ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Pilgrim's Trail

Trekking enthusiasts have rediscovered an ancient trail in the form of the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra, which takes place once in 12 years.

Our trek starts at Lohajung, a small town in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, north of Almora and Kausani. For much of the next week, we will walk the trail of the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra. The yatra, organised once in 12 years, symbolises, for the faithful, the return of devi Nanda to Kailash after her visit to her mait (maternal home). The yatra takes pilgrims right up to the base of the Trisul massif at the edge of the Nanda Devi sanctuary. This ancient trail has been “rediscovered” by trekking enthusiasts.

The path we take descends to a valley floor past terraced hillsides and patches of forest. The fields, their shapes dictated by the contours of the land, display crops of wheat, maize and potatoes. Horses graze in separate pastures. Trim houses – made of stone and often double-storied, with wooden windows and doors, and slate roofs – stand scattered about. Narrow concrete channels lead down the hill slopes to water storage tanks in the fields. On a bright summer morning it is a pretty country. Reaching the floor of the valley, we cross a stream and climb up to halt at the village of Didina.

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