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Chamoli

Chamoli, carved as a seperate revenue district in 1960 out of the erstwhile Grahwal district, lies in the Central Himalya and constitutes a part of the celebrated 'Kedar Kshetra'.The District Chamoli is surrounded by Uttarkashi in Northwest, Pithoragarh in Southwest, Almora in Southeast, Rudraprayag in Southwest and Tehri Grahwal in West. The geographical area of the District is around 7520 sq.kms. The geological feature of the district form two major divisions which lies North and South of an imaginary line extending East-South- East between the villages of Hilang in Joshimath and Loharkhet in the adjoining District of Pithoragarh. The Northern division, which is occupied by higher ranges and snow covered peaks consist entirely of medium to high grade metamorphic rocks and is intruded by later volcanic rocks. The Division to the South, occupied by ranges of lower altitude, consists essentially of sedimentary and low grade metamorphic rock also intruded by later volcanic rocks. Geologically very little is known of the first division which consists of rocks such as quartzites, marbles and various types of micaceous schists and gneisses which a few sporadic occurrences of garnet, graphite, iron, kynite, mica and vein quartz. The division to the south of the imaginary line is better known geologically and consists of rocks such as gneisses, limestone, phyllites , quartzite, sericite-biotite schists and slates.

Religious Importance


It is in Chamoli that Hanuman is believed to have found the 'Sanjeevani' herb which revived the wounded and conscious Lakshman; it is here that the sage Ved Vyasa is believed to have composed his immortal epic The Mahabharata; and it is here that Guru Gobind Singh is believed to have meditated in one of his earlier births. It is to these hills that Pandavas are believed to have come to ask Lord Shiva's blessings and forgiveness for the sin of having killed their own kin. Here Karna, the son of Draupadi and Lord Surya, performed austerities to be bestowed the Kavacha and kundala that made him invincible; Varuchi compiled his Panini Grammer and Adi Shankaracharya attained enlightenment. Five out of six schools of Hindu philosophy have their beginnings in these hills that have been home to the highest flights of man's spirit in the past and the present.

Minerals

The minerals that are found in the district are the following :

Asbestos

This is of the amosite variety and can be used for the production of asbestos, cement bricks, laboratory asbestos sheet and paper, but is not considered to be of economic importance.

Magnestic

This is of an average quality is crystalline in nature, and is found associated with crystalline dolomites and sometimes with soapstone. The Magnesium carbonate found here is also of average quality and its mineralisation has also been reported to occur in the district.

Soapstone or Steatite

This white saponaceous stone resembling pipe clay is obtained in as lenticular body and is associated with mineral pyrites, which adds a color to it, and in places with magnesite. it can be mined for use as filler in soap and in the cosmetic industries. In the past various utensils were made of it which, when polished, had the appearance of marble.

Copper

The copper mines in the district are extensive and of reputed during the period of Hindus and The Gorkhas rules. All the rich mines have since being exhausted and at present they do not offer a fair field for the employment of capital.

Iron

Small and sporadic occurrence of iron are known to occur in several parts of district but are of hardly any economic important. Iron ore, rich in haematite, and magnetic ore, with haematite and siderite, also occur in the district.

Graphite

In the past this mineral, also known as plumbago, found mostly in patti Lohba, was used as a dye but no large deposits have been noticed for a long time.

Gold

Although no gold mines has been discovered in the district, the sands of Alaknanda and the Pinddar are said to be auriferous to a limited extent.

Gypsum

This mineral is found on the bank of some river and was used in the past for the manufacture of saucers and bowls .when ground to a fine powder it is known as Plaster of Paris and can be used for a number of purposes.

Lead

Deposits of this metal were fairly numerous in the past but it is found in somewhat inaccessible places and has long since ceased to be worked.

Slate

This dense, fine grained metamorphic rock, which is produced from a fine clay, can be split into thin, smooth plates and is quarried throughout the district. It is suitable for roofing purposes, the thin dark blue slates being somewhat inferior in quality.

Limestone

By burning this mineral, lime is procured which can be used as mortar. There are two distinct ranges of lime stone hills in the district, the first, north of the Alaknanda in Nagpur, the second, running from Lohba patti to the Pinddar and again to the Alaknanda in patti Bacchansyun in district Garhwal. Reserves of dolomite exists in the district and tufaceous deposits are also found near several Nullahs.

