Great Himalayan National Park
Seraj Tehsil of Kullu District, Himachal
754 sq kms.
Major Attractions :
Tragopan, Tahr, Snow Leopard,
Himalayan Black Bear etc.
Best Time to Visit :
March to May & September to
From sunrise to sunset.
Entry Fee :
No entry fee, but you have to take special
permits which can be collected from the office of the Park Director. Permit
rates are Rs. 2 for Indians and Rs. 4 for foreigners, guide and camera
charges are extra.
Introducing Great Himalayan National Park
on its three sides by the lofty peaks of the majestic Himalayas, the Great
Himalayan National Park is undoubtedly a perfect place to go for a
rendezvous with the wildlife. Although, Great Himalayan National Park
remains snow-covered almost all through the year, but here lives one of the
most interesting wildlife populations of Himalayas.
The 1980's Himachal Wildlife Project (HWP) survey of the Upper Beas region,
including the wathersheds of Tirthan, Sainj and Jiwanal in the Banjar area
of Kullu district, eventually led to establishment of the Great Himalayan
National Park in 1984. With the notification of the park, the villagers were
banned from collecting morel mushrooms, medicinal plants and gazing their
cattle within the park boundaries.
The park with the altitudes ranging from 1,700-5,800 m, encompasses
beautiful snow-capped mountains, shimmering rivers, verdant valleys and
thrilling steep cliffs. The vast range of altitude supports a variety of
wild animals and deciduous broadleaved forests of oak, pine and deodar,
while grasses and colourful wildflowers crowd alpine meadows in the high
Flora of the National Park
Due to diversity of terrain and altitude, Great Himalayan National Park
reflects a corresponding diversity in its vegetation. Great Himalayan
National Park is covered with a wide variety of forests that vary from
sub-tropical to alpine. About one third of the park area is dotted with
canopy forests which stretch from the bottom of the valley to a height of
3,330 to 3,600 metre. While you move further to a height above 4,000 metre,
you will find sub-alpine and alpine scrub vegetation. In addition to these,
the alpine flowers of varied colours, from deep red to blue, add more to the
beauty of the park.
Fauna of the National Park
Great Himalayan National Park provides shelter to a 375 faunal species
including 31 mammals, 203 birds, 9 amphibians, 3 reptiles and 127 insects.
Among the variety of mammals which you can see, the largest are the
Himalayan Tahr, Ghoral, Bharal or Blue Sheep, Leopards, Snow Leopards,
Himalayan Black Bear and Asiatic Brown Bear. Besides, you can also spot
several smaller mammals like the Great Indian Flying Squirrel and the Indian
Great Himalayan National Park also houses large number of bird species like
Monal, Koklass, Western Tragopan etc.
Activities You Can Take Part In
Great Himalayan National Park is home to
massive tracts of virgin and unexplored forests, which offers excellent
opportunity of wildlife spotting. Trekking is the only way to explore the
park and spotting the varied wildlife. While you trek in the park area, you
will be rewarded with some spectacular views of birds or other wild animals.
Popular trekking routes in the Great Himalayan Park are Sainj Valley Trek,
Sainj-Tirthan Valley Trek, Jiwa Nala to Parvati River Valley, Tirath/Tirthan
Valley Trek and Raktisar.
Apart from trekkers, Greath Himalayan National Park is also a
favorite haunt for bird watcher's. Here, at GHNP you will find a wide
variety of birds, the most popular being the Monal, the Koklass and the
Endangered Western Tragopan.
25 kms away from Gushaini, Shoja is a small, but
amazingly beautiful village at a height of 8,000 ft. To reach this village,
you have to take an hour of slightly challenging drive via Banjar and Jibi
(5 km). While you are on the way to Shoja, the route takes you through dense
forests, pass small waterfalls and lush green fields.
Seruvalsar Lake :
This picturesque lake is situated at a
distance of 36 kms from Gushaini. A 6-km long walk from the Jalori Pass,
brings you to this lake. On the way forests of oak, blue pine, spruce and
fir and lovely surrounding views add more to the charm of your journey.
This popular hill station is located at a distance
of 50 kms from Gushaini. It takes 1.5 hrs from Gushaini to reach Kullu.
Where to Stay
Within the Great Himalayan National Park, the choice of accommodation is
limited and where available it is essentially transit accommodation for
trekkers. Within the park, you can stay either in tents or in the
rudimentary patrolling huts built by the Forest Department. All the huts are
located close to streams and they can accommodate six to eight people.
Staying in these huts is free of cost, but don't forget to carry your own
tents during the peak trekking season between May and June.
Outside the park, you can stay at rest houses but they are not too
different from those inside the park. Choose any of the forest rest houses
situated at Aut, Sainj, Sai Ropa and Shangarh. Some of the popular
accommodation options are the Range Office Complex (Sai Ropa), Inspection
Hut (Lapah), Raju Guest House (Gushaini), Apple Valley Resort (Kullu), Hotel
Span Resorts (Katrain) etc.
How to Reach
Kullu (60 kms) is the nearest town from the Great Himalayan National Park.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh, Kullu is
well-connected to the rest of the country by air, rail and road. Kullu's
airport, at Bhuntar has flights from across the country. Chandigarh is the
nearest major railhead from Kullu, which is linked by several trains with
Delhi and other cities of the country.
National Highway and state roads connect Kullu with many major cities in
northern India like Shimla, Delhi, Chandigarh and Ambala. From Kullu, take
the National Highway - 21 which leads to Aut, from where a motorable road
takes you to the park. You can hire a vehicle at Kullu to do the trip to
Gushaini or Neuli, from where onwards, you need to go on foot, as no vehicle
are allowed further.