Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India (excluding Pakistan occupied Kashmir) and the highest entirely within the country. Nanda Devi is a two-peaked massif, forming a 1.2 mile long high ridge, oriented east-west. The west summit is higher, and the eastern summit is called Nanda Devi East. Together the peaks are referred to as the twin peaks of the goddess Nanda. The main summit stands guarded by a barrier ring comprising some of the highest mountains in the Indian Himalayas, 12 of which exceed 21,000 feet. The interior of this almost insurmountable ring is known as the Nanda Devi Sanctuary and is protected as the Nanda Devi National Park. In addition to being the 23rd highest independent peak in the world, Nanda Devi is also notable for its large, steep rise above local terrain. It rises over 10,800 feet from its base on the Dakkhni Nanda Devi Glacier in about 2.6 miles, making it among the steepest peaks in the world at this scale, closely comparable to the local profile of K2.
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