Nanda Devi National Park

Nanda Devi National Park is located in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India, nestled in the midst of the Garhwal Himalayas. It is named after the Nanda Devi peak, which is the second-highest mountain in India after Mount Kanchenjunga. The park is situated around the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and covers an area of 630.33 square kilometers.

1Name of the National ParkNanda Devi National Park
2Year established1982
3Area in Sq Km630.33 sq km
4Elevation in m1,160 m to 7,816 m
5State / States spread inUttarakhand
6Main Animals foundSnow leopard, Himalayan black bear, brown bear, bharal (blue sheep), Himalayan tahr
7Main Birds foundHimalayan monal, koklass pheasant, Himalayan snowcock, Himalayan rubythroat
8Main reptiles foundCommon krait, Himalayan pit viper
9Best time to visitmid-June to mid-October

The history of the park dates back to 1939 when Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman first surveyed the area and called it the “Garhwal inner sanctuary.” In 1982, the area was declared a National Park by the Indian government, and it was later designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Geology of the Park

The park is known for its unique geographical features, which include high-altitude mountains, glaciers, and meadows. It is also home to several rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, making it one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The park is surrounded by several small villages that are inhabited by the Bhotiya community, who are known for their distinct culture and traditions.

The weather and geology of Nanda Devi National Park are heavily influenced by its location in the Garhwal Himalayas. The park is situated at high altitudes ranging from 1,800 to 7,817 meters above sea level, resulting in a cold and harsh climate throughout the year.

Some of the notable mountain peaks located in or near the Nanda Devi National Park include:

  • Nanda Devi – 7,816 meters 
  • Nanda Kot – 6,861 meters
  • Changabang – 6,864 meters
  • Dunagiri – 7,066 meters 
  • Trishul – 7,120 meters 
  • Kamet – 7,756 meters
  • Hathi Parvat – 6,727 meters 
  • Ghori Parbat – 6,708 meters 
  • Bithartoli – 6,799 meters
  • Bethartoli Himal – 6,352 meters

In the winter months (November to February), the park receives heavy snowfall, and temperatures can drop to as low as -20 degrees Celsius at higher elevations. The summer months (May to June) bring milder temperatures, with average highs of around 20 degrees Celsius. However, the monsoon season (July to September) brings heavy rainfall, which can cause landslides and make trekking difficult.

The geology of the park is characterized by rugged mountain terrain, with peaks and ridges made up of granite, gneiss, and other metamorphic rocks. The park is also home to several glaciers, including the Nanda Devi Glacier, which is one of the largest in the region. The park is situated in a seismically active zone, with several fault lines running through the area.

The geography and altitude of the area affect the many types of woods that are present in the park. Oak and rhododendron forests predominate in the park’s lower altitudes. As the altitude rises, these forests give way to mixed conifer forests, where deodar, blue pine, and spruce trees take front stage. A number of high-altitude plant species can be found in the alpine meadows and scrublands that replace the forests at higher elevations.

Type of Forests and Trees

Several tree species that are native to the Himalayan region can be found in the park. These include, among others, fir, spruce, blue pine, and deodar cedar. Oak, rhododendron, maple, and birch are some of the more often encountered tree species in the park. 

Biodiversity of Nanda Devi National park

Some of the animals that can be seen in the park include:

  • Snow leopard
  • Himalayan black bear
  • Musk deer
  • Himalayan tahr
  • Serow
  • Bharal (blue sheep)
  • Common leopard
  • Brown bear
  • Himalayan langur
  • Himalayan goral
  • Himalayan weasel
  • Yellow-throated marten

The park is also a haven for birdwatchers, with several species of birds found in the region. Some of the birds that can be spotted in the park include:

  • Himalayan monal
  • Himalayan snowcock
  • Golden eagle
  • Himalayan griffon
  • Lammergeier
  • Snow pigeon
  • Himalayan tree creeper
  • White-throated tit
  • Rufous-bellied woodpecker
  • Brown-fronted woodpecker

Best time to visit Nanda Devi National Park

The best time to visit Nanda Devi National Park is from mid-April to mid-June and from September to mid-October. During these periods, the weather is relatively pleasant, and the park is open to visitors. However, it is important to note that the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to check the weather forecast before planning a trip. Also, the park remains closed during the monsoon season (July to September) due to the risk of landslides and flooding.

Nanda Devi National Park is a highly significant protected area in the Indian Himalayas, known for its unique biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Some of the nearby attractions to the park include:

  • Valley of Flowers National Park: This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site located close to Nanda Devi National Park. It is known for its beautiful meadows filled with a variety of alpine flowers.
  • Badrinath Temple: A popular Hindu pilgrimage site located about 40 km from the park. It is one of the four sacred shrines in India’s Char Dham yatra.
  • Hemkund Sahib: A Sikh pilgrimage site located near the park. It is believed to be the place where Guru Gobind Singh meditated in his previous life.
  • Auli: A popular ski resort located about 35 km from the park.

Nanda Devi National Park is of immense importance in terms of preserving the unique flora and fauna of the Western Himalayas. The park is home to several endangered species, including the snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, and several species of birds and reptiles. The park’s high altitude and rugged terrain make it a challenging yet rewarding destination for trekkers and adventure enthusiasts.

In conclusion, Nanda Devi National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to experience the serene beauty of the Himalayas. Its unique biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and cultural significance make it a truly special place to visit.

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