Nanda Devi is one of the main deities of Uttarakhand region. Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra takes place in honor of the great Nanda Devi. Though Nanda Devi is worshipped in various regions of Uttarakhand, the region around Mt. Nanda Devi and its sanctuary which lie in Pithoragarh district, Chamoli district and Almora district are the key areas related to Nanda Devi.
Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra also popular as Himalayan Mahakumbh is a grand yatra which goes on for weeks. In this yatra devotee of Garhwal and Kumaon region of the Uttarakhand state and people from various parts of India in large number take part.
When & Where Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra is celebrated ?
Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra is organized once in 12 years in Chamoli region. The Jaat or pilgrimage begins from Nauti Village in Karanprayag and ends in Roopkund. The pious yatra involves 280 km trek. One of the antique features of the yatra is the four horned ram or Chausinghya Khadu that leads the yatra. The ram is adorned in colorful shawl, bangles and ribbons. Devotees walk alongside a palanquin which is beautifully decorated carrying the statue of the holy deity Nanda Devi. Chantollis are also carried by pilgrims. There are 19 halting places during the yatra. Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra is one of the toughest pilgrimages as yatra involves trek over forests, glaciers, high altitude meadows, rugged mountain areas and crossing rivers. But nothing stops the spiritual love for Nanda Devi. It is the high devotional spirit among the devotees that make them cover the whole yatra barefoot.
How Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra is celebrated ?
During the yatra, all around is the religious chant of jai maa nanda devi and traditional Kumoni & Garhwali folk songs. The yatra ends at Homkund where a grand Yagna and many religious ceremonies take place. The four horned ram is set free. It is believed that the ram follow the Nada Devi to Lord Shiva’s adobe at Mt. Kailash. After bidding farewell to Nanda Devi, devotees return back to Nauti.
It is believed that Nauti Village is the paternal home of Nanda Devi. Nanda Devi is an avatar of Lord Shiva’s wife, Goddess Parvati. This yatra earmarks the journey of Nanda Devi after marriage to her consort’s Lord Shiva home in Mt. Kailash. The rains during the journey signify Nanda Devi tears as she leaves her village home.
Significance of Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra
Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra is a significant yatra that depicts the emotional journey of a married woman leaving her paternal home after marriage. Deep admiration and faith shown by the people for Nanda Devi showcases the respect and deep admiration held towards women in Uttarakhand.