Milam Glacier & Nanda Devi (East) Base Camp Trek
The combination trek of Milam Glacier & Nanda Devi (East) Base Camp is an ultimate offbeat trekking trail that would keep you thoroughly captivated by the scintillating vistas of the high Himalaya. The 28 kms, Milam glacier, is the longest glacier of the Kumaon Himalayas, has its origins from the slopes of Kohli and the Trishul peaks and is situated near the Milam Village, one of the highest Himalayan village. This exquisitely scenic trek meanders though narrow trails of rocks & moraines, gargling whitish waters of the Gori Ganga and the gusty Milam river, miles-upon-miles of lush alpine meadows, sleepy villages, countless high Himalayan snow-covered peaks in the backdrop of a deep blue sky.
The inhabitants of the Milam Valley - popularly known as the Johar valley - are Rajputs, and were mainly traders whose horse & yak-laden caravans used to enter Tibet from India through the high Himalayan passes. They used to be based out of Martoli and other scattered villages, which now, sadly bears a deserted look. After the Indo-China conflict in 1962, the flourishing trade dwindled as commerce was halted and the prosperous villages were gradually abandoned. But this exciting trail stayed back, linking the high Himalayan villages, enabling enthusiastic trekkers get a glimpse of the bye-gone past, which as if stood still in its pristine best. The awe inspiring views of the twin peaks of Nanda Devi as one reaches the the Nanda Devi (East) Base Camp, is seen to be believed.
Kathgodam – VijaypurArrive at Kathgodam at 6 am (by boarding the overnight train from Old Delhi Railway Station that departs at 10.40 pm). Our representative would receive and transfers you to our waiting vehicle. Feel the Himalayan breeze brushing across you face as we drive through Bhimtal, Bhowali, Bajnath and finally reaching Vijaypur in approximately 6 hours. Make yourself comfortable at our eco-resort set within a lush Pine forest amidst chirping birds all around. If you are lucky, get the first glimpse of the Panchachuli peaks as you soak yourself in the serene environment of our resort. As dusk set in, a campfire ignite your spirits as you contemplate your trek ahead.
Vijaypur – MunsiyariAfter a hearty breakfast, we start off towards Munsiyari. We drive through a forested road and soon pass by Chakori from where you get to see the shining Panchachuli peaks in crystal clear visibility. Thereafter, we continue till we stop by at Birthi for a quick tea break and if you are interested, take a short hike for a closer view of the Birthi Falls. There-on, as we start scaling up the Himalayan high road and the landscape too drastically changes from lush green to a barren landscape as we approach Kala Muni at a height of 2748 meters. Paying our obeisance at the Kali Temple at Kala Muni Top, we descend into the yawning Munsiyari Valley. We check into our resort as our eyes get automatically glued into the panoramic view of the Panchachuli and countless other peaks in the most glorious settings. (2290 Meters /7557 Feet)
Munsiyari – Darkot – LilamAfter a good night's rest we move out post our breakfast approaching Darkot, a drive of 15 kms. It is from from Darkot our trek starts. Slowly, we stretch our legs and start the downhill trail till we reach the milky Gori Ganga at Jimighat, thereafter it is a gradual climb through a lush forest till we reach the cute little village of Lilam. (1850 Meter / 6105 Feet) (15 kms Jeep, 5 km trek)
Lilam – BugdyarWe start off early after a quick breakfast. We follow the Gori Ganga river for about 3 kms to reach a gorge and up ahead witness the majestic confluence of the Ralam river and the Gori Ganga. Continuing a little ahead we are awed by the sight of the gusty Milam River falling into the Gori Ganga amidst of raging rapids. Continuing on our trail we cross over a bridge across the Milam river and gradually ascend across the narrow Milam gorge. Thereafter, we walk past a thick alpine forest of chestnuts, conifer and bamboos that opens up at Bugdyar. From now on it is miles-upon-miles of alpine meadows. As we approach, Bugdyar, we are greeted by tingling of bells and whistles - the shepherds with their flock of sheep in their hundreds. It truly is a treat to our eyes. On reaching Bugdyar, we soon set up our camp settle down in the most idyllic settings. (2350 Meters) ( Trek - 14 kms)
Bugdyar - MartoliWe wake up early in the mesmerizing settings and start off following a slightly uphill trail. We continue following the narrow valley path and trek ahead. Soon we pass by Mapang beyond which we could witness the vegetation gradually changing and making way for shrubs amidst a desolated rocky landscape. The narrow gorge gradually opens up to a broad river valley as we are hit by gusty winds. This scenic trail passes through many gorges and meadows leading to the deserted settlement of Railkot and stop a while for a quick bite. Thereafter the trek continues till we reach the ancient Martoli village that lay in a deserted state with only a few settlements situated at the edge of Lwan Gad Valley. It was this very Martoli, that used to be a hustle-bustle settlement before the 1962 Indo-China conflict. We witness many an abandoned homes scattered across in dilapidated state, reminiscences of a bye-gone era. Soon, we reach by the deserted settlement of Rialkot where we have a quick bite.