Building Stone

Stone which can be used for building purposes is available in most parts of the district. Sand stone is found in abundance in the lower hills. Gneiss and chlorite schists which are available throughout the district are frequently used for building purposes.

Sulphur

This yellow mineral, also known as brimstone is found in the district as green sulphate of iron and is obtainable from iron pyrites and copper mines, its presence being characterised by a small as of rotten eggs. Sulphur springs also occur in many parts in the district.

Bitumen

The brownish white natural sulphate of alumina known as Shilajit is found in rocks at a fairly high altitude and occur in small lumps which generally have an admixture of red sand and micaceous stone embedded in them. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine and during the season when there is an influx of pilgrims, it fetches good income to those who deal in it. Some other minerals found in the district are Antimony, Arsenic, Lignite or Brown Marble, Mica and silver.

River System

Chamoli district is criss-crossed by several important rivers and their tributaries. Alaknanda, transversing a distance of 229 kms. before its confluence with Bhagirathi at Devprayag and constituting the Ganga, is the major river. The Alaknanda originates at a height of 3641 meters below Balakun peak 16 km. upstream from Badrinath form the two glaciers of Bhagirath Kharak and Satopanth. The two glaciers rise from the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba (7140 Meters) peak, Badrinath peak and its satellite peaks. These peaks separates the Gangotri group of glaciers in the west. The major portion of the Alaknanda basin falls in Chamoli district. From its source upto Hallang (58 Km), the valley is treated as upper Alaknanda valley. The remaining part of the area is known as lower Alanknanda valley. While moving from its source, the river flows in a narrow deep gorge between the mountain slopes of Alkapuri, from which it drives its name. All along its course, it drains its tributaries :
1. Saraswati joins the Alaknanda 9 Km downstream from Mana. 2. Khilrawan Ganga join it below the Badrinath shrine and Bhuynder Ganga below HanumanChatti. 3. Dhauli Ganga meets at Vishnuprayag above Joshimath. The river Dhauliganga rises from the Nitti Pass at about 5070 meters. Its valley lies between the Kamet groups of peaks in the west and Nandadevi group in the east. The Dhauli takes a northern course at Malari. Between Malari and Tapovan, it is almost a narrow gorge with perpendicular cliffs on either side. several thousand meters high. the Dhauliganga in its turn is fed by GirthiGanga at Kurkuti and Rishiganga 500 mts. below Reni. 4. Downstream small tributaries- Helang, Garud, Patal and Birahiganga join the Alaknanda between Joshimath and Chamoli. 5. Nandakini, which rises from Semudra Glaciers drainage the western slopes of Trishul mountains, joins it at Nandprayag. 6. South-East, river Pinddar joins the Alaknanda at Karnprayag. The Pinddar river is fed by the Milam and Pinddar glacier from the Nandadevi group of glacier. The Pinddar river, before joining Alaknanda, is fed by Kaliganga and Bheriganga. The rivers of Chamoli district, generally flow with great force in steep and narrow channels often resulting in excessive erosion and collapse of the banks.

Climate

As the elevation of the district ranges from 800 m to 8000 m above sea level the climate of the district very largely depend on altitude. The winter season is from about mid November to March. As most of the region is situated on the southern slops of the outer Himalayas, monsoon currents can enter through the valley, the rainfall being heaviest in the monsoon from June to September. The details of temperature recorded at the meteorological observatories in the district show that the highest temperature was 34 C and lowest 0 C. January is the coldest month after which the temperature begin to rise till June or July. temperature vary with elevation. During the winter cold waves in the wake of western disturbances may cause temperature to fall appreciably. Snow accumulation in valley is considerable.

Rainfall

Most of the rainfall occur during the period June to September when 70 to 80 percent of the annual precipitation is accounted for in the southern half of the district and 55 to 65 percent in the northern half. The effectiveness of the rains is, among others, related to low temperature which means less evapo-transpiration and forest or vegetation cover. However, the effectiveness is neither uniform nor even positive in areas where either the vegetational cover is poor or / and has steep slops or the soils have been so denuded that their moisture absorption capacity has become marginal. Rain gauging stations put up at seven locations by Meteorological department of Govt. of India, represent the settled land mass of Chamoli district.

Humidity

The relative humidity is high during monsoon season, generally exceeding 70% on the average. The driest part of the year is the pre monsoon period when the humidity may drop to 35% during the afternoon. During the winter months humidity increases toward the afternoon at certain high stations.

