Nelong Valley is recognized as the ‘ Ladakh of Uttrakhand’ owing to its attractive resemblance to the landscape of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. Entry to this beautiful valley was prohibited for many years after the 1962 Sino-Indian War due to its closeness to the China border. It was in 2015 when doors of this mesmerizing valley were opened for the first time for Indian tourists. This beautiful valley of Uttrakhand is a treat to all people who are seeking tranquility and peace. The place offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Great Tibetan plateau along with the Lal Devta temple and a permanent wooden bridge.
Beautiful Nelong valley is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state of India, within the Gangotri National Park which is 23 km from Bhaironghati. This place is also recognized as “The Ladakh of Uttarakhand” with a lush green backdrop, this valley is blessed with scarce vegetation as well as wildlife. The region is an abode to infrequent and indefinable Snow Leopard and also offers many stunning Himalayan landscapes to make your trip to Nelong valley memorable. This amazing valley is also a segment of grueling Sino-Indian trade route with a hand-built wooden bridge which is still there since the early days, this old trade route is known as gartang gali and is listed among one of the dedliest skywalk in the world. This mesmerizing valley is situated at an altitude of about 11000 feet above sea level. It comes under the Gangotri National Park in Uttarkashi and is approximately 315 kilometers from Dehradun. It is just 23 kilometers from the Gangotri shrine
History and People
The word “Nelong” or “Nelang” generally means the place of blue stones, and it is one of the best-unspoiled places of Uttarkashi. The beautiful Nelong valley is a cold desert-like region located in Uttrakhand Himalayas close to Indo China border. During the 60s Nelong valley was a bustling trade route amid India as well as Tibet. However from the time of Indo Chinese War the region was closed for civilians as the police of both countries were the only people who are permitted to enter it. In 2015 May, the government opened up the Nelong valley region for the general public.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Nelong valley is in the months of April to June and September to October before Diwali.
- April to June- visiting Nelong Valley in summers is very much enjoyable as at this time the average temperature of the region is 25 degrees Celsius. At this time snowfall also starts melting which offers amazing views of the landscape.
- July to September- visiting Nelong valley in monsoon is sometimes risky as there is a possibility of landslide owing to rainfall. There are many chances of road accidents, and so this is not considered as the best time to visit this place.
- December to March- visiting Nelong valley in winters is not comfortable enough as at this time the weather is very harsh and extreme. During these months snowfall starts and which stops the travelers and trekkers from entering the glacier area. Due to heavy rainfall during these months roads are prohibited from entering.
When and How to reach
Nelong valley welcomes visitors in the months of May till November, however owing to security reasons the place is prohibited for camping. You can reach Nelong valley all the way through Bhairon Ghati from where you can easily hire a cab. This beautiful valley is well connected by road from Haridwar, Dehradun, and Rishikesh. Every traveler should know that there is no proper accommodation and restaurants in the valley. However, you can book hotels in Bhairon Ghati, Gangotri, Harsil, and Dharali. However, Nelong valley does not have flight, bus, or train connectivity but is well connected with road so that you can easily hire a cab or taxi or also can self drive to reach this adventurous valley.
Reaching By Bus: The nearest bus station, which is well connected with buses to other cities is Reckong Peo Bus Stand. Harsil Bus Stand is a local bus stop with limited bus frequency.
Reaching By Train: Nearest major railway station to reach Nelong valley is Dehradun Railway Station. There is also one local train station too but with limited railway connectivity, i.e. Harrawala Railway Station.
Reaching By Air: Nearest major international airport to reach Nelong valley is Chandigarh Airport. There is also a small airport too with limited flight routes, i.e. Jolly Grant Airport.
Points to remember for tourist visiting Nelong valley
Nelong valley is now open to the public and is the perfect place to visit for adventure seekers and mountain lovers. This picturesque valley of Uttrakhand is a part of Gangotri National Park and is also an abode to many rare animals like snow leopard and musk deer. There are several points which you should keep in mind before planning a trip to Nelong valley:
- Nelong valley is located at a distance of about 315 km from the main city of Dehradun. First of all, you have to reach Bhairavghati which is about 100 km from Uttarkashi, and then it will take a 25 km ride to reach the mesmerizing valley. Just remember that private vehicles are not permissible here; thus you have to take a forest department vehicle.
- The Forest department is very much strict in terms of permission to visit Nelong valley. Only registered operators are permitted to take tourists into the valley and that too up to Nelong and beyond that you cannot go in any case.
- To enter the valley only six forest department vehicles are allowed in one day with four people each. Surely it will change in some times as the government is trying up hard to promote Nelong valley tourism. Before entering you will need a permit which should be taken from the sub-divisional magistrate. You will also require a fitness certificate to enter the valley. The entry of foreigners is not allowed owing to its strategic location.
- Night stay is not permitted in the valley as you can find out accommodation options in Bhairavghati. There are numerous budget hotels which offer comfortable stay to tourists. There is also a semi-government guest house there that offers a comfortable stay to its guest.
- At the time of packing for your Nelong valley trip don’t forget to pack sports shoes and woolens, alleys carry a power bank with you along with sunglasses and a first aid box.
- There are many nearby attractions in Nelong valley where you can enjoy yourself at your best. One of the best Nelong valley attractions is Padang Temple which is located at about 3500 ft and is devoted to Kaal Bhairav. Don’t miss out to seek blessings at the famous Gangotri Temple and exploring many other scenic destinations.
- You should take water, snacks, and food with you as you will not find anything to eat when you are in the valley. In case you are lucky you can somehow get tea and biscuits at the camp of ITBP.
The Nelong valley is similar to the Ladakh landscape presenting clear blue skies, deep valleys, winding roads. This tiny valley terrain is a cold desert that will relax your mind and soul for sure. Plan a trip to this beautiful destination as it is a sheer delight for adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers as well as photographers.