Nelong Valley – the MOST COMPLETE Travel Guide

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Nelong (aka Nelang) Valley is a chilly desert mountain space in Uttarakhand, very near the Indo-Tibet Border. Truly the Ladakh of the state, the area opened as much as , after being shut from the outer world since the 1962 India-China warfare. Bearing a placing resemblance to Tibet and options excessive peaks having an identical local weather and panorama to that of Lahaul, Spiti Valley, and Ladakh, Nelong is a surprising place to be.

Given that the valley is part of the Gangotri National Park and holds an vital strategic location – vacationers will not be allowed to remain in a single day. This rule applies for inside the 25 km space between Bhairavghati and Nelong.

Situated at an elevation of 11,400 ft, Nelong Valley is, in my humble opinion, a surprising, beautiful and actually untouched area in the Uttarkashi district. Nelong Valley actually is a picturesque enchantment complemented by wealthy wildlife of endangered species like Himalayan Blue Sheep, Snow Leopard and Musk Deer. Apart from all this, journey vacationers and seekers of the unseen and untouched would positively be enamored by this place!

Dayara Bugyal in Uttarkashi. Picture courtesy, Ravish Chugh
Uttarakhand, Uttarkashi!

About Nelong Valley

Some say Nelong translated to the place of blue stones. The valley is storied and enjoys related landscapes to Ladakh – thereby you possibly can think about the wealthy pure great thing about the area. The area additionally homes remnants of the treacherous Indo-China commerce route. The outdated infrastructure nonetheless exists, and consists of the Lal Devta Temple and Garstang Galion. Also, it’s believed that it was by this valley that Hienrich Harrer escaped to Tibet. What’s an added benefit – you get gorgeous views of the Tibetan Plateau.

The solely unlucky half is that since the valley has been closed to the remainder of the world for almost 6 a long time, there’s a actual worry that the place may lose all its tradition and heritage – as they received’t get preserved and documented. The authorities has taken the proper steps in opening up the valley to vacationers – although in strict tips. The intention now ought to be to steadily carry up commerce and thereby, enterprise to the local people and assist in develop as properly!

Wars and Nelong Valley

Long earlier than Tibet was occupied by China, Nelong Valley was a necessary commerce route between Tibet and India. In reality, you’ll be stunned by the sheer similarities between the valley and Tibet – for those who’ve ever been there. This parallel can also be widespread between the chilly mountain deserts of Lahaul-Spiti and Ladakh. Similar to those valleys, Nelong Valley too has a deeply wealthy historical past and tradition which is on the verge of being misplaced in political unrest and border conflicts. The villages which made Nelong Valley have been vacated in 1962 throughout the Indo-China War, since then the historic valley is occupied by countless military .

Unfortunately, the rigidity on borders is so excessive that vacationers are solely allowed until 25 km inside the restricted space. Also, although there isn’t any trendy documented (public) account of artifacts, heritage websites and historic buildings in Nelong Valley, locals and the native district Justice of the Peace are pleasant and keen to share quite a lot of data! When you’re in the area – do keep in mind to have deep significant conversations with the people.


Nelong valley lies on a route which was as soon as part of the historic Indo-Tibetan commerce however after the 1962 warfare, the residents of Nelong Valley- Rongpas also called ‘Bhotiyas’ have been compelled emigrate to Bagori village, bunched in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.

After the locals evacuated the place, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) checkpoints have been arrange in the villages. One can nonetheless see the remnants of the historic commerce route, together with the very important slim picket bridge erected alongside the gorge.


The climate in the valley is actually excessive chilly! In the winter months the most temperature hovers round -5 to -10 levels, whereas the lows are round -15 levels Celsius simply. Even in the summer time months, the most temperature doesn’t transcend 5-10 levels Celsius and the nightly lows are all the time in the unfavorable!

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Best time to go to

The Nelong Valley stays open from May to November, so you could plan your travels accordingly. The climate is actually the finest in September, October and that is additionally the time when monsoon recede from Northern India and travelling to the area after the tough and notorious Uttarakhand monsoon spells is the most secure wager. Be cautious of touring after the monsoon season although to make sure most security.

Snow walls at Dharali between Gangotri and Harsil
Enroute Nelong Valley

How to get there

Situated at an elevation of 11,400 ft., the Nelong Valley is barely 45 KM earlier than the Indo-Tibet border. Very near Harsil, the valley is an integral a part of the Gangotri National Park and is properly linked by street from Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar.

You can enter Nelong Valley from the Bhairon Ghati (Bhairav Ghati), solely 24 KMs away (or 100 KM from Uttarkarshi). From the Ghati, you’ll be taking the Forest Department car (after receiving needed permits). 

By Air

Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the closest and most accessible airport from Nelong Valley. It is located about 315 KMs from the valley. You can rent a taxi and buses on your onward journey as much as Bhairav Ghati.

By Rail

The nearest railheads are Rishikesh and Haridwar. Dehradun Railway station is 259 Kms from the Nelong Valley. Again, taxis and buses can be found (in the AM) for Bhairav Ghati.

By street

Overall the street journey is about 10 hours of driving time. The journey is extraordinarily scenic and value each second you spend on the street.  You’ll attain Bhairav Ghati (very near Gangotri) and from there, the Forest Department Jeep will take you additional.