How to reach

By Air
Nearest airport is Jollygrant, 221 Kms.
By Train
Rishikesh is the nearest Railway station.
By Road
Well connected to Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Nainital, & Almora.
Major Mountain Ranges
Nanda Devi 7817 m
Kamet 7756 m
Nanda Devi East 7434 m
Trishul 7120 m
Dunagiri 7066 m
Dunagiri East 6489 m
Hanuman Parvat 6070 m
Devisthan II 6490 m
Hathi Parvat 6727 m
Gori Parvat 6590 m
Neelkanth 6596 m
Satopanth 7075 m
Nar 5831 m
Narayan 5965 m
.
District At a Glance
Total geographical Area (sq km) 7520
Population ('000)  
Male 183.75
Female 186.61
Total 370.36
Rural 319.66
Urban 50.70
S.C67.54
S.T. 10.48
Literacy ('000)  
Male 138.93
Female 98.42
Total 237.35
Tehsil 6
Blocks 9
Gramsabha 552
Villages  
Habitats 1144
Inhabitants 89
Forest Villages 10
Total Villages 1233
Nagar Palika 2
Nagar Nigam 0
Nagar Panchayat 4
Police Stations 5
Bus Station/ Bus Stop 211
Railways Stations 0
Post office 265
Telegraph Office 3
Telephone Connections 8162
Bank
Nationalised Banks Branches 24
Other Bank 0
Rural Bank Branches 12
Co-Operative Bank 15
Bhumi Vikas Bank 1
Fair price Shop
Rural 601
Urban 53
Education
Junior Basic School 979
Senior Basic School 223
Senior Secondary School 126
Degree / Post Graduate College 7
University 0
I.T.I. 5
Polytechnic 1
Health
Allopathic 29
Ayurvedic 51
Homeopathic 5
Yunani 0
Primary Health centre 12
Family & Child welfare centre 0
Family & Child welfare sub centre 91
T.B. Hospital 1
Cinema Hall 3

Places of Interest

Auli

In the summer, Auli bugyal is inviting but in the winter it is irresistible with its hoary snow slopes and skiing facilities. Auli can be reached by road or ropeway from Joshimath. It provides an excellent panoramic view of the giant mountain peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet and Dunagiri. From January to March, the Auli slopes are usually covered with a thick carpet of snow, about 3 m deep. The stretch of 3 Km with a drop in elevation of 500 m is considered to be a very good skiing ground by international standard. The background of lofty snow clad mountains heightens the sprit of the skiers. To attract attention, skiing festivals are also conducted at Auli. These now include the national championships staged by the Winter Games Federation of India. While skiing is the chief attraction at Auli, there are other attraction like cable car rides and rope lifts, or spend the day outdoors building snowmen, or having snowball fights.

Gopeshwar

Situated at a height of 1308 m amidst beautiful mountain ranges, terrace farms and small lakes, the picturesque township of Gopeshwar is the district headquarter of Chamoli. An ancient temple of Lord Shiva is the main attraction of the town and thousands of pilgrims come here throughout the year to visit the temple. Owing to its natural beauty and fresh and serene atmosphere, Gopeshwar is becoming a major attraction for the tourists. Many well known tourist spots and religious centres are spread around this town. According to historians, the name Gopeshwar has associations with the name of Lord Krishna. Besides the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, Vaitarni Kund, a group of temples without idols and Oak View are other places of interest.

Vasudhara

Water falls have always captivated the human imagination. 5 Kms. from Mana village, toward the west is the Vasudhara fall with a sheer drop of 145 m, set in a background of snowy peaks, glaciers and rocky heights. Violent wind sometimes sprays out the entire volume of the water falling and it appears that the water fall ceases for a minute or two, giving rise to a lot of superstitious ideas to the locals.

