Known for its thick forest cover and lush green hills, Himachal Pradesh is a paradise for curious people. Characteristic of Western Himalayan flora, more than 95% are endemic to Himachal Pradesh. The state is not only famous for its natural environment but its beautiful hill stations and rich cultural history. Derived from the Sanskrit words – ‘Him’ which means Snow, and ‘Anchal’ which respectively means region. Himachal Pradesh is truly a snow-laden paradise.
Great Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park is one of the most famous national parks in India. It is located in the Banjaar sub-division of Kullu district (in the Western Himalayas) of Himachal Pradesh, India. Originally constituted in 1984, the park was formally given the recognition as a national park in 1999.
Awarded in 2014 for excellent significance for biodiversity conservation, The Great Himalayan National Park is a popular destination among tourists. More than 10,000 plant species are found here, including medicinal herbs, junipers and horse chestnuts and many more.
The park is also home to a number of fauna which consists of 31 mammal species, 181 birds species, 9 amphibians, 3 reptiles, and several annelids, molluscs and insects. Furthermore, a trek of 35 to 45 km in any of the parks’ valleys brings one into high altitude habitat of animals such as blue sheep, snow leopard, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan tahr, and musk deer.
Additionally, one can trek through the four magnificent valleys of GHNP. The Sainj Valley is designated a wildlife sanctuary encompassing the villages of Shakti and Manor. The Jiwa Nal Valley nestles along the Jiwa Nal River flows westward to the village Siund to join River Beas. Named after the sacred water spring “Tirth”, the Tirthan Valley originates from Hanskund Peak to flow down through forested slopes. And finally, the Parvati Valley which is a fabulous site to observe magnificent waterfalls. The valley rises eastwards and is located at Bhuntar in Kullu District.
Location: Forest Office Road, Shamshi, Himachal Pradesh.
The ideal time to visit: In the Autumnal months (September-November).
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm.
Entry fee: INR 50
Pin Valley National Park
The Pin Valley National Park is situated within the picturesque region of Lahaul and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh, India. Established on 9th January 1987, the Park is located within the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve in the Himalayan region. Located at the elevation at an elevation ranging from approximately 3,500 metres near Ka Dogri to above 6,000 metres at its highest point. The National Park spreads from south of Dhanka Gompa, near the Tibetan border.
The Pin Valley National Park forms a natural habitat for various endangered species because of the unexplored higher reaches and slopes covered in thick snow. However, adventure seekers looking for your next winter trek destination can visit the trek route from Tapri to Kaza which remains open during winter months. The best time to visit this park is summers as it won’t pose many hindrances to travellers.
Due to extreme temperatures and high altitude, the vegetation around the area is sparse and consists primarily of alpine trees and groves of Himalayan cedar. Distributed over 10 different natural habitats, the Pin Valley National Park has discovered twenty-two rare and endangered medicinal plants and herbs. But the Park’s main attractions consist of endangered animals such as Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. During summers, one can spot several rare birds which include Himalayan snowcock, Chukar Partridge, Snow Partridge, and Snowfinch, to name a few.
Location: Kaza Valey, Himachal Pradesh, India.
The ideal time to visit: During summers from the month of July to October.
Entry fee: Free.
Timings: 6 am – 6 pm.
Inderkilla National Park
Inderkilla National Park is one of the popular national parks in India. It is located in Kullu region, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Established in 2010, Inderkilla National Park covers an area of about 104 square kilometres. One can reach this famous national park through train – the nearest station being Jogindernagar which is located at a distance of 125 km, and through the air – the nearest airport being Kullu Manali Airport which is located at a distance of 46 km. The national park is not only popular for its wide range of flora which spreads over vast lands but a number of endangered fauna can be spotted here.
The national park offers a chance to go on a trail which guarantees to spot several rare and majestic endangered plants. Animals which of the Himalayan region like leopards, deers and, birds which even include the rare birds of the summer season, and insects species are varied and can be seen from time to time. Thickly forested, the hilly terrain consists of several Himalayan trees and plants. One can even spot several plants which are rich in medicinal value. Since the region is largely unexplored, information regarding this place remains scarce. But that is no excuse for you to pack your bag and set out on a journey to Inderkilla National Park.
Location: Kullu district, Himachal Pradesdh, India.
Best time to visit: All year-round.
Khirganga National Park
Khirganga National Park is yet another national park in Himachal Pradesh which remains popular for its rich biodiversity and lush greenery which spreads over wide slopes. The national park spreads over an area of about 710 square kilometres (270 sq. mile). Established in the year 2010, Khirganga National Park is located at a distance of 64 km from Kullu, 56 km from Bhuntar, 22 km from Manikaran, and 102 km from Manali.
Sharing its boundary in the north with the Great Himalayan National Park, Khirganga National Park was initially going to be merged along with the National Park, but due to some maintenance issues, the park was kept separated from Great National Himalayan Park. Although we think it is ideal to visit Khirganga National Park when you are visiting Great National Himalayan Park.
The National Park also offers trekking which stretches from the village Barshani to Manikaran. Considered a hallowed ground with hot water spring, the region is mythologically significant. Additionally, the park is clustered with rare species of flora and fauna which can be spotted while you are trekking. Wild bears are very common in this region. The best time to visit Khirganga National Park is between May and November when the weather remains pleasant and favourable. Khirganga remains snow-covered during winters and only gets temporary settlement during summers.
Location: Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh, India,
The ideal time to visit: Late April to June, Late August to Early November.
Simbalbara National Park
Established in 1958, Simbalbara National Park is one of the most attractive tourist places in Himachal Pradesh. Later re-established as the Simbalbara Wildlife Sanctuary in 1974, the park covered an area of 19.03 square kilometres. Although in 2010, it was turned into a national park by merging an additional 8.88 square kilometres of the area to its boundaries. In the present time, the Simbalbara National Park now covers a range of 27.88 kilometres which is 10.76 square miles. It lies in the Shivalik hills, near Kaelsar National Park.
The Park is popular for its unique and diverse wildlife and bird species. This park has a better biodiversity manner as the entire ecological system of the region.
Well-connected with a food chain and parasitic environment, the park is situated in the Paonta Valley of Sirmour District of the state of Himachal Pradesh. The vegetation consists of various species of herb, medicinal plants and shrubs. Clustered with Sal forests and grassy glades, there is a perennial stream flowing in this region all year round. The park is also home to Goral, Sambhar, Spotted deer, Chittal, Himalayan black beer, Hanuman langurs, Indian muntjacs and several other animals. Additionally, the walking trails provide a panoramic view of the green slopes and majestic sunsets.
Trekking is an important activity which tourists can enjoy here. It remains a popular activity for exploring the ins and outs of the sanctuary offering the scenic landscape views. The park is indeed the best place to see the wild world in their natural habitat.
Location: State Highway 6A, Dhaula Khan, Himachal Pradesh, India.
The ideal time to visit: October and November.
We hope these 5 national parks in Himachal Pradesh were convincing enough to make you get ready to travel for your next trip to Himachal Pradesh. With the pressing issue of preserving wildlife and maintaining good biodiversity, it becomes important for peers to be essentially aware of the surrounding concerning facts. The national parks are as a whole a sanctuary to not only the Himalayan flora and fauna but a treat to the eye for the adventure seekers. We love to explore new places as we believe you do too. Feast your eyes with not the verdant greenery of the slopes but indulge in spotting the exotic animals. Last but not least, happy travelling!
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