Nanda Devi National Park
Nanda Devi National Park is encircled by five peaks and by an inaccessible gorge in the west. It is situated at an elevation of 11,500 feet above sea level. The second highest mountain peak of India,Nanada Devi (25,646 ft), towers over this national park. Established in 1982, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
The park has remained untouched and unspoilt due to its inaccessibility, and restrictions. The Nanda Devi sanctuary, a glacial basin, is located inside the park. In his autobiography, world-renowned mountaineer, Sir Edmund Hillary, described Nanda Devi Sanctuary as a God-gifted wilderness-Indias-training ground for adventure. In 1988, this God-gifted wilderness was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO and, IUCN has placed it in the category of strict nature reserve.
The inner part of the sanctuary gives the impression of a letter E written in the wrong way. The two middle strokes are formed of the main and east peaks of Nanda Devi. The other peaks that complete the letter E are Latu Dhura, Sakram, Banchu, Deo Damla, Mangraon, Kalanka, and Changabang. The peaks of Maiktoli, Devtoli, Devistan, Panwali Dwar and Nanda Khat are located towards the south.
In the inner region of the wildlife sanctuary, Rishi Ganga originates near the confluence of the two glaciers, and flows through the Rishi Gorge. The outer sanctuary ring is formed of many Himalayan peaks, including Ronti, anda Ghunti, Trishul, Bethartoli Himal, Hanuman, Dunagiri, and Mrigthuni. There is almost no vegetation near the Nanda Devi Glacier
Flora: Fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper, juniper scrubs, grasses, prone mosses and lichens. 312 floral species have been recorded, and out which around 17 species are considered to be of rare kind.
Fauna: The place is well-known for its Ungulates population. Bharal, Himalayan tahr, serow, goral, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, brown bear, leopard, common langur, Himalayan musk deer, and brown beer
Avian-Fauna: A total of 114 bird species were recorded during the 1993 Nanda Devi Scientific and Ecological Expedition. The birds include Warblers, gresbreaks, rose finches and ruby throat.
The natural beauty of this sanctuary is a sight to behold. Along with enjoying the pristine surroundings, you can spot, discover and observe some of the rare and endangered wildlife species here.
Exact Location: Nanda Devi National Park is located in the Chamoli district of Uttaranchal. Its part of the Garhwal Himalayas and is situated in the upper Himalayan ranges. The entry to the park is from Lata village that is almost 23 km from Joshimath.
Area: 630.33 sq. km
Route: Trekking is the only means by which one can reach the park from Joshimath. The roads lead till Joshimath and not beyond. The nearest railhead is nearly 276 km away in Rishikesh and the nearest airport is in Dehradun, which is 295 km. Taxis and buses are available from these places to Joshimath.
Best Time to Visit: April to October.
Things to keep in mind
- The place is snow bound for six months of the year.
- The Nanda Devi National Park entertains only restricted number of tourist.
- At a time, maximum of five visitors are allowed inside the park. Not more than two groups are permitted in a day and not more than four groups are permitted in a week.
- Only visitors above 14 years are allowed in the park.
- The terrain is hilly and arduous, a visitor should get himself medically checked and should take all precautionary measures on his own.
- No accommodation in provided in the Park. One Has to Stay in Joshimath.
- To explore the park you have to traverse on foot, for which special permits are required.
Things to Carry
- Walking stick
- Hiking shoes
- Woolen clothes
- Water, juices, snacks
- Electric torch
- Medical kit
- A good compass
- An extra pair of clothes
Joshimath: This hill station is situated at an altitude of 6,000 ft in the mountain slopes above Alaknanda and Dhauliganga Rivers. The place is a paradise for nature lovers, offering panoramic view of the snow-clad mountains, verdant surroundings and more. Joshimath, also known as Jyotirmath, is one of the four maths established in the 8th century AD by Adi Guru Shri Shankaracharya. This place is also the base for trekking to the Valley of Flowers.