Pin Vally National Park
This National Park is situated in the cold desert Ibex of Spiti Valley. In this area visitors come across large herds of Ibex and Bharal. Snow leopard is found in this park. This area can be visited only by those who have tough leg muscles and strong lungs. Visitors can contact Divisional Forest Officer Wildlife Division Sarahan, Assistant Conservator of Forest Wildlife Kaza or Range Officer Wildlife Tabo for information about the park. The area is closed to foreign visitors. Indian visitors are also required to obtain a permit for entry from Deputy Commissioner, Shimla or Sub Divisional Magistrate, Rampur.
Suketi Fossil Park
Suketi Fossil Park displays life-size fiberglass model of pre-historic animals whose fossils and skeletons were unearthed here. The park is first of its kind in Asia to be developed at the actual site where fossils were discovered. At a distance of 21 Km from Nahan, the Suketi Fossil Park is located on the bank of Markanda river and is approachable by a link road 4 Km from Kala-Amb from Haryana. Located on upper and middle Shiwaliks, consisting mainly of soft sandstone and clay rocks, the park at present has six sets of life-size models of Stegodonganesa (extinct grand elephant) Sivatherium, Hexaprotodon-Sivalensis (hippopotamus with six incisors), Colosschelys Atlas (giant land tortoise and Chelonia), Paramachaerdus (Sabre-Toothed Tiger) and Crocodilia, the animals which once thrived in the region.
The Shiwalik formations contain one of the world’s richest collections of mammalian fossils. From a study of these fossils, it has been possible for the paleontologists to probe into the mysteries of the evolution of prehistoric life and the climate and environment of these periods which go back to the Jurassic era, nearly 8.5 million years ago. The Shiwalik deposits are unsurpassed in the world for the richness of the fauna they entomb.
The other major attraction is the Museum which contains various fossils, models, charts and paintings relating to the various aspects of plants and animals life of the past and present in Shiwalik range.
Kufri Nature Park
Kufri is a well-known tourist resort near Shimla. A large number of tourists visiting Shimla also visit Kufri where a nature park has been established. In this park, rare varieties of Hangal, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Brown Bear, rare species of Monal and other pheasants are kept in social groupings.
Great Himalayan National Park, Kullu – A World Heritage Site
High ridges, valleys with slow-moving glaciers, deep gorges, alpine meadows and acres of closed virgin forests make the Great Himalayan National Park one of the most scenic destinations for nature lovers over the entire Himalayas.
Formed because of complex tectonic forces colliding one geographical plate with another, the area in its remoteness and due to painstaking conservation efforts are taken to protect its diverse flora and fauna habitat got global recognition in June 2014 when it was declared a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Some species of the Western Tragopan and Musk Deer found here are on the list of globally threatened animals.
Spread over four river streams that originate in the park, it shelters 25 types of forests and harbors a rich assemblage of animal species. Rising from subtropical pine tree zones, nature trails move up into temperate, cool temperate, sub-alpine and alpine zones as they cross the tree line and wander into the glacial country with towering peaks around. Snowmelt is the source of several rivers and streams that sustain the park and is vital for human settlements downstream of the park.
There are only but a few existing sanctuaries on the planet with such a varied wildlife habitat and biological diversity that can be found in such a small restricted area.
Naturally protected by high ridges on the northern, eastern and southern boundaries, the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) forms part of the Parvati River catchment. The sanctuary of 765 sq km, on its western end, is contiguous with another 266 sq km of an ecozone area that is sparsely populated by small villages. Outside the eastern boundary of GHNP is the Pin Valley National Park, to the south is Rupi Bhawa Sanctuary and in the north is the Kanwar Wildlife Sanctuary. All of it taken together makes it one of the largest area of relatively least disturbed ecosystems in the entire western Himalayan ranges.
The GHNP is made up of four valleys, namely the Tirthan River, Sainj River, Jiwa Nala and Parvati River; all flowing from east to west to merge with Beas River. The Park has an altitude range starting from 1300m and going up to 6100m, with more than half of it lying over 4000m that consists of deep gorges, precipitous cliffs, rocky crags, glaciers and narrow valleys.
Best time to visit
Best time to visit the park is from April to June and September to November when the weather and visibility are good. Visiting during the rainy season (July-August) and winter (December to March) is not recommended. During the rainy season, there are excessive weeds, paths and bridges suffer damage, and in winter, many areas are snowbound.
Located in the sensitive ‘Western Himalayan Temperate Forests’ GHNP is a global biodiversity hotspot. The park shelters 832 plant species, 192 species of lichen, 12 species of liverworts and 25 species of mosses. In this closed habitat, there are more than 31 mammal species, 209 birds, 9 amphibians, 12 reptiles and 125 insects. Four globally threatened mammals, 3 globally threatened birds and a large number of medicinal plants have protection in the park.
Depending on time, interest and ones physical fitness levels, graded treks can be made to GHNP and the Eco Zone.