Valley of Flowers

A profusion of wildflowers - iris, violets, roses, primulas, anemones, potentillas - mark this valley, celebrated all over the world for its lush beauty. A narrow river flows through the valley, now declared a national park. Reached by an easy bridle-path from Govindghat, visitors are no longer allowed to camp within the valley. The valley had always been known to the local people who avoided getting to this area for fear of fairies, who they believed, would take them away. It was in 1931 that Frank Smythe and Holdsworth stumbled into the valley while returning from their successful Kamet expedition and were "at once transported from a region of solemn austerity to a fairy land of dainty flowers, most of them dwarf but brilliant in colour". Smythe wrote about the valley and its flowers - "their carpet is a celestial one, breathing innocence and joy to the world overburdened with sophistication and sorrow". His writing invoked a great interest of the people in this valley, both at home and abroad. Legends associate this valley area with "Gandhamadan" from where Hanuman of Ramayana collected "Sanjeevani" herb to revive Laksmana. Hanuman had to visit far-flung areas in his search for the life-saving herb, some named after him. He visited Hanuman Chatti near Yamunotri, Hanuman Tibba near Gangotri, Hanuman peak near Nandadevi, Hanuman Chatti near Badrinath and ultimately the valley of flowers or Nanankanan as it is also known as. The best time to visit the valley is during July and August when innumerable varieties of flowers bloom and present a spectacular sight. The valley itself is 10 kms. long and about 2 kms. wide in conical shape, with the river Pushpavati flowing through it. After one gets down at Govindghat on the main Badrinath highway, it involves a trek of 15 kms. to reach Ghangaria wherefrom a further short trek of 5 kms. leads one to the edge of the valley. The valley ranges between 3352 and 3658 m in altitude.

Satopanth Lake

This triangular lake of serene water has a perimeter of about half a kilometer. It is about 25 Kms. from Badrinath. Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar, the Hindu trinity are believed to occupy one corner each, and which are named after them. The trek is hazardous, but full of dramatic scenery. There is no place to rest between, except caves. Cooked food, stove etc. have to be carried from Badrinath itself.

Bedni Bugyal

Situated near Wan, Bedini Bugyal is a charming green meadow adorned with flowers in a spell binding varieties, in full bloom. There is a small lake situated in the midst of the meadow, where Tarpans are offered by the devotees. Situated nearby is a small temple where the devotees pay there obeisance, during their halt at Bedni Bugyal.

Roopkund

Roopkund is situated in the eastern part of Chamoli district (in the lap of Trishul Massif, 7122 m). The high-altitude (5029 m), kund is on the Nanda Jat route to Homkund. It is not a very large kund and is rather shallow, having a depth of only about 2 m. The edges are snow covered for most parts of the year. When snow melts, one can see human and equine skeletal remains, sometimes with flesh attached; well preserved in the alpine conditions. It is found that about 300 people died about 500-600 years ago. There are many theories to explain the finding but none satisfying to everybody. Hence the lake is also known as the 'Mystery Lake'. According to the locals : Raja Jasdal of Kanauj undertook a Nanda Jat along with the Rani Balpa, some 550 years ago. Rani being the princess from Garhwal was revered as a sister of goddess Nandadevi. Near Roopkund she gave birth to a babe. Goddess Nandadevi considered it a sacrilege in her domain and sent down a snow/hailstorm. Raja's people were caught in it and perished. The present day skeletal remains belong to them. Other than the Nanda Raj Jat route via Wan, one may approach Roopkund from Ghat, (motorable from Nandprayag). The trek takes one to Ramni (jeepable in fair weather) and Sutol, on the way. Wan is approached either from Tharali or Gwaldam. Thereafter one may choose reaching Roopkund via Ali Bugyal or the Bedni. On the way dramatic views of the nature with its many splendours can be seen.

Badrinath

Badrinath at a glance
Area 2.5 sq. km.
Altitude 3133 m above sea level
Best time to visit May-mid-November
Clothing Woolens to Heavy woolens
Festivals Mata Murti ka Mela (Sept.); Krishna Janmashtami; (Jul/Aug),Badri-Kedar Utsav

