Hidden away on the remote border district of Uttarkashi, this beautiful valley at the historically famous Indo-China border stands at a height of over 11,000 feet above the sea level. It gives rise to one of the largest tributaries of the Bhagirathi River, the Jadh Ganga. The Jadh Ganga is also a point of dispute for India and China; the valley being claimed by China and controlled by India.
The original name of Jadh Ganga was Jahanvi. Legend goes that the Sage Jahnu was very furious because the River Ganga kept flooding the place and damaging his hermitage. In his anger, he drank the whole river in a single gulp. Later, when he had calmed down, he released the river, which theoretically became his daughter. Hence, the river came to be known as Jahanvi.
The valley lies to the north-east of the rushing waters of the Jadh Ganga. Nelang (or Nilang) traditionally means the ‘place of blue stones’. It housed the Jadh people that gave the valley its name.
This is the same region that Heinrich Harrer had used during his dramatic escape from being a war prisoner of the British India, in 1944. It is also the same valley where the legendary British explorer JB Auden ended up while exploring the tributaries of Bhagirathi.
The 1962 conflict made sure that no more exploration of the area is possible. But when something is forbidden, what follows next are adventure, exploration and discovery. Since then, there have been numerous attempts by civilians to explore the valley.
The valley is open during the day for a few restricted hours. Only six vehicles are allowed to enter the area with just six tourists each. You can take a safari jeep from Bhairavghati which is about 25 km away, but make sure the jeep is registered with the forest department.