Nelong Valley

a comprehensive guide

Overview

All along these pathways, where the land and skies have a scent of solitude and peace. How blissful it must be to come across such hidden treasures of Nature, on the journey as a traveler. 

At Nelong Valley, which is known as the cold desert of Uttarakhand, one can experience a peaceful experience at this untouched land.

The fact that the geography of Nelong Valley resembles the regions like Tibet, Ladakh, and Spiti Valley. The major reason behind the untouched serenity of Nelong Valley is the fact that the entire region had been shut for tourists since the 1962 India-China War. Since this region has recently been opened for tourists in 2015, wanderers and travelers from all over this country have been keen on discovering the Cold Desert of Uttarakhand.

As you know that the Nelong valley is enclosed within the wilderness of the Gangotri National Park. If you are lucky enough, you might just spot the Ghost Cat (Snow Leopard), Himalayan Blue Sheep, Musk Deer, and numerous other creatures of nature. The mesmerizing scenic view from the Nelong valley is a sight like no other, where one gets to witness a 360degree view of the Tibetan Plateau. Where you can spot some mind-blowing remains of the infrastructural heritage of this region like the Lal Devta Temple & Garstang Galion. Along with an old wooden bridge that was once used as a trade route before the India-China War in 1962. This region has no documentation about the cultural and historical artifacts of a lost era. When you visit the Nelong valley, make sure to try and discover the essence of this place, simply by interacting with the locals of this region. 

After the war of 1962,’ this region has been out of the traveler’s reach and there is no business in this land, the locals of this region were evacuated and settled in the regions of Harsil-Bagori and Dunga. Such is the fate of these isolated villages that lose their cultural and historical heritage, simply because of the tension between countries on these borders. This is a call for wanderers and travelers, who are not just traveling for the heck of it. 

But there is some purpose behind your journey, make sure to add an extra purpose of preserving the diversity of Nelong valley.

Key Highlights of Nelong Valley

  • A journey towards the cold and the lost Deseret of Uttarakhand is enclosed within such treacherous roads. 
  • Making the Nelong valley a major attraction for travelers who like the thrill of biking on such mesmerizing yet dangerous roads.
  • Travelers who are interested in discovering the heritage and the cultural beauty of the Nelong Valley. You might just get shocked by the ancient forts and temples that are on the verge of losing their essence. 
  • As a traveler, if you seek isolation and peace, you have come to the right place because this untouched land reeks of isolation from every corner. 
  • Nelong valley is a delightful treat for photographers who are influenced by Nature and Wildlife, as the diversity of Flora and Fauna within this region will blow your mind.
  • On your journey make sure to visit the Bhairav Temple, before you move forwards and towards one of the most adventurous roads from Bhairon Ghati to the Nelong Valley,
  • Make sure to visit the Wooden Bridge, also known as Gartangali. A major trade route used by the Indo-Tibet traders, as once this bridge was filled with horse-mules and yaks carrying goods. 
  • An interesting fact that one should know is that the Indian Army was using this bridge and was still in use for nearly a decade after the India-China War.
  • Make sure to visit Memorial point, where one gets to witness the tales of days gone by. When three soldiers in search of water reached here and the glacier collapsed over them. 
  • To date, many soldiers pay their respect by keeping water-filled bottles on their memorial, as a token of respect.
  • As a traveler if it is the thrilling adventure hiking you are looking for. Make sure to take a hike towards the Janak Taal, situated in the Jadung Gaon. A sight like no other where the shimmering clear skies reflect their scenic beauty on the lake. 
  • As the Nelong Valley comes within the region of Gangotri National Park. One can witness true wilderness in the form of Black Bears, Musk Deer, Snow leopards, and even a rare sighting of a Lynx Cat. 
  • One can experience the scenic beauty of Harsil Valley, situated just a few km before the Bhairav Ghati. 
  • You can taste the delicious homegrown Apples from the Orchards in the Harsil Valley.
  • The adventure seekers can hike till the Gangotri Dham, where one can witness the divinity of the riverside Temple of Goddess Ganga.
  • Make sure to wash away all your tiredness and rush, within the hot springs situated in a scenic village known as Gangnani.

Itinerary for
Nelong Valley

As you know that The Nelong Valley is enclosed within such vast diversity of Nature and Wilderness. Along with being surrounded by some of the most isolated and remote villages of Northern India. Hence, there can be multiple itineraries made for the Nelong Valley. Firstly, because there are a few ways you can take to reach the Nelong valley. Secondly, there are numerous things and places one can go around the Nelong Valley.

Following is one of the most basic and decent itineraries you will find on the Nelong Valley.

Day 01: DELHI – DEHRADUN (275kms) – UTTARKASHI (144kms)

  • Your journey begins from Delhi, where you board your trains or busses. 
  • After covering over 150kms, you reach Dehradun. 
  • Upon reaching Dehradun, refresh yourself with some food and beverages.
  • It is time to hop on to your buses taking you towards Uttarkashi. 
  • Once you reach Uttarkashi, it is time for you to relax and explore the beauty of this town. 
  • Overnight in Uttarkashi.

Day 02: UTTARKASHI – HARSIL (80kms)

  • Wake up with the rising sun. 
  • While having breakfast, enjoy the mesmerizing scenic beauty of Uttarkashi during sunrise. 
  • Today we move forward with our journey and after a drive for another 4-5hours, we reach Harsil.
  • Harsil, situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi river and within the lap of the Himalayas. 
  • At Harsil, one can get lost within the divinity of Temples or set themselves free within the thrill of trekking to Sattal.
  • Overnight at Harsil, but before you go to bed make sure to explore this beautiful land. 
  • You can either book a homestay or pitch up tents here.

