Nanda Devi (7816 mtr.) is the highest mountain in Uttarakhand and second highest mountain in India after Kangchenjunga (8586 mtr.). It is located in the Garhwal of Uttarakhand between the Rishiganga valley on the west and the Goriganga valley on the east. The peak is named after the Goddess Nanda Devi which means “Bliss – Giving Goddess”. The Nanda Devi is regarded as the patron Goddess of the state. In order to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Nanda Devi and its surroundings, the movement of human beings was closed in Nanda Devi sanctuary by the government from 1983.
The Nanda Devi range comprises of two-peaked massif, which is a 2 km long high ridge, oriented east-west. In comparison to the western summit, the eastern summit is lower and is known by the name Sunanda devi. The Sunanda Devi lies on the eastern edge of the ring of mountains touching the borders of three districts viz Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Bageshwar. The main summit is surrounded by a ring of high altitude mountains, twelve of which exceed 6,400 mtr. The main summit has a sacred value in Indian religious texts and is called as the daughter of the Himalaya. The inner portion of this ring is known as the Nanada devi sanctuary, which is protected as the National Park.
The two most important peaks may be referred to as the peaks of the Goddess Nanda Devi and Sunanda Devi peaks. The two Goddesses occur together as per the records of Bhagavat Puarana and are worshipped as twins in Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand.
The Nanda Devi mountain was climbed in 1936 by a British-American expedition. Before this attempt, many expeditions were attempted but failed. The main glaciers are Dakkhini Nanda Devi glacier, Uttari Nanda Devi glacier, Dakkhini Rishi glacier, Pachu glacier, Nanda ghuti glacier, Lawan glacier, Pindari glacier.
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