Ideal Time: 3-4 hrs
Open Time: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Cost: Indian Nationals: INR 50,
Foreign Nationals: INR 200,
Indian Students: INR 30,
Foreign Students: INR 100
Great Himalayan National Park, situated in Himachal Pradesh is spread over an area of 754 square kilometres at an altitude of between 1500 to 6000 m. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was established in 1984 and has four valleys named Sainj Valley, Tirthan Valley, Jiwa Nal Valley and Parvati Valley. They are all famous for their natural and scenic beauty. The Great Himalayan National Park is one of India's national parks, which is located in Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh. This beautiful location of the national park becomes all the more attractive due to the Deodar and Oak trees.
The National Park comprises of a variety of forests including the Ban Oak Forest, Moist Temperature Deciduous Forest, Rhododendron Scrub Forest, Moist Deodar Forest and Western Fixed Coniferous Forest. There is blue pine covering the area below 2000 meters. Other vegetations include deodar, cedar, oak, iris, gagea, taxus baccata and primula.
The park is rich in wildlife especially that of avifauna. All the remaining population of Himalayan Tahr is present in the park. Some other major wildlife present here in the park include snow leopard, blue sheep, ibex, wolf, rhesus macaque, wolf, leopard, common langur, goral, serow, muntjac and the Himalayan black bear.
The park provides trekking facility to the visitors for which the Kullu Valley is the starting point. There are different levels provided for trekking ranging from easy to moderate hikes, moderate to tough and strenuous treks. It is compulsory for the tourists to seek prior permission from the park officials for treks held at different days. Multi-day trekking requires adequate preparation, physical training, good health, and stamina since it follows up and down tracks. The cold weather is unexpected which is why trekkers are advised to wear proper outfitting. Moderate day-long treks to difficult multi-day treks are organized on all the four valleys of the park including Tirthan, Jwar Nala, Parvati and Sainj.
Apart from trekking, there are some other seasonal activities worth enjoying in the park. Bird-watching can be done from April to May and then from October to November; trout fishing can be carried out from April to June and then from October to December and pheasant watching from October to May. One can also put their tents out in the open and enjoy under the stars from April to June and September to November.
Rock climbing, river crossing and abseiling are present in the ecozone which can be enjoyed during March to May and then from September to November. The tourists can talk to the villagers and understand their daily routines by helping them out in their chores such as weaving, farming, basket-making and cooking. There are some local fairs organised too wherein one can participate along with the locals. You can also go around, and stroll around the villages, admire the architecture of the houses there made up of wood and all the local material.
At the junction of two main faunal territories lies the Great Himalayan National Park with the Indomalayan in the South and the Palaearctic in the North. The westernmost limit of the Sino-Japanese region is what marks the temperate forest of the Himalayan National Park. The flora of the region is supported by its high-altitude ecosystem. Some of the most important plant species are present in the park including Jatamansi, Salam Panja and English Yew which are also present in Afghanistan and Western China.
Some other common species include the Sea-buckthorn which is also present in the Palaearctic region, the Alpine meadow grass and the deodar with the Mediterranean region and the Euphorbia with South India. Some other flora and fauna which have evolved in the Northwestern Himalayas include Himalayan Tahr, Draba Lasiophylla Royle and numerous species of Balsams. The variety of species present in the compact nature of their homes is what gives the Great Himalayan National Park the highest priority amongst the conversation zones in Western Himalaya.
The Great Himalayan National Park was created to protect and sustain the wildlife under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The history of the creation of the park goes back to 1980-1983 when an International team of scientists visited the Kullu district and recommended the creation of the park. In 1984, the Himachal Government put forth their proposal of creating the GHNP. From 1994 to 1999, the funds for the project were provided by the World Bank and a research project was conducted here by the Wildlife Institute of India.
In 1999, the GHNP was stated as the newest national park and compensation was offered to the local communities living there previously. In 2010, a proposal was passed to declare the Parvati Watershed with an area of 710 square kilometres as Khirganga National Park in the north of GHNP to increase the conservation strength. Also for higher protection status, the two wildlife sanctuaries of Sainj and Tirthan were merged with the Great Himalayan National Park.
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The ideal time to visit the Great Himalayan National Park is during the summer season, i.e. from April to June and winter season, i.e. from December to February. Summers are bright and pleasant and a great time to go trekking in the park. Winters are chilly and also experience heavy snowfall. Lower altitude treks remain open during this season.
The Great Himalayan National Park is well-connected by roadways. You can come all the way up to Joginder Nagar, which is connected to Pathankot. Then you can take a cab or bus from here. Also, there are many state, as well as private buses, between the major regions of Himachal Pradesh and the national park.
Rest houses/transit accommodations are available in the vicinity of the Park. People can do the bookings if they are planning to visit the park with necessary and required facilities. Home-stays are also available to give a more intimate experience of village life to the visitors. They can enjoy the change in the overall atmosphere.
There are 14 guest houses inside the park in addition to the other forest guest houses present in Aut, Sairopa, Banjar, Sainj and Shangarh. Most of the tourists visiting the park stay in Kullu which have a number of accommodation options with a budget ranging from mid-range to the luxurious ones. There are resorts and guest houses too in Kullu apart from the hotels.
3 months ago by Rohit Shroff
Great Himalayan National Park with its abundance in both flora and fauna provide with some of the most spectacular views. However, Great Himalayan National Park or GHNP is not necessarily clubbed with a trip to Manali. Ideally, Great Himalayan National Park will require a few days on its own.