Niflheim or Nifhel lies to the south of Midgard (Earth). It is an immense land of darkness and great cold, an area of torture for evil souls.
To reach Niflheim, one has to travel downwards for nine days from Midgard on the "Helway." This road goes through great forests, deep valleys and over high mountains. There is a deep, black cave between the two levels of Midgard and Hel.
Near the end of the Helway, the maiden Modgud guards the Gjallarbru or Gjoll (Howling) bridge over the boundary river Gjoll. Beyond the bridge are the Hel Gates (Helgind) and behind them the Hall of Death. The Goddess Hel's palace is called Sleetcold or Sleet-Den.
Hel is the lower world Thingstead of the Gods. There the souls of the dea are judged by Odin. And rewards or punishments are handed out.
Even the Valkyries must first bring their chosen warriors to this Thingstead where they are accepted or rejected as unworthy.
At the lower world Thingstead, the Hamingjur (individual guardian spirits, personal power, or the luck of each man)can speak for the individual during judgement. If the person is evil, he or she is deserted by their Hamingja. Those souls judged as good go to Hel where they live in eternal joy. Those condemned as evil are shackled and driven to Niflheim by the dark Elves.
May Odin Bless,