Badrinath dhaam is considered as one of the most sacred centres of pilgrimage situated in the lofty Himalayan heights in the Tehri-Garhwal hill tracks (Uttarakhand) at the height of 10,248 feet above sea level. The route to Badrinath is one of the most arduous one due to the lofty hilly terrain, curves and cliffs amidst the most scenically beautiful place on the earth. Throughout the route to Badrinath there are numerous pilgrimage sites at Deva Prayag, Rudraprayag, Karana Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Vishnuprayag as well as Pandukeswar where the Pandavas are believed to have been born, and the site where Bhima and Hanuman (sons of Vayu) met. Lord MahaVishnu is believed to have done his penance in this place. Seeing the Lord doing his penance in the open, Goddess Mahalaxmi is believed to have assumed the form of Badri tree to provide him shelter to face the onslaught of the weather conditions, therefore the name Badri Narayan. It is believed that Lord Vishnu revealed to Narad Rishi that Nar & Naryan forms were his own. It is also believed that Narad Rishi, who also did his penance here, is even now is worshipping the supreme God in the form of Nar and Narayan with Ashtakshara mantras. The image of Badrinarayan here is fashioned out of Saligramam. Badrrinarayan is seen under the badri tree, flanked by Kuber and Garuda, Narad, Narayan and Nar. Mahalakshmi has a sanctum in the prakaram. There is also a shrine to Adi Sankara The image of Lord Badrinarayan here is fashioned out of Saligrama. Shri Badrinarayan is seen under the badari tree, flanked by Kuber and Garuda, Narad, Narayan and Nar. Mahalakshmi has a sanctum in the prakaram. There is also a shrine of Adi Sankara at Badrinath. . Behind the temple of Lord Badrinarayan is the Lakshmi Narasimha mandir, with shrines to Desikacharya and Ramanujachary. At Badrinath one can witness one of the greatest wonders of Nature in the Hot water springs of Taptakund on the banks of river Alaknanda. The temperature of the water in this Kund is 55 degree centigrade whereas the normal temperature in this region for most part of the year at 9-10 degree centigrade to sub-zero levels. Before visiting the temple the pilgrims take a holy bath in the Taptakund.

Places of Interest

Hot water Springs, Tapt Kund and Surya Kund

The pilgrimage centre boasts of two natural hot water springs - Tapt Kund and Surya Kund. The sulphurous waters have a temperature of 55 C. A bath in these springs is believed to purify the body and soul and is done before visiting the temple.

Panch Badris :

Vishal Badri
Refers to the main Shri Badri Narayan Temple and is considered to be the most sacred.

Yogathyan Badri

Located at a distance of 24 kms from Badri Nath and at 20 kms from Joshimath. This is also the place where Maharaj Pandu (father of the Pandava princes) prayed to Pandukeshwar.

Bhavishya Badri

This is located at 17 kms from Joshimath and is a small village.

Preetha Badri

Located at 17 kms from Joshimath at a place called Animath. Adi Shankar is believed to have worshipped Lord Badrinath here for some time.

Adi Badri

This is located at a distance of 16 kms from Karnaprayag. Several temples constructed during Gupt Dynasty are here of which Mana Narayanan temple is considered to be the most popular one.

Village Manam - Vyas Guha

This village, located at a distance of 3 kms from Badri is the last Indian Village situated in the Indo-China Border and has gained historical importance on account of Vyas Caves. This village, located on the banks of River Saraswati (only place where this river can be seen) is very beautiful. Vyas Maharishi (Sage), author of Mahabharat is believed to have lived in the caves. These are named after him. It was in these caves, Vyas Maharishi composed the Mahabharata. This was done at the orders of his mentor Kalpatru Maharishi who appeared in his dream. Mahabharata depicts the history of Pandavs, Kauravs including Kurukshetra War and most importantly Bhagawad Gita authored by Krishna (reincarnation of Vishnu). Ganesh, the son of Shiv & Parvati, is said to have helped Vyas Maharishi in putting this epic in the written form, the beginning of education in written form. In addition to Mahabharat, Vyas Maharishi composed 18 puranas (legendary stories), Brahma Sutras and classified the Hindu Vedas into 4 parts - Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. It is only in this cave that Adi Shankara is believed to have met Vyas Maharishi and discussed his Bhashyam (explanatory notes) for Brahma Sutras. Rock formation inside the Vyas Guha appears to resemble the orderly stacking of palm leave manuscripts - oldest writing material and is worshipped as Vyas Pusthak. Vyas Maharishi is also considered, by some, as reincarnation of Vishnu.

Another Cave called as Ganesh Guha (cave) is also located in this village.

Valley of Flowers

One of the most idyllic valleys in the world, was discoverd by Frank S. Smythe, in 1931. The valley is profuse with a plethora of vibrant flowers, hence the name. Nearby, flows the river Pushpavati, while the massive Rataban peak forms a splendid backdrop.

Gobindghat

Situated between Joshimath and Badrinath, Gobindghat is the starting point for the trek to the valley.

Lok-Pal Hemkund

One of the most famous Gurudwaras in India, Hemkund Sahib is located here, at an altitude of 4320 m above sea level. Nearby, is the Lok-Pal Hemkund lake, with its crystal clear waters, and four peaks surrounding it.

