Nanda Devi Poem by Charles Houston
Anemone rupicola and Primula macrophylla - two of the most beautiful Himalayan flowers. NANDA DEVI by CHARLES S. HOUSTON And there She was! Cresting the ragged rocks, casually scattered By some huge force, we gaped, Star-struck across the flowered fields To where the Goddess rose. Like some vast sculpture made By powers not conceived by man, The Goddess rose From calm and quiet meadows of the Unviolated Sanctuary. We — not first to burst Upon the scene — were yet to be The ones who reached the Goddess' crown. Not conquerors but pilgrims, seeking Light not fame. In those past days, We came from far to love, enjoy, And cherish mountains and the lands About them. Not to foul or spoil Their timeless fragile peace. A poet wrote 'High mountains Are to me a feeling, felt in the heart And felt along the blood'. He said it well, But only part. He might have added 'For my soul's sake'. Nanda Devi or Goddess of the Himalaya is the second highest mountain in India (excluding Pakistan occupied Kashmir) and the highest entirely within the country (Kangchenjunga being on the border of India and Nepal); owing to this geography it was the highest known mountain in the world until computations on Dhaulagiri by western surveyors in 1808. Nanda Devi is one scenic grandeur present in Garhwal Himalayas. It was also the highest mountain in India before Sikkim joined the Indian Union. It is part of the Garhwal Himalaya, and is located in the state of Uttarakhand, between the Rishiganga valley on the west and the Goriganga valley on the east. Its name means Bliss-Giving Goddess. The peak is regarded as the patron-goddess of the Uttarakhand Himalaya. After the re-opening of the Sanctuary in 1974 to foreign climbers, trekkers, and locals, the fragile ecosystem was soon compromised by firewood cutting, garbage, and grazing. Serious environmental problems were noted as early as 1977, and the sanctuary was closed in 1983. Currently, Nanda Devi forms the core of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (which includes Nanda Devi National Park), declared by the Indian government in 1982. In 1988, Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, "of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humankind." The entire sanctuary, and hence the main summit (and interior approaches to the nearby peaks) are off-limits to locals and to climbing expeditions though a one-time exception was made in 1993 for a 40-member team from the Indian Army Corps of Engineers to check the state of recovery and to remove garbage left by prior expeditions. Nanda Devi East remains open from the east side, leading to the standard south ridge route. Nanda Devi is the best choice for satiating your craving for adventure and fun, all because of its scaling height and beautiful valley of Rhododendron flowers. Return to Nanda Devi: (The poem is an excerpt from this film) Shot in the summer of 2001, this footage is unique and rare. Digi Beta and Mini DV. 15 hours of footage. Shot in May-June 2001. Nanda Devi has always been considered the ultimate Himalayan peak by climbers from around the world. The region has been shut-off from the rest of the world for twenty years now. The future of the region apart, what we saw and filmed during the expedition is a priceless record of new-age frontier expeditioning and travel, in a world where the existing geographical frontiers of exploration are fast diminishing... The history of Nanda Devi dates back to 1936 when Tilman and Odell first climbed the peak; their ascent was billed as "the most outstanding mountaineering success of the pre-Second World War era". John Roskelly's book entitled 'Nanda Devi' centered around the sad expedition during which Nanda Devi Unsoeld (the daughter of Willi Unsoeld, the famous mountaineer), died while climbing the peak after which she was named. You might also have heard of the 1970's controversy where the CIA apparently placed a nuclear-powered tracking device atop the peak, to monitor activity in China's Lop Nor nuclear project, and the subsequent disappearance of the same. This sparked off many rumours internationally, with many interpretations of the cause of its disappearance... This film shows some of the highest and most imposing Himalayan summits, and the route into the sanctuary, through the near impregnable gorge one must travel through, to gain access to the core of the Nanda Devi sanctuary. "This clip of professionally-shot broadcast stock footage belongs to the archive of Wilderness Films India Ltd., and has been filmed on either Digital Betacam or 1080i HD. Please write to us for licensing queries at wfi @ vsnl.com and firstname.lastname@example.org."