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Nanda Devi National Park
Nanda Devi National Park is located in Chamoli district of Uttaranchal. It is surrounded by dozen towering peaks including Trishul (7,120 m), Nanda Devi (7,817 m), Dunagiri (7,066 m), Nanda Devi East (7,430 m), Bethartoli (6,352 m) etc. The Nanda Devi National Park was named after the deity Nanda. Nanda Devi group of mountains dominate the Garhwal and Kumaon range of Himalayas. It has an area of 624.6 sq km and an average altitude surpassing 4500 to 5200m.
The area is an extended glacial basin, divided by a series of parallel, north-south oriented ridges. Nanda Devi West, India’s second highest mountain lies on a short ridge projecting into the basin. The enchanting surroundings with lush green meadows, crystal waterfalls and profuse flora and fauna like Brahma Kamal and Bharal (Blue mountain goat) make this sanctuary bliss of natural gifted paradise.
Since 1982 this National Park is temporarily closed to visitors and trekkers to protect its environmental biodiversity. This sanctuary turned National Park has been partially opened recently for limited number of travelers.
Sir Edmund Hillary, described the sanctuary in a very interesting manner, “Nanda Devi Sanctuary is God-gifted wilderness- India’s training ground for adventure”
According to a very popular folklore, it is believed that Nanda Devi, daughter of a local king was forcefully demanded to marry a prowling prince. Hence a war followed through and her father was killed in the bloodshed. She had to flee and take refuge on top of the mountain, now bearing her name. She is protected by a circle of mountains consisting 12 peaks over 6, 400 m in height.
Not more than two visiting groups are permitted in one day and not more than for groups are allowed in a week. One group consists of maximum five visitors. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam management will not be responsible for any mishap as there is no provision of rescue and support at present.
The region is known for its abundance of fauna including Himalayan musk deer, Mainland Serow, Himalayan Thar, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear and Brown Bear, Langur etc. Some 83 species are reported from the biosphere reserve. During 1993 Nanda Devi Scientific Ecological Expedition some 114 bird’s species were recorded including Crested Black Tit, Yellow Bellied Fantail Flycatcher, Orange Flanked Bush Robin, Blue Fronted Redstart, Indian Tree Pipit, Common Rose Finch etc. The park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in December 1988. The name of the park was changed to Sanjay Gandhi National Park, but due to local opposition the name was transferred to Nanda Devi National Park. The first recorded attempt to enter the sacred basin was by W.W. Graham in 1883, but he was unable to proceed beyond the gorge of the Rishi Ganga.
Nanda Devi National Par is one of the most blessed and spectacular wilderness areas of the Himalayas. It is the habitat of several endangered mammals, and rich flora and fauna.
From Rishikesh to Joshimath is 253 km drive followed by a further drive to the road leading to lata village where the trek initiates.
Best time to visit
The park remains open during the six months period from 1st May till 31st October.
Region: Garhwal Himalayas
Trek Duration: 10/12 Days.
Place covered: Rishikesh (340 m), Josjimath (1,890 m), Suraithota (2,161 m), Jhandidhar (3,880 m), Dharansi Pass (4,250 m).
Languages: : Hindi, Garhwal, English.
Annual Rainfall: 1,800.2 mm.