Day 03: HARSIL – NELONG VALLEY (43kms) – HARSIL

  • Rise and Shine people. 
  • Wake up early and witness one of the most beautiful and enchanting sunrises of your life.
  • As today we move forwards with our journey towards the Nelong Valley.
  • Leaving early would give you ample time to explore the region.
  • After driving for 1-2hours, you reach the Nelong valley.
  • A place so untouched and pure, that every corner of this region seems fresh and sends a blissful shiver down your spine. 
  • As the Nelong Valley comes within the Gangotri National Park, it is prohibited to spend the night here. 
  • You will head back to Harsil, where you get an opportunity to witness the mystical beauty of the Harshil – Valley of Dreams.

Day 04: HARSIL – GANGOTRI (27kms)

  • Rise and Shine, time for tea and breakfast.
  • After breakfast and tea, we head towards Gangotri.
  • The drive will take you nearly a few hours, one can also trek from Harsil to Gangotri.
  • Once you reach Gangotri, you can relax for a while.
  • It is time we take a stroll towards the Gangotri Dham.
  • One can satisfy the adventurous within by trekking to Gaumukh.
  • Overnight at Gangotri.
  • A note for travelers, you have two options where one takes you back home and the other one takes you to the spellbinding wilderness and serenity of Vasu Ki Tal.

Day 05: GANGOTRI – NELONG VALLEY (34kms) – UTTARKASHI (117kms)

  • Wake up with the rising sun. 
  • As of today, before heading back to Uttarkashi. Visit the Nelong valley and set yourself free within the captivating scenic beauty of this region.
  • As you cannot stay the night here, but you can still visit again you know. 
  • Explore the Traditional and Cultural beauty of this valley.
  • It is time we head back towards Uttarkashi.
  • After a long drive, relax in your rooms while you are served some delicious food. 
  • Overnight in Uttarkashi.

Day 06: UTTARKASHI – DEHRADUN – DELHI

  • Wake up peacefully and enjoy the few hours you have before heading back.
  • Hop on to your vehicles, which will take you to Dehradun.
  • Once you reach Dehradun, your Bus/Train is waiting for you to hop on. 
  • As your journey ends here and you head back home.

As mentioned above, there can be different itineraries made for Nelong Valley. You can plan according to how you want your journey to be like.

Well, a little extra information has never hurt anybody. Make sure to read our blog on how you can extend your trip from Dehradun to Sankr and from there hike to the enchanting dreamland of Kedarkantha.

Best Time to Visit Nelong Valley

Nelong valley, which is known as the cold desert of Uttarakhand has been a home for travelers in search of the remote and isolated places within Northern India.

The weather in this region with the arrival of summers reaches a maximum of 25degrees. During this time of the year, the snow starts to melt, and the pleasant and charming vibes of this region shine on the Rocky Mountains and the mystical blue skies. 

With the arrival of monsoons, the rains take over and the chances of landslides increase drastically. As the already dangerous roads can turn out to be life-threatening during this time of the year. Just when the rains stop and the mists of wonder are disappearing, one can experience the enchanting scenic beauty of Nelong Valley. As this time of the year when the winter has not arrived, but one can feel the freshness and chilliness in the air. 

With the arrival of peak winters, the snow takes over the cold desert of Nelong Valley. Due to which the roads remain closed and prevent trekkers or travelers from reaching the Glacier. 

Hence, the Best time to visit Nelong Valley would be Summers, during April, May, and June. Not to forget the time frame in between the post-monsoons and – pre-winters, as September and October only add on to the mystical scenic beauty of Nelong Valley.

Preparations & Guidelines for Your Journey To Nelong Valley

As we all know that Nature is something that can never stop to surprise and amaze every traveler. Along with how blissful and beautiful nature is, it can also be pretty devastating at times. This uncertainty of nature brings us to always be prepared mentally and physically. 

As we all know that Nelong Valley has very recently started inviting tourists and that too only from this country. 

Making it particularly important for every traveler to get the permits and make sure they are legit. Before visiting Nelong Valley, you need to know that it is not just the permits but also a few guidelines that one must keep in mind. 

Like there is a certain radius of 20 – 25kms, after which it is prohibited to go ahead. Another important fact is that every foreign national is strictly prohibited from entering this region.

Along with every other detail, make sure to create a note of everything you might require on this journey. And getting yourself a full body checkup should be the first on that list.

We hope you have kept a check on your trekking gear as well, including a proper medical kit for any kind of emergency. 

As the Nelong Valley has some strict guidelines for travelers and tourists, make sure to always carry your Identification documents like Aadhar Card & Passport. Along with your ID, make sure to have a few copies of your permit to visit the Nelong Valley. One can get a permit online as well if you want to avoid the hassle of visiting one Govt. office to another. 

Another especially important note to fellow travelers, as there are no shops or places to eat in the Nelong valley. Make sure to carry a lot of Chocolates, Dry Fruits and Nutrition Bars, etc. 

Most important of all, make sure to prepare your mind to remain awestruck by the enchanting and serene beauty of the Nelong Valley.

Why Nelong Valley Should Be on Everyone’s Bucket List

This magical valley of the only cold desert with the land of Uttarakhand has so much diversity when it comes to Nature, Culture, Tradition, and History. 

Just because the Nelong Valley has been closed for travelers and all outsiders, there is no one to protect the fading heritage and Cultural values. 

Since the time this region has opened for travelers, it is only us who can preserve the treasures of Nelong valley at least within our minds.

Last but not the least, a humble request from our team.Make sure to clean up after yourself and your garbage, to keep the place clean and maintain its sanctity.