After two years of postponement the eagerly awaited Nanda Devi Rajjat Yatra will finally take place from 18th August to 6th September this year. The Nanda Raj Jat takes place once every twelve years – the journey starts from Nauti village (Karnaprayag district of Uttarakhand state in India) accompanying a mythical four-horned sheep and Doli and all sorts of gifts for Nanda Devi, who is treated as a daughter revisiting her mother. Last Yatra happened in 2000. Hence it was originally scheduled in 2012 but was postponed due to Malmaas (one inauspicious month) in that year. Hence rescheduled to happen in 2013, again last year it was postponed due to natural catastrophe (flash floods) in Kedarnath area, which created widespread destruction and huge loss of life and property across Himalayan region. Now, if everything goes as per plan, then Yatra will bring cheers to the many.
Nanda devi – the daughter of Kings of mountains, and the consort of Lord Shiva – is the supreme spiritual goddess of the locals of Garhwal and Kumaon region. She visits her maternal dwelling in these Himalayan heights in the Bhadrapad (months of August – September) – and this festive break is celebrated by the natives. The 280 kilometres and 19 days trek starts from Nauti Village and reaches Homkund via the amazingly picturesque Bedini Bugyal, Roopkund (4501 m) and the very difficult Jyura Gali pass (4620 m), on Nandashtmi. The trek passes through some of the most beautiful and some very tricky landscapes in the area. It is said that four-horned ram is born once every twelve years, and this very ram leads the procession. People do not go beyond Homkund, from where the ram takes the gifts and disappears in the glaciers. Once the ram is released, no one looks in its direction and the procession immediately heads back home.
One can attend the ceremony at Nauti village and then proceed to other places of interest before joining the procession again via Wan. It is at Wan that some 300 idols and decorated chhantolis (umbrellas) are assembled and the journey continuous all the way to Homkund.
Besides, Nanda Devi (7816 mts) is also the second heighest peak in India, located in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. The route of Yatra passes through beautiful and mysterious lakes of Roopkund & Homkund and slopes of Bedini Bugyal. Besides Yatra, this route is also considered to a trekker’s paradise for its mesmerizing natural beauty, but it is also tough and challenging. Trekkers around the world dream of going to this area. The Nanda Raj Jat passes through places, that don’t find mention in most tourist maps and well-hidden inlands. This religious trek is meant strictly for the die-hard trekkers. Simultaneously this trek presents one the prospect of exploring a real Uttarakhand – its culture, traditions, people and authentic cuisine.
Valley of Flowers National Park — a World Heritage site — will remain closed this year even as the yatra to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and Hemkund Saheb has been resumed.
The national park opened on June 1 this year and closed on June 16 after incessant rains triggered landslips and destroyed a bridge near the national park. The bridge — across the Pushpawati river — connected the Valley of Flowers and Ghangaria.
The three-kilometre stretch between the bridge and the national park was also destroyed after heavy rainfall triggered landslips in the area.
Sarvesh Kumar Dube, Sub Divisional Officer, Nanda Devi National Park, Joshimath, said, “Had everything been fine, the national park would have remained open till October end.”
“The Public Works Department (PWD) has constructed a temporary bridge over the Pushpawati river so that material and people can cross over to clear up the 3 km stretch to the Valley of Flowers. However, the bridge is not safe for a multitude of people to cross over it,” he added.
This year, only 487 tourists could visit the national park against around 7,000 that were expected to visit the place like the previous year. Valley of Flowers — in Chamoli district — is at an altitude of around 11,500 feet above sea level. It encompasses more than 600 floral species and is a habitat of endangered species including the Himalayan musk deer, the Asiatic black bear, and the snow leopard.
Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in Himalayan India, Hemkund Sahib gurudwara is among those rare places which provide an excellent mix of adventure and pilgrimage. Hemkund Sahib (also spelled Hemkunt) is a Sikh place of worship Gurudwara, known as Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji, devoted to Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666–1708), the tenth Sikh Guru, which finds mention in Dasam Granth, a piece of work believed to be narrated by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It is situated at one end of a glacial lake surrounded by seven mountain peaks and each peak adorned by a Nishan Sahib on its cliff, it is located in the Himalayas at an elevation of 4632 meters (15,200 ft).