1. Neuli-Shangarh Loop – 24 km
2. Neuli, Manu Temple – 12 km (roundtrip)
3. Gushaini, Tinder Village – 12 km
4. Gushaini – Kharmocha – 12 km (roundtrip)
Treks into the Park
1) Sainj Valley: A 5-day trek covering 56 km for around trek.
2) Sainj-Tirthan Valleys: An 8-day trek that crosses two valleys covering a distance of 85 km.
3) Gushaini to Shilt: A moderate grade, 3-day trek from Ecozone into GHNP. The hike covers 30kms.
4) Jiwa Nala to Parvati River valley: A difficult but dramatic 7day trek where the trail crosses the passes of Kandi Galu (3627m) and Phangchi Galu (4636m). The trek covers a 110 km distance.
5)Tirthan River source: A difficult 6-7 day hike to Tirath where the river originates, involves 76 km of walking.
6) Trek to Raktisar in Sainj Valley: Starting out in Sainj Wildlife Sanctuary and moving into GHNP this trek of 6-7days involves about 92 km of walking.
7) Crossing the Pin Parvati Pass: A very difficult grade, the 6-day trek that goes from Pulga to Pin Valley in Spiti over the Pin Parvati Pass (5,319m altitude). The trek covers a distance of 90km and one needs to be in excellent physical condition.
Recommended Clothing / Gear
Physical fitness is a must for trekking in tough terrain. Sturdy shoes, preferably hiking shoes, with good gripping are essential for long walking. Rain gear and sun screen are needed.
- A warm hat, sun hat, scarf, and gloves.
- Down or insulated vest/jacket.
- Rain-proof parka.
- Socks and sock liners.
- Slippers/sandals for inside tent.
- Thermal underwear sunglasses.
- A handy binocular.
- An adjustable walking stick
- Water bottle, Swiss Army knife.
- Camping tent, sleeping bag, insulated mat.
- Cooking utensils and food should be part of your backpack gear for trekking.
Permits for entering the park are issued by Director GHNP at Kullu and also by Range Officer’s stationed at Sairopa (Banjar), Largi and Sainj. Visitors have to pay an entrance and camera fee.
Foreign visitors on a multi-day tour of the park must show evidence of insurance cover in case of any emergency medical or evacuation aid needed.
GHNP can be reached from Aut. A branching road from the Chandgiarh-Bilaspur-Kullu-Manali highway at Aut, a little ahead of Mandi, leads to the park. From Aut, Largi is 4 kms. Two routes from Largi, one along the Sainj Nala (motorable up to Neuli – 26 kms.) and the other along Tirthan Nala (motorable up to Gushani – 28 kms) gets to the park entrance. GHNP has to be covered on foot as no mule or horse transport is allowed.
The nearest airport is at Bhuntar (50 km) and the nearest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar (100 km).
Inside the park are 14 inspection huts which are used for staying with prior permission from the park authorities.
In the vicinity of GHNP there is rest house and transit accommodation available at:
- Forest Rest House, Aut
- PWD Rest House, Larji
- PWD Rest House, Banjar
- Forest Rest House, Sainj
- Forest Rest House, Bandal
- Transit Accommodation, Sairopa
- PWD Rest House, Bathad
- Forest Rest House, Shangar
Gopalpur Nature Park
Gopalpur is a village situated near Palampur on the Palampur-Dharamsala upper road. Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh is another area where visitors come regularly. In this nature park, animals are kept in large enclosures and conservation messages are conveyed to the visitors through audio-visual aids.
Manali Nature Park
Manali is another tourist spot attracting a large number of visitors. To expose visitors to nature and to create awareness and love for wild life it is planned to develop many other facilities at Manali. There is a wild life sanctuary about 2 Km away from Manali town.
The tourists will be encouraged to visit this area and see the magnificence of nature here.
Himachal Pradesh is known as ‘Devbhoomi – Land of the Gods’ and we make it our endeavor to keep it so by conserving the states rare and precious natural heritage.
NO Plastics: When visiting Himachal Pradesh, Say NO to PLASTICS. Use of polythene/plastic bags is banned in the state and anyone seen using plastic is liable to be penalized.
Carry your own bag when you go out for shopping.
Avoid buying water in disposable bottles. It is advisable to carry your own water bottles and refill it with water from reliable and safe resources.
Litter: Do take an effort to collect all non-biodegradable litter and carry it for safe disposal outside the park. Leaving it lying around damages and destroys a previously preserved eco-system.
Noise: The glory of the Himalayas is best experienced in blissful solitude. Please don’t play blaring loud music as it alerts and disturbs the animals and birds in the park. One may not be able to sight any if there is music being played around.
Vandalism: Nature intended trees and rocks to remain unmarked by human beings. Nor were our monuments built to practice the art of graffiti on them. Please do not scratch your name or a message on trees, rocks, mountains or monuments.
Last but not least
Enjoy yourself with responsibility
Do not mix drinking and driving
Leave Nothing but Footprints
Take nothing but vivid experiences & photographs