Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India, It is the 23rd-highest peak in the world. It was also the highest mountain in India before 1971 when Sikkim, the state in which Kangchenjunga is located, joined the Republic of India. This mountain is part of the Garhwal Himalayas, and is located in the state of Uttarakhand, between the Rishiganga valley on the west and the Goriganga valley on the east. The surrounding Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Nanda Devi is a two-peaked massif, forming a 2-kilometre-long (1.2 mi) high ridge, oriented east-west.
- 1934: First entry into the inner Sanctuary by Eric Shipton and H. W. Tilman
- 1936: The first ascent of Nanda Devi by Odell and Tilman.
- 1939: First ascent of Sunanda Devi by Klarner, Bujak.
- 1951: Attempted traverse and death of Duplat and Vignes. Second ascent of Sunanda Devi.
- 1957: First Indian attempt on Nanda Devi led by Major Nandu Jayal.
- 1964: Second ascent of Nanda Devi by Indian team led by N. Kumar. Nawang Gombu, first man to climb Everest twice, climbs main peak in between his Everest climbs.
- 196?: Covert ascent by Indo-American expedition?
- 1975: A 13-member Indo-French expedition led by Y. Pollet-Villard including Coudray, Renault, Sandhu, and Chand
ascend the western peak. Pollet-Villard, Cecchinel and Lhatoo climb eastern peak but do not complete traverse.
- 1976: Fifth successful ascent by 13-member Indo-American expedition. Three members (John Roskelley, Jim States, Lou Reichardt) reach summit despite extremely adverse conditions. Nanda Devi Unsoeld died from acute mountain sickness.
- 1976: A 21-member Indo-Japanese team approaches the south ridges of main peak and eastern peak simultaneously, and achieves the first traverse, going from Sunanda Devi to the main summit.
- 1980: An Indian Army expedition by the Corps of Engineers led by Jai Bahuguna unsuccessfully attempts the peak driven back by bad weather from 7600m.
- 1981: An Indian Army expedition by the Parachute Regiment attempts both main and eastern peaks simultaneously but has the highest ever number of casualties on the mountain.
- 1981: A second Indian-led expedition places women climbers on the peak.
- 1993: Indian Army team from the Corps of Engineers, led by V. K. Bhatt, succeeds in placing five summiteers on top, including Amin Naik, Anand Swaroop and. G. K. Sharma.
- 1995: International Army Expedition (HIMEX): India, Great Britain, Australia, United States, Nepal all took part in a climb to assess the mountain 13 years after its closure. The route was going to be the Polish route that went to Longstaff Col, over the eastern summit to the western and return. After the eastern summit the American Special Forces climber Jakob Nommensen fell to his death and disappeared in the Sanctuary; he has never been recovered. Two weeks prior to this even 1 Polish expedition turned back after losing their expedition leader while climbing the head-wall to the eastern summit.
- 2001 : Indian Army Garhwal Rifles Expedition was undertaken in the post-monsoon season in Aug–Sep. Led by Col. Ajay Kothiyal with Samrat Sengupta as deputy leader, the expedition achieved success when two teams reached the summit on 26 & 27 Sep 2001 and placed eight members atop the Nanda Devi. The expedition also undertook the noble task of bringing back the garbage left by previous expeditions.
- 2007: An Indian Army expedition led by Major Shyamal Sinha of the Kumaon Regiment Centre, Ranikhet attempted to scale the eastern summit and clean up the trekking route by collecting the garbage, but Sinha and four other climbers went missing in bad weather after reporting on 26 September 2007 that they were going down to a lower camp. Sinha was a Kargil war hero who had won the Vir Chakra.
How to Reach Nanda Devi National Park
The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport to the Nanda Devi National Park, at a distance of about 295 km from the national park. There are regular flights that connect Dehradun to Delhi that makes it easier to reach the Nanda Devi by air.
The nearest railway station to Nanda Devi National Park is at Rishikesh, at a distance of 276 km. This is the only rail route to reach the Nanda Devi National Park.
There are metalled roads that connect Joshimath to other Uttrakhand towns such as Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar. To reach Nanda Devi National Park by road, one has to trek from Joshimath.