The Great Himalayan National park is one of the most pristine national parks of India. Set in the state of Himachal Pradesh, the national park offers its visitors an experience they cannot get anywhere else in the country. It is an experience to savour for the rest of their lives. The park’s relation with other national parks in India is similar to the Himalayas’ relation with other mountain peaks of India; both are one of the newest, and both are the most beautiful and aesthetic in nature.
Geography of The great Himalayan National Park
Established in 1984, the Great Himalayan National park is spread over an area of 1700 square kilometres and is located in the altitudes between 1700 and 5800 meters above mean sea level. The mountainous location of the national park sets it aside from most other national parks in India, and the natural beauty of the Himalayas grants it a unique status among all other national parks. The boundaries of the park are marked on three fronts by the snow-capped mountains, and a 5 kilometre wide Eco-development Project Area marks its western boundary. The varying levels of altitude in which the park is situated give it a vast variety of flora and fauna. From lush coniferous forests to virgin mountains and glaciers, the Great Himalayan National Park has all the makings of an ideal Himalayan retreat. Since the Himalayas are considered to be the abode of Gods in Hinduism, there is a feeling of mysticism associated with the area as well, which only adds to the charm of the place.
How to Reach and when to go?
The park can be accessed via the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Kullu is well connected by road and air routes. One can even travel to Chandigarh via railway routes and then take the highway up to Kullu, which is a distance of 300 km. Bhuntar’s airport is the fastest access route to Kullu, and the airport is situated a little over 60 kilometres from the park. The best time to visit the Himalayan National Park is September-November since that is the time the animals migrate to the lower altitudes of the park
Flora and Fauna in The Great Himalayan national park
As to the park’s diversity in flora and fauna, it houses over 375 species of fauna, which includes 31 species of mammals, 3 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibians, 181 species of birds, 17 species of mollusks and 127 species of insects. The animals found in the Great Himalayan National Park are unique to the area, and one can find animals like the blue sheep, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan Tahr, and the elusive snow leopard. The varying range of altitude in which the park is located gives rise to many different types of flora in the region. The fact that one can find horse chestnuts, alpine herbs and junipers all in the same park is indicative of the different types of flora belonging to different biomes that the park boasts of. Since most of the flora and fauna varieties of the Great Himalayan National Park are endemic, they are protected by the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, and hunting of any kind is strictly prohibited in the park.
Naturally wild for adventure lovers
Since the flora and fauna of the park are fragile and the government wants to ensure their preservation, the construction of roads for traversing the park has been continuously discouraged. Most visitors therefore only visit the Ecozone, with few entering the park and trekking in its huge area. The Ecozone has around 6000 to 8000 visitors each year, while the national park has around 700 to 1000. The park is mostly traversed by the young and adventurous sorts, and foreigners are frequently spotted trekking along the designated trekking routes with forest officials. Accommodation in the park is therefore scarce, with lodgings available only in the Ecozone. Since the officials are always looking to promote people to take a trek into the park, trekking gear and equipment is provided by the forest officials. Treks ranging from a day’s trek to treks around a week are up for taking for the adventure lovers. This way, the pristine nature of the park is preserved, and the travel and adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers get their share of the bargain as well.
Owing to its unique nature, the Great Himalayan National Park has not only gained national recognition but also worldwide acclaim. The park was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in June 2014. The committee stated the reason for this award as they believed the park fulfilled the criteria of exceptional natural beauty and conservation of biodiversity. All these things set aside the Great Himalayan National Park from all other national parks in India and make it a must for nature and adventure lovers.