Views for days

Guidelines to go to Nelong Valley

Since the valley has been opened to public in 2015 – there are very strict and stringent tips on the variety of vacationers that may go to. Firstly, that you must be an Indian National to get a allow. Secondly, it there’s a most every day vacationer quota for when the valley is open. There are tips of State Forest Department, due to which private autos are prohibited to enter the area and solely 6 Forest Department Vehicles, carrying 4 folks every are allowed to enter in the valley per day.

Now, so as to monitor all of this – that you must take a allow from the SDM (sub-divisional Justice of the Peace). This would additionally require you to furnish a health certificates that clearly states you’re bodily match for the journey.

I want to spotlight right here once more – that Foreign nationals will not be allowed to go to the valley.

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Getting a allow is a little bit of a busy course of. I like to recommend that you just hold a buffer of 2-3 days in your schedule for this allow. Let me stroll you thru the course of!

1- Submit a written utility (to the District Magistrate) in Hindi stating your causes to journey to Nelong Valley. This must also embody the names of all folks travelling. You ought to word, solely SUVs are allowed for this journey – and the particulars of the automobile must be given as properly. Also, that you must connect your ID proof (photocopies). Original +Three copies of this utility is required for getting the allow.

2: Visit the District Magistrate’s workplace in Bhatwari, positioned very shut the principal street close to the Annapurna Temple(Uttarkashi). I might urge you to plan forward and name the workplace earlier than heading out to verify the SDM is on the market. After checking all of your documents- you’ll obtain your letter, with signed unique set of utility with ID proofs (Original for you, one set of photocopy for his or her information).

3: After this, you’ll want to go to the Forest Office in Kotbangla, two kilometers uphill from Uttarkashi. The third set of your utility might be submitted right here and you’re going to get one other signature added to your unique utility together with one other letter of approval from the Forest Department.  

4: Now, that you must head to the Local Intelligence Unit, District Thana, positioned behind the well-known Vishwanath Temple of Uttarkashi. Here, you submit the remaining set of your photocopy and an indication in your unique. This is the most time consuming a part of the course of. Again, the LIU will signal your unique and hold the remaining set of photocopies.

5: Take all of your paperwork and signed unique again to the PA of the District Magistrate. He will put together a brown paper, get it signed by the SDM and provide you with. This is your allow.

This course of can take anyplace from a day to every week – relying upon your luck. Also, hold your allow with you and guard it together with your life!

Where to remain

An Inner Line Area, Nelong valley is open to Indian vacationers solely throughout the day time.

Spend nights at Gangotri or Harsil, each are exceptionally lovely. Don’t keep at Bhaironghati however do head there for scrumptious mitti ki chulhe ki chai. Gangotri is 5 hours from Uttarkashi, Harsil is 4 hours and Nelong Valley come earlier than Gangotri.

Stunning Views
Stunning Views

Things to remember

  • Given the excessive sensitivity of the location, Foreign Nationals will not be permitted in the Valley.
  • Overnight keep shouldn’t be allowed in the valley – which basically interprets to no /staying right here
  • Maximum of 6 Forest Department autos with 4 occupants every is allowed inside the Nelang Valley every day
  • The visiting months are restricted from month of May to November.
  • As of now, a allow letter is required to go to the valley from a sub-divisional Justice of the Peace. However, these laws are quickly anticipated to ease over time.
  • The drivers in Uttarkashi are under no circumstances acquainted with the terrain and they’re going to positively over-charge you. If you’re a good driver in the hilly terrain, I might extremely suggest going by a bike/ SUV (4X4) for an incredible journey of 25 KMS. It is actually thrilling and gorgeous. However, from Bhairav Ghati, you’ll should park your autos to embark the remainder of your journey in Forest Department Vehicles.
  • Until Nelong Valley is opened correctly and made extra accessible, it is rather tough and virtually futile for backpackers to journey by, sadly. You received’t have the ability to expertise a lot when right here. However, it’s price a brief detour for those who’re in the Gangotri area (solely 30 Minutes from the valley entrance)
  • 150 per individual and 250 per car entry payment into National Park (Yes, the area is a nationwide park)


It is my humble request to anybody studying this to PLEASE not litter in the hills. Even for those who’re going to touristy locations and particularly in remote, remoted villages – please make sure you clear up after your self. Carry a with you and hold refilling it. If it’s a must to purchase filtered water – please make sure you dispose it off correctly. There will not be cleanup crews coming after you to select up your trash. It breaks my coronary heart to enter the hills and see plastic bottles, cigarette butts, paper plates, half eaten meals containers, discarded garments and a lot extra filth strewn round.

I really like the hills, as I’m positive you do too! Let’s do our half in guaranteeing that once we return the subsequent time the place remains to be the identical. Anyone who travels by the hills is part of a really sacred group. It is our responsibility to make sure the hills are clear for our group. We shouldn’t be making it tough for folks residing in these villages in already powerful circumstances! With folded arms, I request you to please clear up after your self.

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Road conditions between Gangotri and Harsil
Road circumstances between Gangotri and Harsil


There isn’t any denying that Nelong Valley is exceptionally lovely. But simply as a lot the magnificence fills your coronary heart it additionally breaks it. The restrictions are utterly legitimate, however they’ve certainly prohibited a complete group’s historical past and heritage to exploration. I pray for issues to get higher in order that Nelong Valley lastly will get the love, not simply safety, that it deserves.

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