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Nanda Devi Raj Jat is a pilgrimage of epic proportions that passes through the mighty Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi Sanctuary. It combines obscure faith in Goddess Nanda, mysteries of nature and thrills of an enduring journey where thousands of devotees from Kumaon and Garhwal region participate wholeheartedly.
Like the grand Khumbh Mela, Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra is also organized once in 12 years. Due to floods in 2013, the yatra was postponed to 2014. If you are not going for Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra this year then you will have to wait till year 2026.
Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra originates from Nauti village, 20 kms from Karnaprayag. The royal family of Garhwal conducts the Nanda Raj Jat to please the Isht-Devi, in order to seek blessings for a prosperous kingdom and the defeat of their enemies.
This 280 kilometers long pilgrimage begins at Nauti Village and must be covered by foot. There are 19 halting places during this yatra. A deep feeling of faith and reverence for Nanda Devi in Himalayan folk lore reflects the respect held for women in Uttarakhand.
Nanda Devi Raj Jat is led by a four-horned sheep, one of the most popular facets of the pilgrimage. It symbolizes the Goddess Parvati. The sheep is one of the main attractions of the yatra and enjoys a strong security cover all along the journey till Homkund, where it is left behind. It is said that the sheep then reaches the forests of Homkund and disappears to reach heaven directly.
With 19 day trek over forests, mountains, glaciers, crossing rivers with tough climatic conditions and terrain, it is considered one of the toughest pilgrimages in the world.
With drastic altitude change many devotees get affected by AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and other health issues. But it is their faith, which helps them overcome all such barriers. At Roopkund and Junargali the altitude almost touches 5000mts above sea level.
Nanda Devi is an avatar of Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife, revered in Uttarakhand. The Nanda Devi Raj Jat, seeks to celebrate Nanda Devi’s departure from her maternal home (Nauti village) to her husband’s (Homkund).
Parvati (Shail Putri), the daughter of Hills and the consort of Lord Shiva, is known as Nanda in Garhwal & Kumaon areas. People from the entire Garhwal division and Kumaon division as well as other parts of India participate in Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra.
There are several Nanda temples situated at all the prominent places in Garhwal and Kumaon like Nauti, Chandpur, Kurur, Devrada, Kulsari, Nandkesri, Lohajang, Shila Samudra, Nandakot, Vaidini, Srinagar, Sink, Devikhet, Nandprayag, Gopeshwar, Helang, Lata Niti and Badrinath. Similarly the Kumaon region include Nanda Devi temples located at Nainital, Almora, Baijnath, Shuwbhgash, Munsiyari, Doonagiri, Jageshwar, Bageshwar and Ranikhet.
People from both the region bring their idols along to be a part of this epic folklore.
The yatra passes through Roopkund – A Mystery Lake, where you’ll see hundreds of skeletons. It is believed that once a King took some dancers for his entertainment to this sacred place due to which the goddess got angry which resulted in hailstorm. The people at Roopkund died and the dancers got transformed into stone which can be seen at Patar Nachonia. The skeletons indicate that the average height of a person at that time was 9feet. Strange isn’t it?
|17 Aug 2014||Sunday||Nauti Village||—|
|18 Aug 2014||Monday||Nauti Village||Ida Badhani||10 kms|
|19 Aug 2014||Tuesday||Ida Badhani||Nauti||10 kms|
|20 Aug 2014||Wednesday||Nauti||Kansuwa||10 kms|
|21 Aug 2014||Thursday||Kansuwa||Sem||12 kms|
|22 Aug 2014||Friday||Sem||Koti||10 kms|
|23 Aug 2014||Saturday||Koti||Bhagoti||12 kms|
|24 Aug 2014||Sunday||Bhagoti||Kulsari||12 kms|
|25 Aug 2014||Monday||Kulsari||Chepdue (Cheprau)||10 kms|
|26 Aug 2014||Tuesday||Chepdue||Nand Kesari||11 kms|
|27 Aug 2014||Wednesday||Nand Kesari||Faldiya||8 kms|
|28 Aug 2014||Thursday||Faldiya Village||Mundoli||10 kms|
|29 Aug 2014||Friday||Mundoli||Vaan (Wan)||15 kms|
|30 Aug 2014||Saturday||Vaan Village||Geroli Patal||10 kms|
|31 Aug 2014||Sunday||Geroli Patal||Bedni Bugyal||9 kms|
|1 Sept 2014||Monday||Bedni Bugyal||Patar Nachoniya||5 kms|
|2 Sept 2014||Tuesday||Patar Nachoniya
|Sila Samundra||15 kms|
|3 Sept 2014||Wednesday||Sila Samundra
|Chandniya Ghat||16 kms|
|4 Sept 2014||Thursday||ChandniyaGhat||Sutol||18 kms|
|5 Sept 2014||Friday||Suto||Ghat||32 kms|
|6 Sept 2014||Saturday||Ghat||Nauti||40 kms|
|7 Sept 2014||Sunday||Nauti Village||—|