Nelong Valley: The Divine Rock Desert of Uttarakhand

Located at 11,600 feet, the Nelong valley in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand is a destination that leaves one with a cock-a-hoop experience. Nelong valley is a perfect destination for green panthers as well as adventure seekers.

The valley is located near the India-China border which has been closed for civilians after the 1962 war till 2015 when the government announced its reopening for the tourists.

The Nelong Valley , a part of the Gangotri National Park , is a rocky as well as cold desert. Going back to the history, Nelong Valley served as an essential trade route between Tibet and India, before Tibet was occupied by China.

This is the reason why the terrains of both Nelong Valley & Tibet are very similar. It is one of the most beautiful destinations with rich flora as well as fauna such as Himalayan Blue Sheep, Snow leopard, and Musk Deer. It also provides visitors, a beautiful view of the Tibetan Plateau.

History of Nelong Valley

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Original inhabitants of this are the people of Bhotiya Tribe. There were traders of blankets, carpets, woolens which were usually weaved by women in the family.

They also traded on some food items like tea, tobacco, rice, coffee, etc.

Historical evidence also suggests trade of metals, agricultural equipment as well as medicine. 

A barter system was popular at that time and the exchange of such goods used to take place at a big market known as the Bada Haat. That’s how the local economy survived in those times. 

The prints of the old trade route which includes a wooden bridge close to the famous Lal Devta of the valley is still intact.

This Lal Devta temple had an important significance in this trade route, the travelers used to offer prayers here for a safe journey.

How To Reach Nelong Valley?

  • By Road: The valley is well connected to popular cities of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Rishikesh & Haridwar.
  • By Train: Rishikesh is the nearest railway station to this place.
  • By Air: Jolly Grant airport near Dehradun is the closest.

Interesting Facts About Nelong Valley

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  • Nelong Valley is similar to that of the famous Himalayan deserts of Lahaul-Spiti and Ladakh.
  • There is a wooden bridge at the valley which was used for trade between the countries.
  • Also, a lake that has been recently formed in Nelong valley which is closer to the China border.
  • There is also a temple of Lal Baba which has huge stone manuscripts.

Other Popular Places To Visit Near Nelong Valley:

  1. Viswanath Temple 
  2. Dodital Lake
  3. Nachiketa Lake
  4. Har Ki Doon
  5. Gaumukh
  6. Nehru Institute Of Mountaineering
  7. Kedar Tal
  8. Jalmanga Shivling
  9. Harsil
  10. Maneri Dam
  11. Kandar Devta Mandir
  12. Joshiyara
  13. Dayara Bugyal
  14. Kuteti Devi Temple
  15. Shakti Temple
  16. Gangotri
  17. Yamunotri

Important Things To Note While Visiting Nelong Valley:

As per the State Forest Department Guidelines:

  • There is a restriction on personal vehicles.
  • The department allows only 6 Forest Department Vehicles, carrying four people each.
  • The visit to Nelong valley is open for Indian tourists only.

It’s not going to be easy , but it’s going to be Totally worth it 

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Nelong Valley is a restricted area as it is located on the borders. The entry for tourists is only up to 25 kilometers inside the restricted area. There are army officials at the border who check the permit to tourists to visit Nelong Valley.

And as they say , Good things don’t come easy – The permit process is a little complicated one and takes around two or three days. After reaching Uttarakhand and arranging yourself in a hotel or resort you can begin the process of applying for permission to visit Nelong valley. 

A step by step process to apply for the permit to visit Nelong Valley is given below:

Step 1

First of all, you have to write an application in Hindi to the District Magistrate. The Districts Magistrate’s office is located in Bhatwari. The application should contain details like the reason why you want to visit Nelong valley, the number, and the names of people who are visiting.

The application must be attached with a photocopy of everyone’s ID proofs. And also don’t forget to take three photocopies of the application along with ID proofs.

Step 2

The District Magistrate will give you a letter after signing your original set of the application with ID proofs and keeps one set of copies with him.

Step 3

Now, the next step is to submit another set of your application with ID proofs and get the original copy signed at the main office in the Forest office in Kotbanga, which is two kilometers uphill from Uttarkashi. The office gives you a letter of approval.

Step 4

Now go to the District Thana right behind the famous Vishwanath Temple of Uttarkashi. Submit another set of your application with ID to the Local Intelligence Unit there.

The officers there might ask you a set of questions relating to your occupation, personal information, etc. After the officer signs the original copy, you will be given a letter of approval.

Step 5

Finally, go back to the District Magistrate’s office which is a ten-minute walk from the Local Intelligence Unit. Submit all the letters along with original copy containing signs to PA of District Magistrate. He prepares a brown paper and gives you after the SDM signs it. 

At last, you have your permission.

Stay at Nelong Valley

You can choose to stay either at Gangotri which is five hours from Uttarkashi or Harsil which is four hours from Uttarkashi.

Best Time To Visit Nelong Valley:

The best time to visit Nelong Valley is between the months of May and November.

Therefore, why delay?. Pack your bags, an adventurous trip is waiting for you.

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A write up by Abhishek Saraswat

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Don’t miss out reading about some amazingly awesome Treks in India :

Amazing High Altitude Lake Treks In India

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Namaste & Take Care till our next post.

( Just Google : Inside Out with Rahul Yuvi )

Image Credit : euttaranchal[dot]com

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