Tucked amidst snow-capped Himalayas, The Great Himalayan National Park is a beautiful habitat of alpine flora and fauna. Located in the Kullu region, Great Himalayan National Park was built in 1984 and declared as a National Park in 1999. Enumerated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2014, this is one of the largest and scenic national parks in India.
All you need to know about The Great Himalayan National Park
Location and geography of The Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park is located in the Seraj Forest Division, 60 kms from Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. Encircled by Rupi Bhaba Sanctuary, Pin Valley National Park and Kanwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Great Himalayan National Park is located at an altitude of 1500-6000 m and offers breath taking views of the surrounding mountains. The national park is spread over sprawling 754 sq km area. In 1994, 256 sq kms of land was delineated from the park area and labelled as buffer zone or eco zone. The eco zone of Great Himalayan National Park consists of 160 villages.
How to reach Great Himalayan National Park
By Air: The nearest airport to Great Himalayan National Park is Bhuntar in Kullu, approximately 60 kms away. There are regular flights from Delhi to this airport.
By Rail: Joginder Nagar, near Mandi is the nearest railhead to Great Himalayan National Park, which is about 143 kms away. Frequent trains ply between Joginder Nagar and Chandigarh.
By Road: There are no motorable roads direct to the national park, instead there are couple of gravel roads. From Kullu, either take the route from Ropa to Shangarh in Sainj Valley and from Gushaini to Ropa in Tirthan Valley and reach the park gate.
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Best time to visit Great Himalayan National Park
To behold the best of climate and beautiful flora and fauna, March, April, May, June and Mid-September, October and November are the best time to visit the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh . The Himalayan Eco Tourism team organises treks during these months. Winter months are not advisable for visit due to extremely cold and chilly weather and snowfall. Only lower altitude treks are organised during this season. Monsoon season from July to early September is strictly not recommended for trekking in the national park.
Great Himalayan National Park entry fee and permit
Entrance to the Great Himalayan National Park is strictly by permit. The same needs to be acquired from head office at Shamshi and zonal offices at Shairopa and Ropa. The permit charge for Indian visitors INR 100/day and for foreign nationals is INR 400/day. Students are on discounted entrance charges. It is INR 50 /day for Indian students and INR 250/ day for foreign student. One needs to pay additional charges for still and video cameras.
Biodiversity of Great Himalayan National Park
The park is habitat to a huge range of plants, animals, and birds. Great Himalayan National Park boasts of 375 fauna species which comprises of mammals, reptiles, molluscs, insects and birds. These animals are safeguarded under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Gaming and hunting of animals are strictly prohibited and considered as punishable offence.
The flora of the Great Himalayan National Park
Featuring primarily Deodar and Oak trees, Great Himalayan National Park showcases more than 100 plant species, including medicinal herbs. From pine, chestnut, spruces to junipers and alpine herbs, the list is long and varied. Even in lower altitudes, there are some alpine meadows, cleared for grazing.
The rich fauna of the Great Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park animals include some wild species like brown bear, musk deer, thar, goral, snow leopard, bharal, monal, koklas, Tragopan and tahr and blue sheep. Moreover, more than 181 species of birds are seen here. The best sighting is experienced from September to November when animals migrate to lower grounds.
Activities in Great Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park trek is quite popular among explorers. There are 4 moderate to difficult trekking routes in this park. They are: Sainjh Valley, Gushaini to Parvati Valley, Sainj to 6meadows, bird watching and trout fishing.
Places to Stay in and around Great Himalayan National Park
Surrounding areas of Great Himalayan National Park are not so commercialised. So, there is a dearth of hotels and resorts, near the bio reserve. Dormitories at Sairopa Tourist Centre and Forest Rest House at Sairopa are the best Great Himalayan National Park hotels.
Tips for Travellers
- Many of the trekking routes are quite steep, so wear appropriate trekking shoes.
- Carry dry foods, essential medicines and water during trek.
- Make sure you are physically fit for the trek.
- Appoint a registered guide for trekking.
- Do not forget to take the permit from forest office.
- Accommodation is limited here. To avoid rush, book in advance, if you are planning to visit during summer months.
- For camping, carry tents, sleeping bags, basic utensils and stove etc
If you are a trekking enthusiast or nature lover planning to visit Great Himalayan National Park this summer, then do not forget to share your experiences with us.
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