Great Himalayan National Park

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India >> Himachal Pradesh >> Kullu >> Attractions >> Great Himalayan National Park

Great Himalayan National Park

History

Hemmed in on three sides by the towering peaks of the Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh's Great Himalayan National Park is undoubtedly the place to go for a rendezvous with the wildlife of these mountains. Here, amidst dense forests of blue pine and cedar, in high alpine meadows and mountain slopes which remain covered with snow throughout the year, lives one of the densest and most impressive populations of Himalayan wildlife.

Created in 1984, the Great Himalayan National Park (officially known as the Jawaharlal Nehru Great Himalayan National Park) includes, in a wide swathe of land covering 765 sq km, the previously-established Tirthan Sanctuary.

Adjacent to the park are two more important protected areas- the Pin Valley National Park and the Rupi Bhabha Sanctuary- a vast expanse of land sheltering many of the species, both animal and plant, endemic to the Himalayas. The Great Himalayan National Park lies in Seraj Forest Division (in Kullu District), in the upper catchment areas of the Jiwa, Sainj and Tirthan rivers. A park where the altitude varies from 1,500 mt to about 6,000 mt, encompassing within it snowcapped mountains, river valleys, and steep cliffs. The diversity of terrain and altitude is reflected in a corresponding diversity of vegetation. Deciduous broadleaved forests of oak and bamboo alternate with pine and deodar woods, while grasses and colourful wildflowers crowd alpine meadows in the upper reaches.

Inhabiting this stretch of land is a dazzling array of animals and birds. Among the most prominent mammals are leopards, Himalayan black bears, brown bears, langurs, rhesus macaques, and wild sheep such as the Himalayan thar, bharal and the ibex. Rarer animals like the highly endangered musk deer are also found in the park, and there have been reports of snow leopard sightings. The Great Himalayan National Park is unsurpassed in its bird life, with almost 68 resident species and close to 50 migrant species being sighted here. Pheasants, such as the gloriously beautiful monal, the kaleej and the Western tragopan, are among its many attractions.

Best time to visit

The Great Himalayan National Park is best visited in early summer or autumn- April to June and September to November are the times when the weather's at its best. Beyond November, and right up to April, heavy snowfall can block roads and trails, besides making it a little too cold for comfort! Rainfall hits the park between July and September, sometimes resulting in landslides and muddy trails.

Trivia

Travelling alone? It is ofcourse always better to take a local person along (a local guide). The guide could provide you with good knowledge of the area.

Timing

Visits to the Great Himalayan National Park are allowed only between sunrise and sunset.


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