UTTARAKHAND, INDIA, August 19, 2014 (The Hindu): After being delayed by a year due to the June 2013 deluge, the 20-day Nanda Devi Raj Jat yatra, also called the Himalayan Kumbh, began amid religious customs and traditions from Nauti village in Chamoli district, on Monday. The yatra, which is dedicated to the Nanda Devi -- the reigning Deity of Uttarakhand -- takes place once in 12 years, and involves a 175-mile trek. About 62 miles of the trek passes through difficult terrain.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said: "A 62-mile trek can only be undertaken by medically fit persons." Mr. Rawat said the trek included swamps, mountain treks and many slippery zones. "We will use logs for swamps and sandbags for slippery zones. We have engaged rock-climbing experts for certain areas where the pilgrims will have to cross mountains," he said.
Nauti village is at an altitude of 4,000 ft. above sea level, and the yatra progresses till over 13,000 ft. above sea level. People from the State's Kumaon and Garhwal region join the yatra at different points. Thousands of people participated in the yatra which progressed from Nauti to Idaabdhaani -- first of the 19 stops of the yatra -- on Monday.