Nanda Devi National Park

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Nanda Devi National Park, Joshimath Overview

In proximity to Nanda Devi, which is the second highest peak in India, lies the Nanda Devi National Park in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and is home to some of the rarest and unique high-altitude flora and fauna in the world. The breathtaking views, coupled with the richness of biosphere, set this national park aside from all others that are located in the country.

The area was given the status of a national park in the year 1982 to protect and conserve the exotic flora and fauna in the region and to save it from further environmental degradation. Today, the Nanda Devi National Park is one of the most important ecological hotspots of the world and is home to a variety of birds, mammals, plants, trees and butterflies.

The Nanda Devi National Park offers marvellous opportunities for trekking and hiking and is indeed an adventure enthusiast's dream come true. In fact, the trek to the base camp is considered to be one of the most challenging ones. The Nanda Devi National Park is open to visitors for only six months in the entire year, from 1 May to 31 October. There are also countless opportunities here of exploring the beauty and grandeur of nature. The Valley of Flowers, Badrinath Temple and Hemkund Sahib, located in the vicinity of the national park are also famous tourist destinations. This important ecological hotspot of the world is a great place to be at, to be in touch with both, yourself and nature.

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Flora and Fauna At Nanda Devi National Park

The Nanda Devi National Park is wealthy and abundant in wildlife and is home to a wide variety of plants and animals of various species. The forest cover in the park being restricted to the Rishi Gorge, the primary vegetation comprises of fir, birch and juniper. In the inner parts of the sanctuary, the conditions are comparatively drier, with almost zero vegetation near the Nanda Devi Glacier. A total of 312 species of flora are found here, of which around 17 are considered to be rare.

Regarding the animal population here, species like snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, brown bear, leopard, Himalayan musk deer, Common Langur, Goral and Bharal dominate the area. Approximately 80 avifaunal species have been found here, including Indian tree pipit, Blue-fronted Redstart, Rose Finches and Ruby Throat.

Nanda Devi National Park Trek

The Nanda Devi Sanctuary is indeed a unique geographical feature. A ring of peaks that are connected by massive rock walls that go no lower than 17,000 feet form this heavenly, yet impenetrable sanctuary. The only exception point is the area where the Rishi Ganga drains this great basin. It is then no doubt that trekking here is a unique and unparalleled experience altogether.

Since this is one of the most challenging treks in the world, several acclimatisation bases are a must. The actual trek to the Nanda Devi East Base Camp starts from Lilam, which is about 18 kilometres away from Munsiyari. From Lilam, the trail leads to Bugdiar, Gori Ganga, Martoli, Milam Village, Lwani and finally the Nanda Devi East Base Camp.

History Of Nanda Devi National Park

Though the region was given the status of a national park only in 1982, it has a long and exciting history attached to it. The first person to reach this region was W.W.Garden in the year 1883. Sadly, his expedition bore no fruit. Until 1934 or so, the area was one of the least known and most inaccessible parts of the Himalayan region. Finally, in 1936, Tilman and N.E. Odell scaled the area, and others followed suit.

Since then, the Nanda Devi National Park has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a Biosphere Reserve by the Indian Government later on. It was also declared as a Sanctuary in 1939 and then in 1982, was given the status of a national park by adding an additional area of approximately 630 square kilometres to it. The increasing popularity and fame of the region led to an excess of expeditions here, and consequently, the amount of ecological damage to this pure and pristine area also increased. Following this, it was decided to shut down the national park in 1984.

The national park opened again in May 2013, but under extremely stringent rules and policies, such as entry to only two groups of five people in a single day, and no more than the visits of four such groups each week.   

Best Time To Visit Nanda Devi National Park

Nanda Devi National Park is open to visitors for only six months from May 1st until October 31st. The snow clears and allows the trekkers to have a safe journey into the national park. The weather pleasant, but tend to be quite cold and will require one to have multiple layers of woollens on them.

Stay Near Nanda Devi National Park

Your preferred destination for accommodation while visiting the Nanda Devi National Park should be Joshimath, which is just 25 kilometres away from the park. The place has great options for accommodation and fits all budgets.

Tips For Visiting Nanda Devi National Park

1. The Nanda Devi National Park has restricted visitors policy wherein only 10 visitors are allowed to enter the Park all day, so make sure you get a date for your visit to the national park by contacting the DFO's Office in Joshimath.
2. Also, the trek into Nanda Devi National park is gruelling so ensure that you are totally fit to trek before considering it.

How to reach Nanda Devi National Park

  • Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. One can easily get a cab till Nanda Devi National Park or catch a bus till Joshimath and take a shared jeep to the national park.

  • Rail: The nearest rail head is at Rishikesh which is about 280 km away from Nanda Devi National Park. One can easily get a cab till Nanda Devi National Park or catch a bus till Joshimath and take a shared jeep to the national park from the railway station.

  • Road: Nanda Devi National Park is connected by motorable roads till Lata village via Joshimath, which is the entry pint to the park. Public and private buses will provide you easy access to Joshimath from most parts of the state from where you will have to take a connecting shared jeep or bus till Lata village.

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