A virtual tour of Nanda Raj Jat, the pilgrimage in the Himalayas

The 17th of August was not an ordinary day in Uttarakhand because commencement of Nanda Raj Jat created loads of enthusiasm and excitement in Nauti. This otherwise sleepy village, which is not very well connected to the main towns of Uttarakhand, welcomed numerous pilgrims. Everyone walked to Nauti temple in the evening to witness the prayers and reception of the Khadu. Khadu, a rare four-horn ram, leads Nanda Raj Jat

A devotee from Nanda Raj Jat

Nanda Raj Jat 2014 witnessed its share of paradoxes. The guards of khadu, the four-horn ram, fasted for entire twenty days and walked barefoot. They ate once a day but the meal was lavish. Religion is about discipline and sacrifices for them. On the other hand many devotees relished hookah, cigar, beedi, and / or cigarette out of habit, for warmth, and / or for instant calories to kill hunger

Therefore, pilgrims had to trek about five kilometers extra to reach Lata Khopadi, the designated camping site for the day. The pilgrims trekked about 21 kilometers from Shila Samudra (3,645 meters) to Homkund (5,200 meters) to Chandniyaghat (3,635 meters) (about 16 kilometers) to Lata Khopadi on the day.

Ironically, Lata Khopadi, a small camping site, was not mentioned anywhere in the brochure.

During much awaited religious adventure Nanda Raj Jat 2014, police personnel had an important role to play. They did what they were supposed to do: guarding both divine and devout and maintaining law and order on easy to treacherous slopes of the Garhwal Himalayas. They helped people in the need of hour. They respected religious sentiments of the devotees. The personnel also served free food to ensure that the participants

Jokes from Nanda Raj Jat, Chamoli, Uttarakhand

I did Nanda Raj Jat trek in 2014. The trek winding through Chamoli, Uttarakhand was tough but there were a number of humorous incidents that lighten the mood for a while. Today’s slideshow features some of these moments.  

Nanda Raj Jat 2014, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India

Falling into trance is common during Nanda Raj Jat organized by Uttarakhand. I noticed that some of these trances took an ugly turn. One of such trance is captured in the today’s photo story.   August 21, 2014. Chandpurgarhi , Chamoli (L-R)  The boy in white shirt and long red scarf (dupatta), the woman in purple sari and long red scarf, and the girl with open hairs fall into trance. Colloquially 

If you find a camping place next to the evening cultural program venue and / or the temple, loud beats of devotional songs, chants, and prayers will not let you sleep. I experienced the same problem. I could not sleep for a second in Koti because my logistics manager pitched the tent next to the night event venue, where the loudspeakers blared until 3:00 am.

Many Pilgrims Misbehave during Nanda Raj Jat

Many yatris with poor civic sense did not even pour the water after using the toilets although water points were just outside the toilets in most of the stopovers or within a very short walking distance. So what does public want? Should a police personnel also be appointed to maintain the cleanliness?

Beware of Rumors during Nanda Raj Jat

During Nanda Raj Jat 2014, I heard a number of rumors that I would like to share with you:  About Gender of Yatris (Pilgrims) Women under fifty (50) would not be allowed to join the yatra (pilgrimage) beyond Vedni bugyal (meadow). Then, people spread the word that ladies could go only up to Pathar Nachauniya, which is after the meadow. However, a number of ladies from this age group trekked