Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
Area of the Park: 765 sq km
Year of Establishment: 1984
Best Season to visit: April to June and September to October
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The pride of the Indian subcontinent, the Himalayas is applauded for housing all awing natural wonders. From its snow packed peaks to the flats and valleys at its base and foothill are matters of attraction to the nature lovers of the country as well as beyond its borders. The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) is one of the least disturbed Western Himalayan Eco systems in Kulu district of Himachal Pradesh. The park supports an extremely diverse wildlife population enriched by 300 species of birds and 30 species of mammals.
The park is mainly located in the upper catchment areas of the Sainj, Parvati, Jiwa Nala, Tirthan which flow from east to west and finally mingle with the Beas River.
The altitudinal variations of the park range from 1300m to 6100m. The terrain is dotted with many high ridges (over 4000m high), precipitous cliffs, deep gorges, rocky crags, narrow valleys and glaciers.
The climate of the Himalaya is influenced by Western Himalayan temperate wind and has signs of alpine type. Mainly the park witnesses four seasons i.e., Spring (April-June), Summer/rainy (July - September), Autumn (October - November and winter (December - March). Precipitation continues for all through the year with the intensity increasing during monsoon from mid June to mid-September.
Located in between the lofty mountain ranges of the Himalaya, the Great Himalayan National Park is a fascinating tourist spot bestowed with rich coniferous forests and alpine meadows coated with flowers and pristine white snow. The unique ecological aspects of the Western Himalaya endow the park with stunning bio-geological diversity. The secluded valleys of Sainj and Tirthan harbour a variety of animals like the bharal, goral, serow, leopard and most surprisingly the threatened animals like snow leopard.
Ideal location for perfect wildlife photography the park houses animals like Himalayan black bear, brown bear, and Himalayan tahr. But all of them are very elusive. The wide varieties of birds of the park include the likes of the colourful Himalayan Monal Pheasant and the Western Tragopan.
Trekking in Great Himalayan National Park
Trekking is an interesting activity that can be enjoyed inside the park. Both short to moderate and high altitudinal trekking options are available inside the park. Camping grounds are strategically set inside the park at different levels. A shorter week long trek starts at Sainj and en route towards Shakti, Maraur, and finally reaches at Raktisar. A longer high altitude trek starts from Sainj and via the Pin Parvati Pass connects the Pin Parvati National Park. The trek starts from moderate route covered with temperate forests and goes through alpine meadows and high altitude passes and ends in a high altitude cold desert.
Moreover, the rare and endemic nature of many Himalayan animals and plants attract visitors from across the globe. From hardcore scientist to avid nature-lover everyone can get abundant options to satiate their respective interests. The World Conservation Monitoring Center has thus declared the park as one of the five centers of Plant Diversity and Endemism in India.
Great Himalayan National Park Wildlife Tour Package
Wildlife in Great Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park provides an excellent habitat for numerous species of mammals and pheasants. The park is home to around 375 faunal species among which 181 birds, 31 mammals, 9 amphibians, 3 reptiles, 11 annelids, 127 species of insects and 17 species of mollusks are found.
Western Tragopan is known to be one of the highly endangered species of pheasants. Out of the 7 species of pheasants found in Western Himalayas, six are found in GHNP. It includes names like Monal, Cheer, Koklass, Kaliz, Western Tragopan and Himalayan Snowcock. It is claimed to be the only place in the entire country where Bharals are found along with Himalayan Tahr. The sub-alpine zone of the park also encompasses animals like Musk Deer which is considered as one of the highly endangered animals in the Himalaya. More than 300 species of birds are found in the park which stands for a superb cross-section of Western Himalayan Avifauna. The undisturbed zones of the park are densely populated by wonderful species of butterflies and a variety of insects.
There are certain animals in this park which are found mainly in high altitude. These include the likes of the Himalayan Black Bear, Common Leopard, Red Fox, Langur. Some of the small mammals at Great Himalayan national park are Gray Shrew, House Mouse, Royle's Mountain Vole, Indian Pika, Giant Indian Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Weasel and Yellow-throated Marten.
There are around 200 species of birds in this park including 132 passerines (small to medium sized, perching songbirds) along with 51 non-passerines. The park supports a considerable fraction of all the species occurring within its altitudinal range in the western Himalayas. Important birds at Great Himalayan national park are Monal Pheasant, Western Tragopan, White-crested Kaleej, Koklas, Cheer Pheasant,Raptors, Pigeons, Shorebirds, Cuckoos, Parakeets, and Owls.
Great Himalayan National Park Travel Information
Location: The park is located within the Banjar sub-division of the Parvati Valley of Kulu, Himachal Pradesh. Steep ridges and mountain ranges guard the area from northern, eastern and southern boundaries. Further, the boundaries of this park adjoin the Rupi-Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary, Pin Valley National Park, and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary.
How to reach Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park is well connected with major Indian cities by road, air and rail.
By Air: Kullu is the nearest airport to GHNP. It is around 50 km from the park and private vehicles are available in the airport premise which will take you to the park. Delhi is the closest international airport to Kulu which is well connected with all international cities.
By Rail: The nearest railhead to GHNP is Joginder Nagar (Mandi), around 100 km away. Taxis are available on demand and ply on the roads that connect the railway station to the park. Buses for Kullu start from Mandi station.
By Road: Kullu is around 50 km from GHNP. HPTDC buses ply from Delhi, Pathankot, Chandigarh, Ambala, Shimla, and other neighbouring regions to Kullu. From Kullu both public as well as private buses are available for Aut. Taxis are available on hiring basis and you can hire one to reach Neuli or Ghushaini from where the park is at a walking distance.