Nanda Devi on its way to Homkund

Rajjaat Yatra is underway with much enthusiasm

Celebrations at Nauti village
Celebrations at Nauti village

Nanda Devi Rajjaat has completed its first circuit on way to Homkund in Himalayas for its once in 12 years visit.  After starting from Nauti on 18th morning, Yatra reached Ira Badhani in the evening for the first halt. Second day it came back from Ira Badhani to Nauti. Today on the third day of its journey it is coming to Kansuwa again, thus completing a full circle of its initial journey before leaving for tougher part ahead.

Welcome at Kansuwa village
Welcome at Kansuwa village

Kansuwa is the village of descendants of the erstwhile royal family of Garhwal. The tradition of yatra believed to be started by King Shalipal in 7th century is still followed by his representatives in Kansuwa, currently being Dr. Rakesh Kunwar, who also heads the Nanda Devi Rajjaat Yatra organizing committee. Nauti, as the name suggests is the village of Nautial Brahmins. They used to be traditional priests for the royal family. People say that last two Yatras in 1987 and last one in 2000 actually started from Kansuwa. This time though, it started from Nauti. It’s not clear, why so. As we told earlier, the four horned sheep (called ‘Khadu’) and the Nanda Devi’s palanquin were brought from Adi Badri temple to Kansuwa and 16th and then they were ceremonially taken to Nauti on 17th evening. Thus it completes the full circle of visit to all related spots. Ira Badhani is not on the route, but traditionally and mythically Nanda Devi has said to have promised to visit here every time she goes back to her in-laws i.e. Shiva’s abode.

Villagers waiting at Heluri village near Ira Badhnai
Villagers waiting at Heluri village near Ira Badhnai

Well, yatra reaches today to Kansuwa and will move for its onward journey. Tomorrow it will go to Sem from Kansuwa and on the way will pass through Chandpur Garhi which was erstwhile first capital of Garhwal Kings. There traditionally Tehri king himself or any of his representatives will be worshipping the Nanda Devi. The remains of fort can still be seen there. There is also a temple of goddess there. When in 14th century capital was shifted from Chandpur Garhi to Dewalgarh, then the responsibility of worshipping the goddess was assigned to Kunwars of Kansuwa and Nautiyals of Nauti. Hence the tradition continues.

After Sem on day 4, Koti on day 5 and Bhagoti on day 6, Yatra will reach at Kulsari on 7th day, which will be a new moon night. There goddess Kali will be worshipped whole night. From here onwards daily uptil Waan, different goddess palanquins from different parts of the hills will be joining the Rajjaat Yatra.

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