Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand is an Indian state that turns to be a paradise for any traveler. The scenic beauty, mountain meadows, white glaciers, streams, lush green landscapes, etc. make this 27th state of the Republic of India a favorite holiday destination of the masses. Besides these Uttaranchal also abounds in diversified flora and fauna. The climate of the region proves to be favorable for the growth of vegetation and the survival of a huge variety of wild animals. One of the famous national parks of the country is Nanda Devi National Park.
The national park is a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. Many spectacular peaks like Trishul, Dunagiri, Nanda Devi, Nanda Devi East, etc. encircle the park No one can escape the beauty of the park and its surroundings. Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first mountain climbers to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, described in his autography that "Nanda Devi Sanctuary is God-gifted wilderness-India's-training ground for adventure".
The name of the park is derived from the name of the surrounding Nanda Devi peak, the second highest peak in India. This peak at the backdrop of the park provides excellent views of Mother Nature.
W.W. Garden was the first person to reach the region of this park in the year 1883 when the park was not notified for wildlife conservation. The park was notified in the year 1982. But it was unfortunate that his expedition to the famous peak failed. Later in 1936 Tilmen and N.E. Odell scaled the peak and opened its vistas for the adventure lovers.
Thus the region became a game sanctuary in the year 1939. For the next decade, the park area remained undisturbed and unspoilt. But organized expeditions started in Nanda Devi regularly. After that the sanctuary was notified as a national park in 1982 and later it was designated as a biosphere reserve.
Area and location:
It is situated in the upper Himalayan ranges. It stands at an altitude of 3500 m above mean sea level. The park extends from the latitude 30°24' in the North to the longitude 79°53' in the East. It encompasses an area of 630.33 sq. km. Both Nanda Devi Sanctuary and nearby Valley of Flowers National Park form the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.
Nanda Devi national park is marked for the richness of its flora and fauna. The forest area mainly stretches to the Rishi George. You will find the vegetation that includes birch, juniper, fir, rhododendron, etc. It is to be noted that the conditions within the sanctuary are drier; there is scarce vegetation near the Nanda Devi glacier. As you proceed towards Ramani, you will find alpine vegetation and junior scrubs. Grasses, prone mosses, lichens are also noticed.
A total of 312 floral species can be found here which include 17 species. Other than the floral species, 80 faunal species can be traced here.
Himalayan tahr, serow, Warblers, gresbreaks, goral, snow leopard, bharal, Himalayan black bearleopard, common langur, Himalayan musk deer, brown bear, etc. are the commonly found wild animals.
When to visit?
The park remains open for six months, that is, from 1st May to 31st October. May to June is the period when the temperature increases a bit and hence you can avoid the extreme cold.
Where to stay?
You cannot accommodate in the park area. You can search for some accommodation facilities in Joshimath including those made available by the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam.
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant at Dehradun. The park is almost 295 km from the airport. You can fly to Delhi from this airport.
Rishikesh at a distance of 276 is the nearest railhead. You can travel to Rishikesh from Joshimath by road.
You can travel by road up to Joshimath. From this point you have to go for trekking. You can trek during the summer; because during the rest of the year the park remains closed.
Garhwal has been described as "the most beautiful land in the mountain of the Asian sub-continent" by Dr. T. Longstaff, renowned mountaineer. So go for trekking options in Garhwal. With unlimited adventure in the Nanda Devi national park, your trip will surely add spice to your monotonous life.