The pride of Himachal Pradesh, the Great Himalayan National Park is likely to be inscribed with the label of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site soon. According to reports, the World Heritage Committee is to organize a meet in Doha, Qatar between 15 June and 25 June, in which the decision to include the Great Himalayan National Park will be finalized. In order to make it to the prestigious list, two more areas namely Sainj and Tirthan were added, which now makes this national park amongst India’s richest biodiversity hub. Nominated last year along with 8 other world natural heritage sites, the Great Himalayan National Park will be the 7th UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
In Western Himalaya, perched a land that flaunts the best of nature… Lofty peaks, rolling hills, undulating meadow and the rhythmically cascading waterfalls… home to several Indian species of flora and fauna and the hotspot for trekkers and campers… The Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh is a paradise in its own right.
Since this national park is going to make us proud in a short while, we need to lay our hands on the titbits that has culminated in making a place called Great Himalayan National Park.
Situated in Kullu district, the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) was officially formed in 1984 with a total area of about 754 sq km. It was in 1999 that GHNP was tagged with the title of national park. Today, it includes two watershed areas namely, Sainj and Tirthan and covers an area of about 905 sq km.
With a sprawling coniferous forest, plethora of Himalayan flora and fauna and varied topography, GHNP certainly gives a great boost to Himachal Wildlife Tourism. The national park is home to a variety of mammals, birds, amphibians and insects with a major dominance of oriental and palearctic fauna. It is also the territory and shelter of many endangered species like Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Musk deer, Royle’s vole, Himalayan Serow, Himalayan Goral, Himalayan Tahr, Western Tragopan and Cheer pheasant. The endangered Snow Leopard and globally threatened Red-headed vulture also are present in this park. Undoubtedly it is amongst the best wildlife destinations in Himachal Pradesh. At GHNP you will also find rich flora with about 800 species of plants and genera that forms a decorative and inviting background of the park.
You shall be able to witness the dramatic topographic changes in the national park as well; the temperate forests dominates when one reaches the altitude of 2500m above sea level in the park. Fir, Brown Oaks and Spruce are what you are likely to find at this altitude. As you traverse through from 3000m to 3200m, you will discover open alpine meadows taking replacing trees and plants; birches and beautiful red blooming rhododendron seems to catch your eyes big time here. High ridges, rocks and ice shall be diminishing the lush jungle look and renovate the surrounding as a high-definition picnic spot.
With the unique ecological aspects, adventure comes as a free gift in the Great Himalayan National Park. The exhilarating trekking trails and regions fondly invite adventure seekers from across the globe to trek and camp under the star-filled sky, and you cannot help but say that GHNP is one of the best adventure destinations in Himachal Pradesh. There are many exotic trails in the national park that have different difficult levels; treks like Sainj Valley and Gushaini to Shilt Hut are easy treks that can be accomplished in 3 to 4 days, whereas treks like Jiwa Nala to Parvati Valley, Sainj-Tirthan Valley, Upto Tirthan Valley, Raktisar in Sainj Valley are some of the difficult treks that take about 5 to 8 days to complete.
The Great Himalayan National Park is also the face of ecotourism in Himachal Pradesh. Government’s initiatives and the sincerity of many natural conservationists, wildlife and adventure lovers have propelled ecotourism in GHNP. These nature enthusiasts press on to keep things raw with no road connectivity and finding earthly ways to explore the beauty of the national park. If you are planning a wildlife trip to Himachal Pradesh, let the unspoiled beauty of GHNP inspire you to contribute at least something towards ecotourism in India. There are pre-defined ecozones where you can take a tour in the park namely, Neuli-Shangarh Loop, Neuli-Manu Temple, Gushaini-Tinder Village and Siund-Saran-Ghat Seri-Pashi Villages.
Along with different aspects that attract you to the national park, the local culture and a village tour can be an added asset. There are a number of Jognis or sacred places situated in the national park that holds a great importance to the local people. Tirath Jogni, Raktikhol Jogni, Raktiser Jogni, Supakuni Jogni, Sara top Jogni, Thini top Jogni, Socha thach Jogni and Rakhundi top Jogni are some of the most important Jognis in the Great National Park. Also the best time to visit and see the vibrant cultural colours is during the time of Dusshera.
Best Time to Visit: April to June and October to November
Chandigarh is the nearest major railhead situated 296 km away. The closest airport is Bhunter which is at a distance of 63 km from here. You can travel on train to Joginder Nagar (143 km), in Mandi which is connected through a narrow gauge line to Pathankot and then take a cab or bus from here.
Amongst the various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India, the Great Himalayan National Park has made an indelible mark in the league. It is indeed one of the best places for a wildlife holiday in Himachal Pradesh. Whether you are a nature lover or a wildlife enthusiast or an adventurist at heart, GHNP offers excellent opportunity for wildlife holiday in Himachal Pradesh. So, let us be proud of this great natural inheritance and make sure to visit this great national park at least once in a lifetime.