Martoli – MilamWe start to descend and cross over a bridge over the Lwan Gad and trekkeing further we cross another bridge over the Gori Ganga. Excitement builds up since today we'll reach the Milam Village. Continuing at a leisurely pace another short climb leads us to the Burphu village where the valley opens up and we are awed at the panoramic views of many high Himalayan peaks but the views of the twin peaks of Nanda Devi is special. Trekkeing a bit further we finally set out foot into the Milam Village and relax in the awesome setting of our campsite.
Milam Village – Milam Glacier – Milam VillageToday is the ultimate day of our trek as we make our way to the Milam Glacier (3872 meters) a short trek of about 4 kms. We are thoroughly captivated by the awesome views all around and could also witness how as a small trickling stream the Milam river originates from the base of the glacier. The clear views Rishi Parvat (6692 M), Hardeol (7151 M) and Trishuli I (7074 M) keeps us spellbound. We are thrilled, excited and elated as we spend a couple of hours in this prestine Himalayan heaven. Thereafter, we reluctantly head back to Milam Village and simply laze around.
Milam Village – PagchuPost breakfast we start moving and by afternoon we reach Pagchu where we set up camp and settle down.
Pagchu – Nanda Devi Base CampWinding up our camp and having a warm breakfast, we start off our trek to the base camp of Nanda Devi. The trail is full of spectacular sights as we pass numerous moraine fields and the lush meadows of Sartol Kharak (3650M) and Naspanpatti (3850 M). Reaching the base camp we soon set up camp and soak ourselves thoroughly in these heavenly settings.
Nanda Devi Base Camp – Nanda Devi Zero Point – MartoliWe set off early morning from our camp to view the Nanda Devi East from closer range. We are dazed at the sight in front of our eyes, the peak dazzles out as the sun kisses the peak. We are simply speechless and try connecting ourselves to the higher self and pray to the holy Nanda Devi Mother for her divine blessings. Tears roll down as we feel elated at the achievement of us making a successful trek to Nanda Devi realizing that few fortunate souls are lucky enough to see her grandeur from such close quarters. After spending some time there was slowly make our way back to the base camp and after a quick pack-up, we trek back to Martoli.
Martoli – BugdyarAfter breakfast, we move out making our way back to Bugdyar via Rialkot.
Bugdyar- Lilam – Darkot – MunsiyariWe start off early making our way to Lilam and then to Darkot, from where we had started this heavenly trek, promising ourselves to be back again. Soon we board our waiting jeep and reach back to our resort at Munsiyari by late afternoon.
Munsiyari – Birthi – Patal Bhubaneshwari – JhaltolaWe bid farewell to Munsiyari and drive to Jhaltola via Birthi and Chokouri. En-route, we also visit the Patal Bhubaneshwar caves and amazed to witness the stalagmites formation divine proportion. Thereafter, we drive further ahead and reach Jhaltola and chek ourselves in to Misty Mountain resort.
Jhaltola – Almora – KathgodamToday being our last day, we reluctantly bid adieu and drive back to Kathgodam. En-route, we have the option of exploring Almora for a while and reach back Kathgodam later afternoon for our night train to New Delhi.