Enveloped by the mighty Himalayan Mountains from three sides, the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) is home to one of the densest populaces of Himalayan flora and fauna including some of the species on the brink of extinction. Boasting a vibrant diversity of floral and faunal species, GNHP is situated 50km from the hill station Kullu in Himachal Pradesh and spans across an area of 755sq. kilometers. The park was developed in 1984 to conserve and protect the Himalayan wildlife species and was given the status of a National Park in the year 1999.
The park has a stunning and mesmerizing landscape apart from its exotic species of animals that attract travelers from all over the country. The mountains are mostly covered with snow caps and the vast expanse of green grassland perfectly contrasts with the white and brown façade of the towering hills. For someone who is a nature and wildlife lover, the place is no less than a paradise. The GHNP boasts of housing over 375 fauna species which comprises 31 species of mammals and 181 species of exotic birds. Some of the fine fauna in the park consist of snow leopard, blue sheep, Himalayan brown bear, goral, and various others. The variety of birds found in GNHP includes golden eagles, Himalayan griffon vultures, raptors, etc. The park also houses the scarce species of western tragopan and over 50 species of migrant birds.
The flora in the park mainly consists of dry deciduous forests and short green grass and the scenery is laid with tall teak and alpine trees, shrubs, herbs, and a plethora of medicinal plants which delight the pharmacists. The park has many small streams and rivers flowing in the area that fulfills the need for water for the wildlife. The major source of water for the neighboring regions, the park has Beas, Sainj, Jiwa, and Tirthan rivers galloping through the mountains. The national park is also known and famous for trekking expeditions and has some of the most adventurous and scenic trails. The secluded location of the park has safeguarded the communities inhabiting there which comprise the ecozone of 160 villages, by offering them the discretion to develop a culture of their own. enumerated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, the Great Himalayan National Park is one of the biggest and most breathtaking national parks in India.
The vegetation in the park is a diverse mixture of Ban Oak Forest, Moist Deodar Forest, Western Mixed Coniferous Forest, Moist Temperate Deciduous Forest, Himalayan Alpine Pastures, and Rhododendron Scrub Forest. The area below 2000 meters is dominated by blue pine and higher up by a broad broadleaved forest on sloping areas. Other variety of flora consist of oak, blue pine, cedar, deodar, bamboo, Iris, Frittilaria, Gagea, Primula, and Taxus Baccata.
Mammals: Himalayan Musk Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Brown Bear, Barking Deer, Goral, Snow Leopard, Ibex, Wolf, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Black Bear, Muntjac, and Serow.
Birds: Western Tragopan, Monal, Koklass, White-Crested Kaleej, Cheer Pheasant, Long -Tailed Minivets, Yellow-Bellied Fantails, Wallcreepers, White-collared Balckbirds, Grey-winged Blackbirds, Variegated Laughing Thrush, Scaly Breasted Wren Babbler, Spectacled Finch, Golden Bush Robin, Blue-capped Redstart, Black-throated Thrush, Black-throated Accentor, Little Forktail, Crested Kingfisher, Blue Whistling Thrush,Yellow-bellied Magpie, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, etc.
The temperature ranges from 2-10 degrees Celsius during winters and 10-18 degrees Celsius during the summers. The monsoons are not very harsh but trekking is not possible during those months.
The ideal time to visit the park and to behold its majestic beauty is between April to October. The weather is bearable during this time of the year and the Himalayan eco-tourism organizes treks during these months.
By Air: The nearest airport to GNHP is Bhuntar in Kullu, at a distance of 60km. The airport welcomes regular flights from Delhi to here.
By Rail: Joginder Nagar, near Mandi, is the closest railhead to GNHP, approximately at a distance of 143km away. Frequent trains ply between Joginder Nagar and Chandigarh.
By Road: There are no direct motorable roads to this national park, instead, there are a couple of gravel roads. From Kullu, either take the route from Ropa to Shangarh in Sainj Valley or from Gushaini to Ropa in Tirthan Valley and reach the park entrance.