Nanda Devi Raj Jat (Yatra))

Nanda Devi Raj Jat (Yatra))

Short information

  • Did you know: In Chamoli, Nanda Devi Raj Jaat is organized once in 12 years.

Nanda Devi Raj Jat is a pilgrimage and festival which is the most famous travel and festival of Uttarakhand state of India. 'Jat' which means yatra or pilgrimage, in this yatra, people from all parts of Garhwal and Kumaon division of Uttarakhand take part in Nanda Devi Raj Jat yatra. Nanda Devi Raj Jat can also be called Mahakumbh of Himalaya. This journey is very important and sacred for the people of Uttarakhand. This trip is also a center of attraction for Uttarakhand as well as the whole of India and other countries. People from Uttarakhand as well as people from other parts of the world participate in this journey.

The Nanda Devi Raj Yatra is organized once in 12 years. The major areas related to Nanda Devi Yatra include three major districts of Uttarakhand - Pithoragarh, Almora and Chamoli. The pilgrims participating in this journey travel on foot which covers a distance of about 280 kilometers. This journey is completed in about 19 to 20 days. This journey is called the most difficult pilgrimage in the world. During this journey, forests, mountains and rivers are crossed by difficult paths.

The journey starts from the village of Nauti near Karnaprayag and travels to the heights of Roopkund and Homkund with four horned sheep. When the journey ends after the havan-yajna ends, the four-horned sheep is freed from decorated ornaments and clothing, and other offerings are released.

Travel related beliefs

  • During the journey, a lake gets in the way, known as Roopkund which is surrounded by hundreds of ancient skeletons. According to local mythology, once a king took some dancers to this holy place. Due to heavy snowfall, people were trapped and the dancers were turned into skeletons and stones that can be seen in Paternchonia.
  • Maa Nanda Devi is also worshiped in Uttarakhand as Kul Devi. Mother Nanda Devi has a form of Goddess Parvati. According to folk history, Nanda was the Ishtadevi of the Katyuri dynasty of Kunmao along with the kings of Garhwal. Being a presiding deity, Nandadevi is referred to as Rajarajeshwari.
  • The two peaks of Mount Nanda Devi and Sunanda Devi are called abodes or represent two goddesses. These beautiful peaks are visible from most of the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand province in India. During the period of the Chand kings, only one idol of Nanda Devi was worshiped. The practice of making two sculptures began from the time of Baz Bahadur Chand. Even today only one idol is carved in remote villages. It is said that the goddesses Nanda and Sunanda were born together as princesses in the royal family, and to mark this new rebirth, the practice of celebrating the festival together was introduced to the two sisters.

Annual Nanda Devi Jat Yatra

An annual Nanda Jat of Nanda Devi Jat is also celebrated. The Raj Jat procession passes through the villages where there is a recognized Nanda Devi temple. In Koti, the pilgrims participating in the yatra have a night stay where there is worship and celebration throughout the night.

However, in the Johar Valley region, there is no tradition of Nanda Raj Jat, but the ritual of worship, dance and gathering of Brahmakamal (it is called Kaul Kamphu) is part of the Nanda festivities. Nanda Devi's fair is organized in the remote villages and Pindara valleys of Almora, Nainital, Kot (Dangoli), Ranikhet, Bhowali, Kichha and Lohar. In the villages of Pinder Valley, people celebrate Nandadevi Jat (yatra) every year, while in Lohar people from far and wide come to Danadhar, Suring, Milam and Martoli to worship the Goddess. In Nainital and Almora, thousands of people take part in the procession carrying the doli of Nanda Devi. The Nandadevi fairs are said to have started in Kumaon during the reign of King Kalyan Chand in the 16th century. A three-day fair is held at Kot Ki Mai or Kot Bhramari Devi. The fair of Saneti comes every other year. Both these fairs are rich in folk expressions, and many village products are brought up for sale.

Tentative Night Halts during Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra

FromToDistance
Nauti Village 
Nauti VillageIda Badhani10 kms
Ida BadhaniNauti10 kms
NautiKansuwa10 kms
KansuwaSem12 kms
SemKoti10 kms
KotiBhagoti12 kms
BhagotiKulsari12 kms
KulsariChepdue (Cheprau)10 kms
ChepdueNand Kesari11 kms
Nand KesariFaldiya8 kms
Faldiya VillageMundoli10 kms
MundoliVaan (Wan)15 kms
Vaan VillageGeroli Patal10 kms
Geroli PatalBedni Bugyal9 kms
Bedni BugyalPatar Nachoniya5 kms
Patar NachoniyaSila Samundra (via Roopkund and Junargali)15 kms
Sila SamundraChandniya Ghat (via Homkund)16 kms
Chandniya GhatSutol18 kms
SutoGhat32 kms
GhatNauti40 kms
Nauti Village 

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