Mata Murti Mandir

About 3 km from Badrinath, on the right bank of the Alaknanda stands this temple, dedicated to the mother of Shri Badrinath.

Vasuki Tal

This is a high altitude lake which can be reached by an 8 km trek that ascends to 14,200 feet. Vyas Gufa, Ganesh Gufa, Bhimpul and Vasudhara Falls are 3-6 km. All these destinations are famous for their links with Hindu mythology and form part of the pilgrimage to Badrinath.

Joshimath

Joshimath, the first mutt established by Shri Adi Sankara, is located at a distance of 14 kms from Helang enroute to Badri. Adi Sankara is believed to have got enlightenment here and authored Sri Sankara Bhashyam. This located at a height of 6150 ft above sea level. Here, there are separate temples for Lord Narasimha and Lord Vasudev (different forms of Lord Vishnu). This is one of the 108 Divya Desams (sung by Sacred Vaishnavaite Saints). In the temple for Lord Narasimha, separate statues of Badri narayan, Uthavar, Kuber, Chandikadevi, Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Garud can be seen together in the sanctum sanctorum. Outside the temple separate statues of Brahma, Krishana, Lakshmi & Anjaneya can be seen. Vyas Maharishi is believed to have worshipped Goddess Lakshmi here. The presiding deity Lord Narasimha is believed to have been established by Adi Sankara. It is widely believed that one hand of the presiding deity is getting weakened and the day it disjoints, the way to Badri will get eternally blocked and Lord Badri Narayan will thereafter give darshan only from either Bhavishya Badri or Adi Badri (part of Panch Badris). The temple of Lord Vasudev houses Lord Vasudev in the sanctum sanctorum as well as Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Leela devi, Oorvasi devi & Balram in the outer praharam. Further separate structures are available for Vinayaka,Brahma, Indira, Chandran(Moon), Navadurgas & Gauri Shankar.

Pandukeshwar

This place is believed to have been established by King Pandu, father of Pandavas. It is situated at 4 kms from Govind Ghat, 219 kms from Kedarnath and 24 kms from Badrinath. There are two temples - one for Lord Yogabadri Narayan and the other for Lord Vasudev. During winter, Lord Vasudev temple will function as the abode for Lord Badri Narayan and all the daily rituals connected with worship are performed here. Both the temples are quite old. The temple remains closed from October to April due to severe winter conditions. During this period the idols of Utsavo murti are taken to Pandukeshwar.

Tapovan

In contract to the annoying hustle and bustle of city life of Joshimath, Tapovan is a peaceful place known for its hot springs which are belived to possess miraculous healing powers. Tapovan is 15 kms. from Joshimath. A 3 kms. trek from here leads to Bhavishya Badri, one of the five Badris.

Gwaldham

About 3 Kms from Baijnath, the main highways goes to Bageshwar and a side road branches off to Gwaldam. This is a delightful route as besides the presence of birds, adding a winsome note, one passes through terraced fields and thick pines set against a backdrop of the Himalayas, and one can watch the Trishul peaks coming even closer. Gwaldam with its salubrious climate is a little heaven nestling in the woods. In this area, upto Talwari , there are several orchards generally of apple. From Gwaldam, the road winds its way through dense forests and terraced fields dotted with rustic cottages of small towns known as Tharali and Narain Bagar to meet the Ranikhet-Pandukhal road at a place called Simli, which is 8 Km short of Karnaprayag. Gwaldam is 149 Km from Nanital and 22 km from Baijnath.

Kagbhusandi Lake

This is a small oblong lake with emerald green water. It is at an altitude of 5230 m near Kankul Pass(5230 m), and is almost a kilometer in length. Myriad blossoms decorate its banks during the season, a wildest profusion of colours make the trekker forget the hardships and the exhaustion of the trek. Set in the lap of Hathi Parvat (6730 mts.), the lake can be approached either from Bhiundhar village, near Ghangria, or from Vishnu Prayag. The trek from the former is a little easier in gradient, but is longer. The trek from Bhiundhar passes through thick bear-infested, forests and stretches of stinging nettles. The only shelters here are the shepherd huts. This trek also involves walking long distances across glacial moraines and over slippery rocks. Two huge rocks on a spur of Hathi Parvat are described as a crow(Kaga) and an Eagle (Garuda). The locals believe that the crow is animatedly conversing with Garuda on the affairs of the universe. Another version has it that a learned Brahmin of Ayodhya once incurred the wrath of the sage Lomas who lived here and was changed into the form of crow by the sage.

