Porterage: Big Component of Total Cost of Nanda Raj Jat

A mule man with his mules near Kaluwa Vinayak, Chamoli, Uttarakhand
September 2, 2014. Near Kaluwa Vinayak, Uttarakhand. A mule man (sitting) with his mules.

Porters are part and parcel of the pilgrimage. The porterage accounts for substantial part of the total cost of Nanda Raj Jat. For example, according to the estimates, about 1,500 Nepali porters earned record revenues during the 2014 pilgrimage: INR 10,500,000 in seven days from Wan to Sutol. Local horse and mule owners also did good business: They charged INR 2,500 per animal, per day for Wan-Vedni section of the trail.

The porterage consists of a daily wage and complimentary accommodation and food. As of 2014, the porterage varied from INR 500 to 1,000 per day for a 25-kilogram load. However, do remember that all of us are opportunistic, including the porters. Be prepared to pay high porterage, especially beyond the last village when demand will be high.

I spoke to a few mule owners during Pathar Nachauniya-Bhaguwasa trek. They quoted slightly less rate: INR 2,000 per person, per day and INR 700 per halt for transporting one quintal of ration. If the load is bulky like rucksacks, a mule will carry only four pieces.

Find the going rate before starting the pilgrimage and do not forget to bargain.


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