Govind Pashu Vihar National Park

Govind Pashu Vihar National Park is a protected area located in the Uttarkashi and Uttarkashi districts of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The park covers an area of approximately 958 square kilometers and is situated in the western part of the Himalayan range.

1Name of the National ParkGovind Pashu Vihar National Park
2Year established1990
3Area in Sq Km958 square kilometers
4Elevation in m1,300 meters to 6,323 meters
5State / States spread inUttarakhand
6Main Animals foundSnow leopard, Himalayan black bear, brown bear, musk deer, bharal (blue sheep)
7Main Birds foundHimalayan monal, koklass pheasant, western tragopan, snow partridge
8Main reptiles foundHimalayan pit viper, common krait, banded krait, king cobra, Indian cobra
9Best time to visitApril to June and September to November

The park was established in 1990 and was named after Govind Singh, a prominent Indian freedom fighter and conservationist. The park was initially established as the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary to protect the endangered Himalayan musk deer, but in 1993, it was upgraded to a national park.

The area is also historically significant, as it was once a part of the ancient silk route that connected India with Central Asia and China. The region was known for its trade in wool, herbs, and other goods, and it played a crucial role in the cultural and economic exchange between India and its neighboring regions.

Geology of the Park

Govind Pashu Vihar National Park is located in the western part of the Himalayan range, and as a result, the weather and geology of the area are heavily influenced by the high altitude and mountainous terrain. The park experiences a subalpine to alpine climate, with cool summers and cold winters. During the summer months, temperatures range from 10°C to 20°C, while in the winter months, temperatures can drop to as low as -15°C. The park also receives significant amounts of snowfall during the winter months, which can last from November to March.

In terms of geology, the park is characterized by steep slopes, deep gorges, and narrow valleys, formed by the erosion of the surrounding mountains over millions of years. The park is also home to several glaciers, including the KedarKantha Glacier and the Har-ki-dun Glacier, which play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of the region. The park is located in the catchment area of the Tons and Yamuna rivers, which are the major sources of water for the region.

Type of Forests and Trees

The national park has various types of forests depending on the altitude. At lower elevations, it has broadleaf forests, which are then replaced by subalpine conifer forests, and eventually by alpine shrub and meadows at higher elevations. The lower regions of the sanctuary have deciduous species like deodar cedar, chir pine, oak, and others. As the elevation increases, conifers such as blue pine, spruce, silver fir, and yew become more common, along with deciduous species like maple, oak, walnut, hazel, horse chestnut, and rhododendron.

Biodiversity of Govind Pashu National Park

The sanctuary is home to approximately fifteen species of large mammals and around one hundred and fifty species of birds. The Indian Government has launched the Snow Leopard Project from this place, aimed at providing special conservation measures to protect this endangered predator. The snow leopard is threatened by the decline of wild prey, poaching for its skin and body parts, and killing by farmers to protect their livestock. Other mammals found in the sanctuary include the Asian black bear, brown bear, common leopard, musk deer, bharal, Himalayan tahr, and serow. Smaller mammals found here include Indian crested porcupine, European otter, goral, civet, hedgehog, Himalayan field rat, Hodgson’s giant flying squirrel, wild boar, masked palm civet, and Sikkim mountain vole.

Bird species found in the sanctuary include several endangered ones, such as golden eagle, steppe eagle, black eagle, bearded vulture, Himalayan snowcock, Himalayan monal pheasant, cheer pheasant, and western tragopan. Smaller bird species found here include owls, pigeons, minivets, thrushes, warblers, bulbuls, parakeets, cuckoos, tits, buntings, and finches.

Information about reptiles in Govind Pashu Vihar National Park is scarce, but it is known to be home to several species of snakes, including the Indian cobra, common krait, and Russell’s viper. Additionally, the park is also known to be home to various species of lizards, including the Himalayan gecko, skinks, and agamids.

Best time to visit Govind Pashu National Park

The best time to visit Govind Pashu Vihar National Park is from May to November, during the summer and monsoon seasons. The weather is generally pleasant during this time, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C. The monsoon season starts in July and lasts till September, making the park lush and green with plenty of waterfalls and streams. The park is closed during the winter season, from November to April, due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold temperatures.

Nearby attractions to Govind Pashu Vihar National Park include the Kedarkantha trek, Har Ki Dun trek, and Yamunotri temple.

Some of the popular treks and mountains under Govind Pashu Vihar National Park are:

  • Kedarkantha Trek: This trek is a popular winter trek that takes you through the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park to the summit of Kedarkantha peak, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges.
  • Har Ki Dun Trek: This trek takes you to the scenic Har Ki Dun valley, which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush green forests. The trek is known for its beautiful campsites and traditional villages.
  • Bali Pass Trek: This is a challenging trek that takes you over the Bali Pass, which is located at an altitude of 4,800 meters. The trek takes you through some of the most remote and scenic parts of the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park.
  • Swargarohini Peak: This is a popular mountaineering destination located in the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park. The peak is located at an altitude of 6,252 meters and offers stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges.
  • Black Peak: Also known as Kalanag, Black Peak is located at an altitude of 6,387 meters and is a popular mountaineering destination in the park. The peak offers stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges and is known for its challenging climb.

The park holds significant importance in conserving the biodiversity of the Western Himalayas. The Snow Leopard Project, inaugurated by the Indian Government, is a major conservation effort to protect the endangered snow leopard population in the park. The park is also home to many other endangered species, including the Himalayan black bear, musk deer, and Himalayan tahr.

In conclusion, Govind Pashu Vihar National Park is a vital sanctuary for the preservation of the Western Himalayan ecosystem and its unique biodiversity. Visitors can enjoy its natural beauty and wildlife while also contributing to conservation efforts.

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