The Kuari Pass is a Himalayan high mountain pass situated in the Garhwal Himalaya region of northern India, south of the Tibetan border and on the western rim of the "Nanda Devi Sanctuary" Biosphere Reserve. The Kuari Pass found fame in the early 1900's when intrepid adventurers and mountaineers such as Lord Curzon, Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman used the passage in their pioneering explorations of the region.  Whilst Nepal's "Everest Base Camp" and "Annapurna Circuit" have been popular with trekkers for many years, this region of the Himalayas remained relatively untravelled until more recent times. Today it has become a sought-after trekking destination by virtue of the splendid vista it affords of Himalayan peaks soaring well above 20,000ft. (6,096 metres).
I was lucky enough to travel to the Kuari Pass in the early 1990's.  In those pre-digital photography days I lugged a large, fully-laden, 35mm SLR kit bag up to the pass and, freehand, took a sequence of photographs that I hoped could be placed side-by-side giving a complete panoramic view. The photographs were taken in the late Autumn and, whilst there had been storms with snow and hail the night before, on this day I was rewarded with bright sunshine and brilliant blue skies. 

A few others have posted photos and videos of this region of the Himalayas over the years but, apart from some super shots of the mountain vista from Kausani and a couple of impressive but shaky YouTube videos and, despite the advent of technically superior and certainly more portable and user-friendly cameras, I think the panoramic image I was fortunate enough to capture a quarter of a century ago remains one of the most compelling, so I finally decided to let others see it and share my experiences by creating  this small web site.  I scanned the individual printed photos into my computer, tidied them up a bit to remove some dust and scratches then stitched them together into the panorama you can see here. Just left-click and hold the image below with your mouse and drag it around as you wish.  You can zoom in or out with the magnifying glass icons at the bottom right of the picture.

Alternatively you can watch a scrolling video version here.

I hope you like it and, if you've got some similar imagery, I'd love to see it.
Click and drag the photo in the direction you wish and use the magnifying glass icons to zoom:
Panoramic photograph of the view from the Kuari Pass in the Garhwal Himalaya
Maps of the Garhwal Himalaya region were scarce back then and many of those available were notoriously inaccurate. Two good ones I subsequently found were the "Garhwal-Himalaya East" and "Garhwal-Himalaya West" maps published by the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research. These can be quite hard to find and are expensive. I think perhaps the best one overall is that created by the US Army Map Service, Corps of Engineers in the 1950's and simply titled "Nanda Devi".  I've shown a relevant section of this map below.  Although this map is no longer published it pops up second hand now and again so it's worth keeping an eye open for a copy. I found my one in the Cotswold Camping shop in Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia, North Wales, of all places.  As with the panorama above, just left-click the map with your mouse, drag the image as you wish and zoom in or out with the magnifying glass icons.  The Kuari Pass is shown at the bottom left-hand corner of the map just to the East of Dhakwani.

It's difficult to appreciate the awesome scale of the Himalayas and to judge distances just by looking at photographs and maps so, consider this:  From Kamet (a little left of centre in the panoramic photo) to Dunagiri (towards the right-hand side) is a distance of about 33.5 miles (54 kilometres).  The whole of Greater London would nestle quite comfortably in that space! From one end of the picture to the other is a distance of over 70 miles (113 kilometres).

The scale of the map below is 1:250,000 and the visible frame covers an area approximately 11.4 miles (18.3 kilometres) by 8.6 miles (13.8 kilometres), an area of about 98 square miles (157.7 square kilometres) roughly equivalent to the space that would be occupied by around 50,000 American Football fields!
Click and drag the map in the direction you wish and use the magnifying glass icons to zoom:
Section of "Nanda Devi" map produced by the US Army Map Service circa 1955
Of course, technology has come a long way since the US Army mapped this region in the 1950's so, below, is an embedded Bing Maps aerial view of the location centred on the Kuari Pass and showing the amazing terrain.  You can zoom in and out or drag the map around as you wish.  If you get let lost, press F5 to reload the page and re-centre the map.  You can see an equally impressive Google Maps version here.  The Coordinates used to create these maps are 32 Degrees 27 Minutes 0 Seconds North and 79 Degrees 34 Minutes and 60 Seconds East.  You can enter these coordinates into Bing Maps or Google Maps in the following format: 3027'0" N 7934'60" E
Equipment used:
The camera used was a late 1980's Konica TC-X 35mm SLR. This was Konica's last SLR camera (actually manufactured by Cosina), the first ever to use an all-plastic body and the first to adopt the DX mechanism to automatically adjust to the speed of the film used.  The film was Kodak Kodacolor Gold ISO 400 which I had processed by Bonusprint who sent the pictures back to the wrong customer!  I received that customer's photos in error also.  Luckily, after some tense days of investigative work and help from both BT and an apologetic Bonusprint, I was able to contact the other customer so we could swap pictures.  If I remember correctly the lens used was a Tamron 300mm telephoto.  I scanned the photos with an Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD all-in-one printer/scanner/copier.  Serif PhotoPlus X4 was used to tidy-up the photos and they were then stitched together into a single panoramic image using PTGui.

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J. R. Haythorne 2012