Just like Valley of flowers (read: http://vagabondimages.in/2013/09/11/valley-of-flowers/) approach to Hemkund is also via Joshimath, Govindghat and Ghangaria. From Ghangaria it is a 1,100-metre (3,600 ft)climb on a 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) of stone paved path leads Hemkund. Overnight stay is not allowed at Hemkund Sahib and so it is necessary to leave by 2 pm to make it back to Ghangaria by nightfall. There are gurudwaras for pilgrims and tourists at Govindghat (at confluence of Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga rivers) and another one at Ghangaria (at confluence of Laxman Ganga and Pushpawati rivers). Laxman Ganga originates from Hemkund, where is a Laxman temple, just behind the Gurudwara.
Although Hemkund has many mytholgical references, but the Gurudwara here was constructed in 1960s by some Indian armymen. Area around Hemkund lake is also known for some very rare flora including Brahma Kamal, which is state flower of Uttarakhand.
Beauty of the surroundings is simply mesmerizing
Guruwara is located at the starting edge of the lake
This Gurudwara is one of the most revered Sikh sites in the world
Guru Granth Sahib inside the Hemkund gurudwara
This is one of the few Himalayan lakes at such a high altitude
Hemkund lake is surrounded by seven hills which provide regular flow of water to the lake
Lokpal Laxman temple is located just behind the gurudwara
Brahma Kamal, the much revered flower of the Himalayas
The Brahma Kamal is an excellent example of plant life at the upper limit of high mountains (3,000-4,600 m). The thick curved root of the plant is applied to bruises and cuts, as part of local medicine. Brahma Kamal is the state flower of Uttarakhand.
The flowers bloom at the height of the monsoons and abundant in high-altitude places like The Valley of Flowers and Hemkund region. The bract-cover provides the warm space needed to bloom in the cold mountains
Whole valley is covered with some very rare herbs and shrubs
एशिया की सबसे लंबी पैदल राजजात यात्रा को आखिरकार रद्द ही कर दिया गया। दैवीय आपदा के बाद उपजे हालात को देखते हुए 29 अगस्त से शुरू होने वाली राजजात यात्रा अंततः स्थगित कर दी गई। कुछ ही दिनों के अंतराल में राजजात यात्रा का नया कार्यक्रम घोषित कर दिया जाएगा। फिलहाल यह तय किया गया है कि 26 अगस्त को उन सभी स्थानों पर विशेष पूजा की जाएगी, जहां से राजजात में छंतोलियां यानि देवी के छत्र शामिल होने के लिए आते हैं। उत्तराखंड में आई विनाशकारी प्राकृतिक आपदा, सरकार के अनुरोध और अपने परंपरागत अधिकारों व उत्तरदायित्वों का प्रयोग करते हुए नंदा देवी राजजात समिति ने यात्रा स्थगित की है।
12 साल में एक बार होने वाली राजजात यात्रा 2013 इसी महीने की 29 तारीख को चमोली जिले के नौटी गांव से शुरू होनी थी, लेकिन आपदा के कारण यात्रा मार्ग बर्बाद होने तथा अन्य समस्याओं की वजह से यात्रा को लेकर संशय बना हुआ था। हालांकि, शुरुआत में आयोजन समिति के ज्यादातर पदाधिकारी यात्रा शुरू करने के पक्ष में दिखे, लेकिन आपदा का वास्ता देकर राज्य सरकार के यात्रा को स्थगित रखने के सुझाव पर आयोजन समितियों ने पदाधिकारियों से इस पर फिर से रायशुमारी कराई। इसमें अधिसंख्य लोगों ने यात्रा स्थगित करने पर हामी भरी। नंदा देवी राजजात यात्रा 17,500 फुट की ऊंचाई पर संपन्न होती है। यह दुनिया की सबसे अधिक ऊंचाई पर आयोजित होने वाली पैदल यात्रा है। 280 किलोमीटर लंबी इस यात्रा में देश के ही नहीं, बल्कि विदेशों से भी श्रद्धालु शामिल होते हैं। ये यात्रा प्रत्येक 12 वर्ष में आयोजित होती है। पिछली यात्रा वर्ष 2000 में हुई थी। कायदे से इसे पिछले साल ही होना था लेकिन ज्योतिषीय कारणों से इसे टालकर इस साल के लिए तय किया गया था। लेकिन 16 जून को आई विनाशकारी बारिश ने इस साल भी इस पर ग्रहण डाल दिया।