Leopard in Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park is situated in the Seraj Tehsil of Kullu district in Himachal Pradesh. The park is located at an altitude of 1300 to 6100 m and is around 50 km from the Kullu town.
Best Time to Visit
Though the park is open throughout the year, it should be avoided during the rainy (July to September) and winter season (November to April). During this period, heavy rainfall and snowfall can cause much problems for you. The best time to visit the park is during the summers ( April to June) and autumn ( September to November). During this time, the weather is pleasant and also the snow melts away to clear the path.
About Great Himalayan National Park
In the year 1980, the Himachal Wildlife Project was carried out in
the upper Beas region. Based on this survey, four years later, in
1984, notification for the Great Himalayan National Park was issued.
At that point of time, villages were still residing within the
boundaries of the park and it was only after another four years that
their shifting from the area started. The final notification of the
park was done in the year 1999.
The park covers an area of 754 sq km and is bordered by high Himalayan peaks on the eastern part and snow covered area on its northern and southern parts. The park also has three other wildlife destination sharing their boundaries with it - the Pin Valley National Park, the Rupi Bhabha Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary. The area under the park include the upper catchment area of Tirthan, Sainj, Parvati and the Jiwa Nalas. All these flow from east to west and finally merge with the Beas river. A considerable portion of the park, specially the eastern part remains covered with snow throughout the year.
There are four entry point to the park which is officially known as the Jawahar Lal Nehru Park. These are Guishaini (34 km from Aut), Neuli ( 40 km from Aut) Siund village ( 30 km from Aut) and Barshaini ( to the north east of the park). For tourist visiting the park, a permit is essential. The permit can be obtained easily at a low cost from the office of the Park Director at Shamsi or the range officers at Larji, Sairopa and Sainj. The park authorities also provide guides who need to be taken along compulsorily by the visitors. The timings to visit the park is between sun rise and sun set.
Great Himalayan National Park Attractions
The park is home to a rich variety of vegetation that ranges from subtropical forests at the bottom to alpine and dry alpine forests in the upper areas. Medicinal plants, trees, herbs and shrubs are found in plenty in the Park.
The star animal attractions of the park includes the Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Brown Bear, Himalayan Tahr and Musk Deer. Other animals of the park are Serow, Rhesus Macaque, Barking Deer, Goral, Red Fox, Langur, Gray Shrew, Giant Indian Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Weasel and Yellow-throated Marten.
Birds are a prime attraction in the Great Himalayan National Park.
There are around 180 species of birds in the park out of which the
most prominent ones are Western Tragopan, Monal Pheasant, Koklas,
White-crested Kaleej and Cheer Pheasant. Other birds spotted in the
park include Raptors, Shorebirds, Pigeons, Parakeets, Cuckoos, Owls,
Gray Nightjar, Himalayan Swiftlets, Fork-tailed Swifts, White-throated
Needletail, Eurasian Hoopoe, Brown-fronted Woodpecker, Great Barbet,
Scaly-bellied Woodpecker, Himalayan Woodpecker and Speckled Piculet.
The significance of the park as far as its bird population goes can be guaged from the fact that the park constitutes a part of the globally important Endemic Bird Areas identified by the ICDP Biodiversity.
Things to Do
This is the only way to explore the wilderness of the park since
vehicles are not allowed inside. So, if you want to enjoy the beauty
of the park and sight some animals and birds in this park, you need to
be perfectly fit physically. A guide will accompany you inside the
park to guide you through the terrains which are quiet unknown to you.
The difficulty of the trek routes vary from moderate to strenuous.
Some of the popular trek inside the park include Sainj Valley Trek (
66 km and moderate), Sainj Tirthan Valley Trek ( 85 km and moderate to
strenuous), Jiva Nala to Parvati River Valley ( 110 km and difficult),
Tirthan Valley trek ( 92 km and moderate to strenuous) and lastly
Raktisar (92 km and moderate to strenuous).
If you are on a look out for a specific bird, then you can very well consult the park authorities as to which trek will reward you with a viewing. However, one thing to keep in mind is that animals are difficult to see and as such plenty of time should be kept in hand. This will enhance your chances of animal sighting.