A SNEAK PEEK AT THE SNAKE PEAK
Like many other mountain tops in the country, specially in the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, NAAG TIBBA TOP is the adobe of the NAAG DEVTA or THE SHESH NAAG of the HINDU pantheon.
Naag Tibba (3020m) is one of the highest mountain peaks in the entire Tehri Garhwal district of the Uttarakhand. It gives a beautiful panoramic view of the surroundings including a spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas with some famous peaks. The mountain top, also known as Jhandi, marked by an ages old pole of deodar tree adorned with flags tied by the pilgrims and the adventurers and thus got the name Jhandi meaning small flag. Like many other mountain tops in the country, specially in the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Naag Tibba top is the abode of the Naag Devta or the Shesh Naag of the Hindu Pantheon. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Naag Devta on a flat ridge just a km before the Jhandi top. However, a recent renovation has replaced the old deodar wood by bricks and concrete. Naag Devta is the supreme deity of the entire belt.
Naag Tibba is a mysteriously dense jungle with Oak and Rhododendron which homes a healthy population of leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer and wild boar. This rich population of wild animals attracted many hunters during the British era. Eventually, the jungles of Naag Tibba started finding place in volumes in the libraries in England for its wilderness and virgin beauty. As a consequence, Naag Tibba became a preferred trekking destination. The trails on the mountain are made by the villagers who had been coming to the top since ages from either side of the mountain to offer the first bread of the first harvest to the supreme lord. The occasion is marked by a huge village fair which fall somewhere in the end of May every year. The trip to Naag Tibba is a 3 days round trek which starts from the village of Pantwari and goes thorough the top to the village of Devalsari on the other side of mountain. The trek can be started from either end as both Pantwari and Devalsari are a few hours drive from the town of Mussoorie. A start from Pantwari is recommended as it is a gradual ascend all through the top. Pantwari can be reached after a three hour drive from Mussoorie. Many jeeps run for Pantwari from the Kempty Falls bus stand at Library Bazar Mussoorie but the fleet cruise only before noon. A few road transport buses also plea through Nainbag from where a road diverts towards Pantwari. The exuberant route encompasses against the flow of the Yamuna river from Yamuna Bridge is picturesquely adorned with a few roadside dhabas which are famous for fish curry and rice. Once at Pantwari, Bandasari village is the starting point of the trek Bandasari is an ancient village with carved wooded double story houses. People, specially the elders, can be seen in their traditional attires. It is a 5 km trek on a semi steep surface till the ridge known as Devta which is the place for a night halt. There is an upcoming Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Guest house at Devta and a few Van Gujjar (nomadic herdsmen) huts which are usually abandoned during the months of autumn through spring. There is ample space for camping. However, most people take refuge in the shepherd huts just a km before Devta. Nights are cold at Devta but the villages at the shepherd huts keep the place warm and cozy with fire. Next day early morning, the temple can be visited which houses ancient stone images and a mysterious pit which always overflows with water at such a height. A steep ascent through thick jungle takes to Jhandi and all the strain of the climb is washed away by the very sight of the mighty Bandar poonch peak (6230m) along with Yamunotri range and Shrikanta peak. It also gives an awesome view of the town of Mussoorie far in the south. Allow one hour stay at the top. After Jhandi, it is all down hill, although long trek (17m km) till Devalsari via the village of Untar (13 km). Untar too is an ancient village with a 3 story tower like temple of Naag Devta who is said to be living inside with His four consorts. It is believed that the temple was made by celestial beings as the carriage and placement of huge stones forming the base of the temple are beyond the capacity of humans.
Each year on two occasion, i.e. On April 13-14 and August 12-13 (dates can be flexible according to local calendar) the doli (cart) of the deity is taken out of the temple marking a huge village f air showcasing unique rituals and performances. It is easy to be a part of the festivity as the Jaunpuris are very humble and friendly people. They are undoubtedly the best hosts in the entire world. About 4 km ahead Untar on a leveled surface stands the forest rest house of Devalsari amidst a uniquely thick deodar jungle. A prior reservation is a must which can be ensured from DFO office, Dehradun or Mussoorie. Stay is not at all a problem in any of the villages. However, there is ample space for camping for the adventurous.
There is an old wooden temple in the jungle behind the rest house which usually remains closed and isolated. The temple architecture is very similar to that of the Hidimba Devi Temple in Manali. This place is indeed one of the quietest places known in the Himalayas. Further 4km of Devalsari on the banks of the Aglaar River is situated the famous Thatyur Bazaar. Aglaar is a major tributary of the Yamuna River which means fish curry and rice again. Jeeps run in a regular interval, before noon, for Mussoorie and Chamba via Suwakholi, the road head that connects Thatyur bazaar to Mussoorie-Chamba highway. From inside the jeep going towards Mussoorie the Naag Tibba peak constantly appears on the northern horizon as if posing mysteriously hiding such a geographical and cultural grandeur.
About Naagtibba Trek
Getting to/from: Nag-Tibba Trek can be attempted from Panthwari. To reach Pantwari, it takes 3 – 4 hours from Dehradun.
Guides and Porters: Pathikworld Tours provides Guides. Ponies are not allowed.
Total Distance: 16 km (Pantwari to NagTibba Summit and back and back)
Maximum Elevation: 3022 meter – Nag-Tibba Summit
Day 1: Pantwari to Camp site No.1, 5 km – 3 to 4hrsDay 2: Camp 1 to Nag Tibba Summit – 03 km, 2 to 3 hrs & Nag Tibba Summit to Pantwari – 8 km, 3 to 4 hrs
Package Cost: INR 35000.00 for 10 pax minimum (Dehradun to Dehradun)