The Nanda Raj Jat route does not offer many accommodation options. This limitation actually has a positive side. The route has not become a touristy destination. Serenity of the trail is therefore still preserved.
Do not worry.
A loyal thrill-seeker can still find a suitable accommodation to enjoy the pilgrimage. Here is a review of the stay options and are useful tips for the planning:
3 Types of Accommodation
Camping is the best option. You will get a chance to experience camping on different types of terrain, including
- animal shelters, gardens, cemented terraces and / or verandahs in the local houses,
- grassy meadows,
- playgrounds in local schools,
- river banks, and
- temple complexes.
Even the government provided some free shared tents for the pilgrims in 2014. However, they were not enough and available on first come, first served basis. During Nanda Raj Jat 2014, Aska lighted many camping sites and some parts of the trail.
Vedni and Shila Samundra are the two biggest continuous campsites along Nanda Raj Jat route.
The night halts along the trek route do not have any traditional hotels except Nauti and Wan where Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) offers rooms and tents. In Wan and Rankidhar, I also spotted one or two small basic accommodations.
3. Forest and PWD Rest Houses
Most of the times both these rest houses are reserved for the government employees, especially who are organizing the pilgrimage. You may try to book these in advance. If lucky or if you have contacts, you may get rooms in these rest houses.
Debal, Lohaganj, Wan, and Vedni have forest rest houses. Nauti has a PWD rest house.
7 Things to Remember
- Camping spaces are available on first come, first served basis. You should never forget this because finding the space, especially in smaller stopovers, is difficult, sometimes very difficult. For example, camping site at Garoli Patal is very small. So some people camped at Doliya / Goliya, and Vedni that are not very far from Garoli in 2014. Nauti also features a small camping ground.
- One more important thing about small camping sites is that the first come, first served rule may not apply if the site can accommodate only the tents of the organizers. In such case, e.g. camping site at Chandaniya Ghat, you have to stay at the previous or the next campsite. This will require extra trekking and resources.
- Do take written camping permission from schools in advance if you intend to use the school grounds.
- Carry full camping gear, including toilet tents and a repair kit and ration. You may not get ration and vegetables even you are ready to pay because of high demand and low or no supply.
- Do not expect a bed or room in local houses. The dedicated homestay / guesthouse options are also not available during this period. Because villagers host many friends and relatives on this special occasion.
- If you want a space in a few traditional hotels (As specified above) located along the route, do book in advance, say at least one month.
- No walk-ins. Walk-ins may work only in case you want an empty terrace of a local house.