Great Himalayas have always been a fascination for people around the world and the Great Himalayan National Park is no different. Situated in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, the biodiversity of the park has made it a perfect habitat for some of the most exotic species of flora and fauna found anywhere in the world.
The park and the area around offers a plethora of options for the tourists including bird watching, wildlife viewing, religious pilgrimage, cultural tours etc. The park also has several tourist facilities in the shape of a tourist centre at Sai Ropa and an information centre at Larjee.
Winter is the only time when you stand an excellent chance to spot rare animals like the Nilgiri Tahr and the Snow Leopard in the lower reaches of the park.
Flora and Fauna: The National Park with an area of 754 sq. km. is located in Kullu District and has the representative area of temperate and alpine forests of Himachal. It has some the virgin coniferous forests of the State. Vast areas of alpine pastures and glaciers cap this park. This area has many important wildlife species of Western Himalayas, like Musk deer, Brown bear, Goral, Thar, Leopard, Snow leopard, Bharal, Serow, Monal, Kalij, Koklas, Cheer, Tragopan, Snow cock etc. Trekking of Rakti-Sar, origin of Sainj river and camping in alpine pastures is unforgettable.
Major Wildlife Attractions: The Great Himalayan National Park is home to more than 350 species of fauna including 31 mammals, 203 birds, 3 reptiles, 9 amphibians and 127 insects.
Besides the rarely seen Tahr and the highly endangered Snow Leopard, other animals which can be spotted around in the park include Serow, Ghoral, Bharal, Brown Bear, Musk Deer and Red Fox. If you hear a roar you might have come across a leopard or the highly endangered and very rarely seen Snow Leopard, even though these white creatures can not give a loud growl because of their weak vocal tissues. A host of other smaller mammals can also be seen which include the Great Indian Flying Squirrel and the Indian Pika.
Other Attraction in: Besides animals, the place is also home to some of the very rare bird species including the Monal, Koklass and the Western Tragopan.
Most of the areas of the park have remained unexplored because of the sheer difficulty of the train, which lend the place a unique thrill and rawness that few other parks in the country can offer. Trekking in the park is no easy task and requires a person to be in shape. It is better to do some prior preparation in the form of things to carry, which include basic trekking equipment such as tents, sleeping bags etc.
Best Time to Visit: The park remains open throughout the year, the months of April & May is the best time to visit as during that time the snow melts and the conditions are ideal for walking and trekking.
How to Get there:
Air: Bhuntar near Kullu is the nearest airport. Not many flights are available.
Rail: Chandigarh is the nearest railhead, well connected by daily trains.
Road: To reach by road from Delhi, take the national highway no.1 to Chandigarh via Karnal and Ambala. From there turn to NH21 towards Aut via Bilaspur and Mandi. A state road from here will take you to Gushaini via Larji and Banjar.
General Info / Tips:
All the visitors require a permit for entry into the park, which can be obtained from the Tirthan Wildlife Range office at Sai Ropa and the Jiwa Nal Wildlife Range Office at Larji. Permit charges are Indians : Rs. 10/Day & Foreigners : Rs. 200/day
There are four main entry points to the park, Gushaini (34 km from Aut), Neuli (40 km), Siund Village (30 km) and Barshaini.
It is advisable not to travel alone and take a local person along, preferably a local guide with good knowledge of the area.
Himachal Pradesh, India
Kullu (50 Kms.)
Tahr, Snow Leopard