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The Sanctuary has been converted to a National Park and temporarily closed for visitors on environmental considerations. It has an average altitude exceeding 4500 mts. and is surrounded by as many as seventy
ofty peaks, the Nandadevi (7817 mts.) being the highest. It is in the form of cup with lush green meadows, chuting white waterfalls, and rich wild flora and fauna. Sir Edmund Hillary described the Sanctuary as a god-gifted wilderness - India’s training ground for adventure - and truly so. Eric Shipton wrote, amongst many superlatives for the Sanctuary, “All around us was mountain architecture more magnificent even than the great southern battlements of Everest “.
Joshimath is the base for collection of stores, provisions, porters, guides etc. One route approaches the Sanctuary from Lata, on the Joshimath-Malari Route. One trek from there to Lata Kharak, an open, wild and grassy hilltop, providing a fabulous mountainscape all around.
The Lata Kharak - Dharansi Pass appears to be a long trek with many ascents and descents yet everything is forgotten when Nandadevi comes into view on crossing the pass. The trek follows a ridge traversing rocky surface till Malatuni Pass, where the other trek route from Rini (near Lata) following the Rishi Ganga river generally, via Kalikuna and Chinwari, meets. It is continuous descent of about 800 metres through alpine grassland thereafter, before Rishi Ganga is crossed at Deodi, wherefrom Trishul - Base camp trek via Bethartoli and Tridang bifurcates. Debrugheta meadow with its floral designs and the grandstand view of peaks around it is exhilarating. The Deodi - Ramni trek passes through dense forests of Junipers and Varieties of Rhododendrons. The Sanctuary opens up there.