Nandadevi Sanctuary

The Sanctuary has been converted to a National Park and temporarily closed for visitors on environmental considerations. It has an average altitude exceeding 4500 m and is surrounded by as many as seventy ofty peaks, the Nandadevi (7817 m) being the highest. It is in the form of cup with lush green meadows, chuting white waterfalls, and rich wild flora and fauna. Sir Edmund Hillary described the Sanctuary as a god-gifted wilderness - India's training ground for adventure - and truly so. Eric Shipton wrote, amongst many superlatives for the Sanctuary, "All around us was mountain architecture more magnificent even than the great southern battlements of Everest ". Joshimath is the base for collection of stores, provisions, porters, guides etc. One route approaches the Sanctuary from Lata, on the Joshimath-Malari Route. One trek from there to Lata Kharak, an open, wild and grassy hilltop, providing a fabulous mountainscape all around.

The Lata Kharak

Dharansi Pass appears to be a long trek with many ascents and descents yet everything is forgotten when Nandadevi comes into view on crossing the pass. The trek follows a ridge traversing rocky surface till Malatuni Pass, where the other trek route from Rini (near Lata) following the Rishi Ganga river generally, via Kalikuna and Chinwari, meets. It is continuous descent of about 800 metres through alpine grassland thereafter, before Rishi Ganga is crossed at Deodi, wherefrom Trishul - Base camp trek via Bethartoli and Tridang bifurcates. Debrugheta meadow with its floral designs and the grandstand view of peaks around it is exhilarating. The Deodi - Ramni trek passes through dense forests of Junipers and Varieties of Rhododendrons. The Sanctuary opens up there.

Hemkund Sahib

Hemkund ( Lake of gold), is situated nearly 29 kms from Joshimath via Govindghat, is set in one of the famous beauty spots of the central Himalayas and has a lake of crystal clear water located in beautiful surrounding. The glaciers from Hathi Parvat and Sapt shring peaks feed the lake and a small stream called Himganga flows out of the lakes. It is believed that Guru Govind Singh , the 10th Guru of the Sikh faith had meditated on the bank of this lake in one of his earlier births, as alluded to in the holly Granth sahib. There is a Sikh Gurudwara and a Lakshman Temple build on the bank of the lake. It is believed Lakshmana was brought here after he fell unconscious in the war with Ravana.

Kuari Pass

"Standing at the Kuari Pass facing north, the vision sweeps from the gorges of Trishul in the east to the peaks of Kedarnath in the west - the Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Kamet, Gauri Parbat, Hathi Parbat, Nandadevi, Bethartoli, Dunagiri - all arranged in a stupendous arc ... Southwards the foothills stretch wave upon wave on to the dim haze of the distant plains". Lord Curzon went upto the Kuari Pass in 1905. So the trek is called Curzon Road. One can approach the Pass from Tapovan via Khulara, or Joshimath via Auli, Gorson, Chitrakantha; or Joshimath via Mrig, Tugasi, Khulara. All the above three treks meet at Gailgarh, only 5 kms. north of Kuari Khal (Pass). From the south the Pass can be reached from Ghat via Ramni but is longer than the other three, of which the Tapovan route is the shortest (21 kms.). Auli and Gorson Bugyals are charming meadows and the nature - lovers prefer to use this route for outward trek and return by Tapovan route. The Ghat route is favourite with trekkers. The entire area is rich in exotic flora and fauna besides primitive jungles with associated hazards. The beautiful range of Delisera is only a day's trek from the Kuari Pass. It presents a spectacular sight. On the far side of it is the Nandadevi Sanctuary. Snow on the range is visible till about August when it melts entirely and await the next winter.

Rudranath Temple

It is one of the panch Kedars. The face of Lord Shiva is worshipped at Rudranath temple in a natural rock temple as Neelkantha Mahadeva. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Neelkantha. The temple is situated amid thick forest at a height 2286 m. From Gopeshwar 4 kms motorable road is available upto village Sagar from where 20 kms. trek leads to Rudranath and can be approached from Joshimath as well, by trekking about 45 kms. The temple provides magnificent view of Hathi Parvat , Nandadevi, NandaGhunti, Trishuli and many other. There are numbers of holy Kunds (Tanks) near Rudranath temple namely Suryakund, Chandrakund, Tarakund etc. The Baitarini, the divine river flows pass behind the temple.