The Off: About Best Himalayan Adventures
(TO ABHA) Magazine
Volume 2, Issue 1 | May-June 2016

Nanda Raj Jat aka Roopkund Homkund Trek

Magazine Cover

Adventure Travel Blog Magazine by TO ABHA. May-June 2016. Nanda Raj jat. Homkund and Roopkund Trek.
Adventure Travel Blog Magazine, May-June 2016, Volume 2, Issue 1

On the Front Cover

The front cover features an image of Nanda Devi from Kurad, Uttarakhand. Because this issue focuses on the Nanda Devi Raj Jat, a pilgrimage dedicated to Nanda Devi, the patron goddess of Uttarakhand. The Jat is in fact a special edition of Roopkund and Homkund trek meandering through the Indian Himalayas. This trekking trail is known for serene mountainous landscape that is considered as the home of the goddess. DYK that many pilgrims trek the entire Jat trail barefoot.

On the Back Cover

The back cover features a guide-cum-porter who accompanied one of the groups that participated in Nanda Raj Jat 2014. The sleeping pose, specially selected for the cover, symbolizes a well-deserved rest after a 22-day long hard trek.

Do and See

The drummers lead the women carrying offerings on their heads to the temple.

Missing Momentum of the First Day September 6, 2014 Saturday Poor presence of pilgrims produced emptiness that highlighted the lush landscape of Nauti and other aspects of the event. The sky was the same and was a sport like the first day of the pilgrimage. But on the penultimate day of the pilgrimage, Shri Sidhpeeth Nanda Devi Temple in Nauti received a small size of visitors. The number of professional

Nanda Devi from Kurad at the Nanda Temple in Nandkesari

Meeting of Kumaoni and Garhwali Parasols, Palanquins, People, Prayers August 26, 2014 Tuesday On the 10th day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014, the short walk along the tar road was rewarding for three reasons. The first reason was the palanquin of the goddess Nanda Devi from Kurad that reached Chepadu to join the royal parasol procession. More parasols and two rams came with the palanquin that was carefully carried by

The dance drama continues on the 20th day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014.

September 5, 2014 Friday Friendly weather favored us once more. But jeep drivers did not. They successfully demanded INR 200 per person for a short shared jeep ride of thirty minutes from Sutol to Ghat. Deities and all the pilgrims continued their return journeys to respective homes. But I could not experience deities’ return journeys for mismanagement by YJ. My scheduled visit to and a halt at Ghat became a

Travel Services

Lunch served at Nandakesari by DreamCatcher Adventure

Many doubts rose in my mind about his abilities and intentions to honor the contract when I spoke to Yogendra Joshi (YJ) for the first time in his office on August 15, 2014. YJ actually inadvertently confirmed the doubts in Nauti on August 17. He was General Manager (GM) of Rishikesh-based DreamCatcher Adventure that I hired for my once-in-a-lifetime trip for photographing and trekking the Nanda Raj Jat trail. Since

SBI ATM in Nauti, Uttarakhand

You will neither need consent of the local government nor the season for Nanda Raj Jat. The barefoot pilgrimage happens when the local community decides considering auspicious dates. The government does not levy any fee and issue permits for venturing into the restricted areas during this rare religious, social, and cultural adventure.However, you do need cash, in fact, lots of cash to pay cooks, mules, and low and high altitude

A mule man with his mules near Kaluwa Vinayak, Chamoli, Uttarakhand

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

Arguments, Discussion, Ideas, Opinions, Thoughts …

Is Road Building Compatible with the Essence of Adventure Tourism in the Delicate Himalayas?

I have heard and read several times that the neo adventure tourists clamor for roads to promote high altitude pilgrimage and adventure tourism in the Himalayas. They justify their demand…


Driving challenges in Dehradun

On August 16, 2014, it was sunny when we left Rishikesh for Nauti, the starting point of Nanda Raj Jat, in a jeep around 9:00 am. But landslides due to downpour on the previous day blocked the two routes we tried before taking the third route. It took one and a half days to complete this drive of about 200 kilometers. Here is a brief overview of the three routes


Complimentary bread served to the participants of Nanda Raj Jaat

“Nutritious ration would reassure you.” Carbs facilitate devotional duties. Lack of food frustrates. But food costs a lot, especially at high altitude. For example, cost of 75-gram Maggi noodles went from INR 10 in plains to INR 40 in Pathar Nachauniya and INR 50 in Bhaguwasa during Nanda Raj Jaat 2014. Similarly price of tea increased from INR 10 for a small cup in Vedni to INR 15 in Pathar

Do and See

The villagers are overwhelmed by the departure of dear daughter on 6th day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014.

August 22, 2014 Friday Music died and excitement sunk because someone died in Sem last night. The procession left the village early without any intimation like sudden death. The musicians brought the procession back to life from Ghariyal village. The narrow stony trail followed the contours of the stepped fields. Some parts of the trail consisted of stony flights of steps and concrete ramps. The trail afforded views of banj

A local woman from wears both bulaki and natola.

Pageantry for Faith in Togetherness August 28, 2016 Thursday Although it was mainly a brisk walk along the tar road under a sunny umbrella, the procession moved through the mosaic of green fields intermittently. It took short trails exiting from the road and climbing up and down the verdure slopes to reach tiny hamlets that were not the night halts. Many visitors huffed and puffed along these trails. They were

The 4-horn ram in Mundoli

Lifetime Penalty for Liquor August 29, 2014 Friday Mossy stones settled on the wide ascending trail were slippery when we left Mundoli for Wan. But the trail soon merged into the road leading to Lohaganj. The public square in Lohaganj experienced frenzy of priest community who possessed palanquins, parasols, and religious symbols like Kohinoor and people who sought blessings of the rare rams.  Lohaganj was the settlement that accommodated probably

The 4-horn ram specially selected to lead the Nanda Raj Jat 2014 awaits to be released in wild after the puja.

A Downpour of Anxieties and Affections September 3, 2014 Wednesday Both anxiety and affection were infectious at Shila Saumdra in the morning of the Wednesday. Anxiety ascribed to desire to reach Hom Kund, the goodbye spot at 5,000 meter, at the earliest. Almost everyone, believer and non-believer, had developed an affection for the ram, the goddess, and the trail.  Bidding adieu was therefore an overwhelming experience for many. So everybody