Situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Nilkanth or Neelkanth peak stands at a towering altitude of 6,596 meters over the Alaknanda valley and the town of Badrinath. Legendary mountaineer Frank Smythe described the peak as “second only to Siniolchu in Himalayan beauty.” The Satopanth Glacier lies on the northwest side of Nilkanth.
Nilkanth (Neel = blue, kanth = throat) is one of the many epithets of Lord Shiva, one of the most revered Hindu deity. According a legend, there used to be no Nilkanth mountain earlier. A route would connect the temples of Kedarnath and Badrinath. However, due to the sins committed by the priest, Lord Shiva was displeased and erected a sky-high mountain between Badrinath and Kedarnath.
With its steep ridges and faces, Nilkantha resisted seven climbing attempts, beginning with Frank Smythe in 1937.
The generally accepted first ascent was made in1974 by Sonam Pulzor, Kanhiya Lal, Dilip Singh, and Nima Dorje of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). They reached the summit via the north face.
- North Face
- West ridge
- Northeast ridge
HOW TO REACH
The trek to Nilkanth commences from the holy town of Badrinath in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The trek route is as follows:
Badrinath – Mana – Hanuman Chatti — Laxmi Van — Neelkanth Peak Base Camp
- ROAD: Being a revered Hindu pilgrimage site, Badrinath has good connectivity of roads from cities like Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun. One can reach to these places from Delhi and get a bus or shared taxi to Badrinath. The buses usually leave early morning from places like Haridwar and Rishikesh.
- RAIL: Badrinath doesn’t have a railhead. Nearest railway station to Badrinath is situated in Haridwar. Haridwar is connected with major cities like Delhi, Ahmadabad and Dehradun.
- AIR: The nearest airport to Joshimath is Jolly Grant situated in Dehradun. From there, one can opt for a bus or a taxi to reach Badrinath.