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Time Required : 1-2.5 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Neelkanth, Badrinath Overview

Nilkantha, Neelakant, Neelkanth, Nilkanth or Nilkanta is a major peak in the Garhwal division of the Himalayas. Lying in the picturesque region state of Uttarakhand, it is one of the most important and religiously revered peaks of the region due to its close proximity to Badrinath. It is  situated at the height of 6507 metres and overlooks the lovely valley of the Alaknanda River. The snow-covered peak rises dramatically against the background of the crisp blue sky and presents one of the most beautiful sights that the region had to offer. 

Neelkanth lies in the midst of a medley of glaciers. The Satopanth Glacier lies on the northwest side of Nilkantha, while the Panpatia Glacier lies to the southwest, and feeds the Khirao Ganga, a stream running under the south of the peak. To the west of the peak, lies the  Gangotri Glacier and its adjacent peaks while the Nanda Devi groups and Kamet lie across the Alaknanda Valley. Undoubtedly, the scenery painted by the snow-covered peaks is a sight to sore eyes. It also forms an important part of the route to Badrinath and hence has a great footfall every year. 

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Etymology

Nilakantha's origin may be seen as Nila means "blue", Kantha means "throat" which is Hindu deity Shiva's many epithets. As per Hindu mythology, there were initially no mountains on the spot where Nilkantha stands today. There was an adage route between Kedarnath and Badrinath. The "Purahita" or the worshiper of the two temples worshipped them in one day. This continued for a long time until due to some sins of the worshiper, Lord Shiva became displeased with him and stood blocking the way as a huge sky-kissing mountain, which is said to be modern Nilkantha.

Climbing History

The peak was first climbed in June 1961, by an expedition led by Narinder Kumar, along with Shri O P Sharma, Sherpas Lakpa Giyalbu and Phurba Lobsang reaching the summit. Their base camp was formed at the Satopanth Glacier and ascended via the north face. Jagdish Nanavati, Honorary Secretary of the Himalayan Club, Bombay, studied the ascent and concluded that the expedition had seriously underestimated the route and faltered far below the summit in bad weather. A committee of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation formally confirmed and agreed to the ascent late in 1963, though they recommended the expedition to be repeated every year, in order to confirm the terrain and timing.

Trekking to Neelkanth Base Camp

Perhaps one of the most challenging and thrilling activity to pursue in Badrinath Kedarnath is the trek to the base of the camp of Neelkanth. The trek usually begins early in the morning with the first checkpoint being Charanpaduka (about 3 km. from Badrinath). You will be able to see the alleged footprints of Lord Vishnu on a rock here. From Charanpaduka, the trek gets extremely steep and precarious, so be very careful from here. If you visit Neelkanth during the months of July-September, you will also be able to witness the enchanting beauty of Brahmakamal flowers that are sacred as well as are designated as the state flower.

After trekking here for 4-5 hours, you will reach the base camp, which is situated at a massive height of 4270 metres. You will get a clear and unobstructed view of the imposing Neelkanth Mountain, which is a mesmerising sight in its own right. Since there are no accommodation facilities here, you will have to descend to Badrinath to spend the night. Many tours and travel companies offer packages for a trek to Neelkanth base camp, and it is advisable to use their expertise and experience here.

Best Time To Visit Neelkanth

The best time to visit Badrinath is from the months of May to October when the weather is pleasant and the roads are navigable as well. 

Tips For Visiting Neelkanth

1. Start preparatory activities at least one month before your visit to Neelkanth. Breathing exercises and brisk walking is recommended. Get yourself medically examined before the journey.
2. Drink only bottled water or from clean natural resources only. 
3. Carry your own cooked food as opposed to cold or raw eatables. 
4. Mosquito repellant, first aid kit, sunscreen,  and creams are a must for a comfortable journey to Neelkanth. 
5. Carry thick woollen sweaters, windcheaters, raincoats, sleeping bags, blankets, water-proof shoes with sufficient grips, small waterproof tents, torch with sufficient batteries and walking sticks.
6. Keep a slip of your name, address and your accomplice in your pocket. 
7. Wear comfortable clothes that don't inhibit your movement. 
8. If you opt to hire a horse, make sure you hire one from a licensed individual. 
9. Move slowly and steadily and do not attempt shortcuts. 

How To Reach Neelkanth

You need to arrive at Badrinath by the means of buses or taxi, from where you can trek your way to Neelkanth. 

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