Nelong Valley – the MOST COMPLETE Travel Guide

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 struggle. Bearing a hanging resemblance to Tibet and options excessive peaks having an analogous 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 essential strategic location – vacationers aren’t 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 fantastic thing about the area. The area additionally homes remnants of the treacherous Indo-China commerce route. The previous 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 beautiful views of the Tibetan Plateau.

The solely unlucky half is that since the valley has been closed to the remainder of the world for practically 6 many years, there’s a actual concern that the place would possibly lose all its tradition and heritage – as they gained’t get preserved and documented. The authorities has taken the proper steps in opening up the valley to vacationers – although in strict tips. The goal now needs to be to steadily convey up commerce and thereby, enterprise to the area 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 – if you happen to’ve ever been there. This parallel can 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 had been vacated in 1962 throughout the Indo-China War, since then the historic valley is occupied by limitless military .

Unfortunately, the stress on borders is so excessive that vacationers are solely allowed until 25 km inside the restricted space. Also, although there is no such thing as a trendy documented (public) account of artifacts, heritage websites and historic constructions 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 bear 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 struggle, the residents of Nelong Valley- Rongpas often known as ‘Bhotiyas’ had been pressured emigrate to Bagori village, bunched in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.

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


The climate in the valley is really 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 season months, the most temperature doesn’t transcend 5-10 levels Celsius and the nightly lows are at all times in the unfavorable!

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Best time to go to

The Nelong Valley stays open from May to November, so you might plan your travels accordingly. The climate is really the finest in September, October and that is additionally the time when monsoon recede from Northern India and travelling to the area after the troublesome 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 simply 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, you could be an Indian National to get a allow. Secondly, it there’s a most day by 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 individuals every are allowed to enter in the valley per day.

Now, to be able to monitor all of this – you could 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 aren’t 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 maintain a buffer of 2-3 days in your schedule for this allow. Let me stroll you thru the course of!

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

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

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

4: Now, you could 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 maintain 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, maintain your allow with you and guard it along 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 bear in mind

  • Given the excessive sensitivity of the location, Foreign Nationals aren’t permitted in the Valley.
  • Overnight keep shouldn’t be allowed in the valley – which primarily 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 rules are quickly anticipated to ease over time.
  • The drivers in Uttarkashi are in no way accustomed to the terrain and they’ll positively over-charge you. If you’re a good driver in the hilly terrain, I’d extremely suggest going by a motorbike/ SUV (4X4) for a tremendous journey of 25 KMS. It is really thrilling and beautiful. However, from Bhairav Ghati, you’ll must 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 vitally troublesome and nearly futile for backpackers to journey by, sadly. You gained’t have the ability to expertise a lot when right here. However, it’s price a brief detour if you happen to’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 if you happen to’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 maintain refilling it. If it’s a must to purchase filtered water – please make sure you dispose it off correctly. There aren’t cleanup crews coming after you to choose 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 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 similar. Anyone who travels by the hills is part of a really sacred group. It is our obligation to make sure the hills are clear for our group. We shouldn’t be making it troublesome for individuals 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 fully 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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