Mukesh Khugsal photographs the epic journey that is the Nanda Devi pilgrimage

Over the years, The Nanda Devi Yatra has become an inseparable part of the socio-cultural spectrum of the Uttarakhand region. It is a festival that spans three week to celebrate the goddess Nanda devi, a popular diety in the Kumaon and Garhwal region. According to legend, Nanda is married to Shiva and resides on top of the Trishul, one of the most sacrosanct peaks of Garhwal. The yatra is to commemorate her departure to her husband’s home and is performed every 12 years from the village of Nauti, to Homkund, the final destination.

Every 12 years in Chamoli, after royal priests’ descendants and the Kunwar royal family make elaborate preparations in the village of Nauti and in Kansuwar respectively, people set out on this monumental pilgrimage that spans 280 kilometers and takes almost 20 days to complete.

Legend has it that Nanda, the consort of Shiva, left her village to be with her husband, when the pilgrimage starts, it often rains hard. That is symbolism for Nanda crying at leaving her home, she then makes way through many villages and halts in between at Bhagwati to meet her sister.

Mukesh Khugsal photographs this epic journey.

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