one way till Lata. It can accommodate 5-6 persons comfortably. You can split the cost with other trekkers joining on the same dates.
First aid and emergency: First aid facilities at all three locations and a backup vehicle at the base camp will be available for evacuation. Arrangements for emergency evacuation from higher camps will be promptly arranged. Please read carefully the T&C.
Cancellation: Full refund for cancellation before 30 days from the commencement of the trek with 5% deduction for payment gateway and related charges. Before 20 days 50% of the amount paid will be reimbursed. Before 10 days 25 % refund. Change in trek dates or participation in other NDI programs will be entertained only once. No show/no refund. Program will be cancelled one week before the date of commencement if the minimum group strength of 10 pax is not achieved. Under such circumstances you have choice to switch to another date or reclaim your amount.