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Great Himalayan National Park

Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) situated in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh is one of the least disturbed Western Himalayan representative Eco Systems, supporting an extremely diverse wildlife population. It harbors one of the few known viable population of Western Tragopan ,alongwith more than 300 species of birds and over 30 species of mammals.

The park is contiguous with the Rupi Bhabha sanctuary (269 kms ) in the South East, Pin Valley National Park (675 sq kms.) in the East and Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary in the North, the latter is connected to the Park through the proposed  extension in the Parvati river catchment. Together, these areas constitute one of the largest area of relatively undisturbed Western Himalayan Eco-System in the North India.

The park consists of the upper catchment areas of the Tirthan, Sainj, Parvati and Jiwa Nala, flowing East to West and mingling into Beas River. The bewitching scenic beauty of the park is a complement to its Biological richness.

AREA: The park is sprawled over an area of 765 sq kms.

GEOGRAPHIC CO-ORDINATES : Latitudinal Range: 31 degree 38 min 16 sec to 31 degree 56 min 41 sec North
Longitudinal Range: 77 degree 20 min  to 77 degree 52 min 11 secs East

TOPOGRAPHY: The Park has an altitudinal variation ranging from 1300 m to 6100 m. The terrain is characterised by numerous high ridges (over 4000 m high) deep gorges and precipitous cliffs rocky crags glaciers and narrow valleys. A little over half of the Park area lies above 4000 m altitude.

CLIMATE : Winter Season –October to March

Summer Season : April to June

Rainy Season : July to September , Heavy frost occurs from December to February.The Park experiences snow, but below 3000 metres it does not remain on the ground for a long time. However above 3000 m it persists from November to March.

THE BIODIVERSITY:

FLORA: About 1/3rd of the park area supports closed canopy forests (mainly occurring in belts around Jiva, Sainj and Tirthan Nallahs and their tributaries) extending from the valley bottoms to 3300-3600 meters depending on aspects. A little over half of the area lies above 4000 m the approximate upper limit for alpine meadow communities. The presence of undisturbed Oak forests at low and middle altitude is worth noticing, which is rare outside the park. Alpine meadows occurring above about 3800 m, the upper limit of sub-alpine and alpine scrub communities, hold a high diversity of herbaceous species, many of which have medicinal and aromatic properties and are of great commercial value. The lower altitude forests generally support a dense understorey with a high diversity of shrubs, the important being, Indigofera, Viburnum, Sarcococa and Berberis species.

FAUNA: The park provides an excellent habitat for large number of mammals and the pheasants, paramount among the latter is Western Tragopan one of the highly endangered species of pheasants. Out of the 7 pheasants found in Western Himalayas, six are found in GHNP viz. Western Tragopan, Monal , Cheer, Koklass, Kaliz, Himalayan Snowcock. The park contains the largest remaining population of Himalayan Thar in India. It is possibly the only place in the whole Himalayas where Bharal occurs virtually side by side with Himalayan Thar. Highly endangered Snow Leopard is reported to occur in area within and adjacent to the National Park. The severly endangered Musk Deer occurs particularly in the sub-alpine zone where Monals are also common in summer. The park being an abode of more than 300 species of birds, represent an excellent crosssection of Western Himalayan Avifauna. The park is also having the unexplored treasure of the butterflies and variety of insects.

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT: The best time to visit the park is April to June and September to November when the weather and visibility is good. The park area offers very good opportunity for the visitors to feel nature from close quarters and observe wildlife. The park is not at all accessible by vehicles and can be enjoyed best by trekking.

Trekking through The Great Himalayan National Park provides opportunity to view some of the most endangered wild animals of the Western Himalayas. The treks pass through villages, dense forests over beautiful alpine meadows.

Suggested trek:

The Period of operation: April to early June and September to mid November. Mid June to August the park experiences monsoons.

Rating: Moderate to strenuous
Highest Altitude: 4120 m

Day 01: Manali/ Neuli (100 kms)
Travel by jeep from Manali to Neuli enroute visiting the village of Sainj. Overnight in tents.

Day 02: Neuli/ Niharni (6 kms)
Trek starts. A gradual walk through forest upto the village of Niharni. Overnight in tents.

Day 03: Niharni/ Shangar ( 6 kms)
Again a gradual trek through dense forest of cedar & pirch providing beautiful views and village Bah. Overnight in tents at village Shangar.

Day 04: Shangar/ Dhel (12 kms)
A gradual walk from Shangar to Homkhani (2800 m) and then a steep ascend upto the beautiful meadow Dhel (3737 m). Enroute chances to view the wild life. Overnight in tents at Dhel.

Day 05: Dhel
Trek around the surrounding forest in search of chances to view wildlife. Overnight in tents.

Day 06: Dhel / Gumataro (12 kms)
Strenous trek involving climbing to higher elevation. Difficult trail for about two hours through very narrow terrain. Chances of viewing Himalayan Tha. A long day on the trek. Overnight in tents at Gumataro (4120 m).

Day 07: Gumataro 
Trek around the surrounding areas in search of chances to view wildlife. Here in Gumataro, chances to view the highly endangered Musk Deer (musk is derived out of the pouch possessed by the male) and Himalayan Thar are quite brilliant. Overnight in tents.

Day 08: Gumataro / Shilt (16 kms)
Trek from Gumataro to Shilt. Moderate walk involving moving up & down, through forests and viewing streams & small waterfalls. Here at Shilt there are chances to view wildlife in the evening. Overnight in tents at Shilt (3100 m).

Day 09: Shilt / Gushaini (14 kms)
A steep descent through dense forest down to Gushaini village. From Gushaini travel by jeep back to Manali. Trek ends.

 

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