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World Heritage Site - Great Himalayan National Park

Great Himalayan National Park is located in the upper ranges of Himalaya It is a kaleidoscope of alpine flora and fauna. A major part of the national park is permanently under glaciers and ice. It is one of the last undisturbed Western Himalayan ecosystems giving shelters to a diverse variety of wildlife and forests. The bewitching beauty of the park is a compliment to its biological richness. The park is home to rare "Western Tragopan" and 200 species of birds and over 30 species of mammals.
Also known as Jawahar Lal Nehru National Park, the region was notified as a national park in the year 1984 to save the endangered wildlife species of this Himalayan Ecosystem. In June 2014, the Great Himalayan National Park was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The UNESCO world heritage Site committee granted the status of the park under the criteria of "outstanding significance of biodiversity conservation".

LOCATION
The park is located in the Seraj Forest Division of Kullu District in Himachal Pradesh some 60 km southwest of Kullu town. It is the southeast it is bounded by Rupi Bhaba Sanctuary in, Pin Valley National Park in the east, and Kanwar Wildlife Sanctuary in the North. On the geographical map, the park extends from the latitudes 31º38 - 31º55 North and 77º20' - 77º46 in the East.

The Wildlife Attractions
The Great Himalayan National Park is famous in the world for its unparallel splendor and rich mosaic of natural heritage. Some of the famous wildlife attractions are wild mountain goats Bharal, Goral and Serow, brown bear, leopard, tigers, snow leopard, colorful pheasants like Monal, Khalij Cheer, Tragopan and other Himalayan birds.

The Untouched Bio-diversity 
This park has also become the centre of attractions for ecotourism in 765-sq-kms area of temperate forests. It is also unique for preserving the virgin coniferous forests of the state with vast areas of alpine pastures and glaciers covered the large areas of the park. The scenic beauty of the park complements to its biological richness. 

Adventure Activities :
There are many trails within the park and treks can be arranged, varying from two days to seven days. These treks offer something for wildlife enthusiasts as well as people interested in the cultural activities and local architecture. A major attraction is the Pin-Parvati pass trek. This trek is seven days long and the trail leads through alpine and sub-alpine pastures, snowfields and glacial areas before crossing the Pin Parvati pass at 5319 metres.
Three important pilgrimage spots within the GHNP are: Raktisar, at the headwaters of the Sainj river; Hanskund, at the headwaters of the Tirthan, and Srikhand Mahadev, a lake on the southern border of the Park. All these sites are located in the high altitude area accessible in summer and fall months.
Village melas (fairs/festivals) occur round the year. These are colourful, multiple-day affairs where the village gods are brought together for a consultation. One can watch the oracle for the god (gur) go into a trance and tell local stories, answer questions, and interact with the village community. Respectful observations by outsiders is welcomed. Local songs and dances are also performed, and villagers dress in the best traditional costumes.
In February, a four-day festival of Fagli is celebrated in the villages near the edge of the Park (Pekri, Nahi, Tinder, and Phredi). This is a secular festival with masked dances and lots of merry-making. There is also a one-month festival from mid-January onwards in which families visit their relatives and special food is eaten. In April village fairs are held in Tinder, Bhatad, and Chipni; in May at Banjar; in June at Shangarh; in August at Galiard and Mashiar, and in September at Goshaini and Nahi.

Place to See
Tahr and goral in reasonable numbers, and serow and barking deer in smaller proportions are found in the Sainj-Tirthan valley.
Musk deer are more common on the Tirthan side while the two species of bear are both preferentially seen in Sainj. The ungulates are partial to the Rolla region in the Tirthan valley.
Leopards are seen both at Rolla and in Sainj. Cheer occur near Bandal, kaleej also occurs in Tirthan as far as Rolla. Though koklas and monal are distributed throughout the forest, the monal population is most dense at Nada Thach. This is also the area where the Western Tragopan registers most frequently, apart from other regions in the vicinity of the upper Beas.
Places of religious significance in and around the park include the hot springs at Khirganga and Mantalai Rakti Sar, the origin of the Sainj River and Hans Kund, which is the source of the Tirthan River. Trekking through the park to Rakti Sar is one of the most spectacular natural trails imaginable.

Best season
Temperatures may rise to 300C in summer or fall as low as -50C in winter. The area sees heavy precipitation, about 1,500 mm. as rain and snow, in the monsoon and winter, respectively although rainfall varies across the valley. During the rains and in winter, the paths are inaccessible. Heavy snowfall and abundant rains during the monsoons make approach more difficult. Given the climactic conditions, the periods from April to June and October-November are ideal.

Accommodation
There are thirteen forest rest houses at Sai Ropa and Sainj, outside the Park which provide spartan accommodation. These add up to about 50 beds.
Other options are restricted to basic inspection huts with no amenities. Emergency halts at villages are possible as the villagers are generally hospitable.

Transport
By Air: Bhuntar (50 km.) is the nearest airport.

By Rail: Shimla (270 km.) is the nearest railhead.

By Road: Kulu (60 km.) is the closest town. By road, one can proceed as far as Aut, which is 30 km. from Kulu and 28 km. from Gushaini. From Aut, one has to trek. On the western edge, the park can be approached by bridle paths in Jiwa, Sainj and Tirthan tributaries. Treks along the Tirthan (It is recommended that you spend at least 5 days on this) and Sainj Valleys (at least 8 days) would be most exciting. The eastern portion, however, is best left to experienced mountaineers as there aren't any regularly used routes in this direction. There is no road connection to the park.

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