History of Nanda Kailash

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The name “Nanda Kailash” derives from “Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra”. The yatra starts from Nauti Village in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand and takes three weeks to reach its destination at the Kailash mountains. The yatra is normally undertaken once every 12 years subject to the birth of and led by “CHAUSINGHA KHADDU”, the four-horned ram of the sheep family, with the respective region..

The four-horned ram is born white at times even though its parents are always normal. The birth of a four-horned ram is certainly the result of genetic variations, which though takes place once in a million sheep and is the rarest of the rare but getting born in a particular region once in 12 years is certainly interesting and a case study in faunal genetics.

Nanda Devi is the chief patronizing Goddess of Uttarakhand, and several shrines are devoted to her all across the central Himalayas. Nanda Devi Fair is one of the most popular festivals in Uttarakhand and attracts people from near and far-flung areas. Nanda Devi Raj Jat or Himalayan MAHAKUMBH is a festival in Uttarakhand in which Goddess Nanda Devi (also known as GAURA and Raj Rajeshwari in Garhwal division) is worshipped. Devotees from both GARHWAL and KUMAON regions of the state of Uttarakhand along with other parts of the country participate in the sacred yatra. Goddess Nanda Devi is believed to be the consort of Lord Shiva and the daughter of the ruler of Mountains.

The sacred yatra begins from Nauti Village in KARANPRAYAG of Chamoli district and ends in ROOPKUND, where hundreds of skeletons can be seen. The yatra starts once the ‘Kunwar’ of Village Kansua inaugurates it with rituals. The three weeks of journey are fully packed with exposure to Uttarakhand’s culture, lifestyle, flora & fauna. The folks say that Goddess Nanda Devi left her village and went to Nanda Devi Parbat. Thus, heavy rain occurs when the yatra starts, as if the Goddess is crying.

This festival is also known as the “HIMALAYAN MAHAKUMBH”. During this yatra, all sections of the society take part - Dalits play drums, Thakurs blow BHANKAURAS, and Brahmins take care of ceremonial parasols.