Thursday, May 25, 2023

Great Himalayan National Park

Great Himalayan National Park UPSC

The Great Himalayan National Park is a national park located in the Himachal Pradesh, India. It was established in 1984 and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. The park covers an area of about 1,171 square kilometers (452 square miles) and is known for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes.


The Great Himalayan National Park is characterized by dense forests, alpine meadows, high altitude glaciers, and snow-capped peaks, making it a haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.


Table of Contents

  • Great Himalayan National Park Location
  • Great Himalayan National Park History
  • Great Himalayan National Park Area
  • Great Himalayan National Park Hills
  • Great Himalayan National Park Valley
    • Tirthan Valley
    • Parvati Valley
    • Jiwa Nal Valley
    • Sainj Valley
  • Great Himalayan National Park River
    • Tirthan River
    • Sainj River
    • Jiwa Nal River
    • Parvati River
  • Great Himalayan National Park Flora
    • Coniferous Forests
    • Broadleaf Forests
    • Alpine Meadows
    • Medicinal Plants
    • Endemic and Rare Species
  • Great Himalayan National Park Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptiles
  • Snow Leopard
  • Top Things to do in Great Himalayan National Park
  • Great Himalayan National Park UPSC Questions


Great Himalayan National Park Location

The Great Himalayan National Park is located in the Banjaar Sub-Division of Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is situated in the western part of the Himalayan mountain range.


The Great Himalayan National Park is bordered by the Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary to the southeast. The boundaries of GHNP are also contiguous with: the Pin Valley National Park; the Rupi Bhabha Wildlife Sanctuary; and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary. Sainj Wildlife Sanctuary situated within Great Himalayan National Park.


The Great Himalayan National Park is situated at junction of world’s two major biogeographic realms: 

  • Indomalayan realm to the south
  • Palearctic realm to the north


Great Himalayan National Park Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to reach the Great Himalayan National Park is at Bhuntar in Kullu, about 60 km away. 


Great Himalayan National Park Nearest Railway Station:

The closest railhead is Joginder Nagar, near Mandi located about 143 km.

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Great Himalayan National Park History

The Great Himalayan National Park has a rich history that spans several decades. Here are some key points in its history:


Establishment: The idea of creating a national park in the Great Himalayan region was first proposed in the early 1980s. In 1984, the Great Himalayan National Park was officially established by the Government of Himachal Pradesh with the goal of conserving the unique biodiversity and fragile ecosystem of the area.


National Park Status: In 1999, the Great Himalayan National Park was declared a national park under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. This provided legal protection to the park's flora and fauna.


Great Himalayan National Park UNESCO

UNESCO World Heritage Site: In 2014, the Great Himalayan National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was recognized for its outstanding universal value in terms of biodiversity conservation and the preservation of traditional ecological practices.




Great Himalayan National Park Area

The Great Himalayan National Park encompasses a vast area of approximately 1,171 square kilometers (452 square miles). The park stretches across the western part of the Himalayan mountain range, encompassing various elevations.


It was formally declared a National Park in 1999, covering an area of 754.4 sq kms. The total area under Park administration (National Park, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Ecozone) is 1171 sq km, which is together reckoned to as the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (GHNPCA).


The park's area is characterized by diverse landscapes, ranging from deep valleys and dense forests to alpine meadows and high-altitude glaciers. The elevation within the park varies from around 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) to over 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) above sea level.


The Great Himalayan National Park's large area offers ample opportunities for visitors to explore and experience its natural beauty, engage in activities like trekking and camping, and witness its rich wildlife.




Great Himalayan National Park Hills

The Great Himalayan National Park is located in the Kullu region of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. While the park itself is not in the hills, it is surrounded by the majestic Himalayan mountain range, which includes several hills and peaks.


The hills surrounding the Great Himalayan National Park are part of the larger Himalayan mountain system, which stretches across several countries in South Asia. These hills are characterized by their steep slopes, deep valleys, and dense forests. They provide habitat to a wide range of wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, and numerous bird species.




Great Himalayan National Park Valley

The Great Himalayan National Park encompasses a vast area of the Western Himalayas and includes several valleys within its boundaries.


(1) Tirthan Valley:

One of the prominent valleys within the Great Himalayan National Park is the Tirthan Valley. It is a picturesque valley that lies on the banks of the Tirthan River, a tributary of the Beas River. The Tirthan Valley is known for its pristine beauty, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery. It offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life and is a popular destination for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and trekkers.


The Tirthan Valley is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, dense forests, and alpine meadows. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including several species of birds, butterflies, and mammals. The valley offers opportunities for trekking, fishing, camping, and wildlife spotting.


(2) Parvati Valley:

Parvati Valley is a scenic and culturally rich valley located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, India. Named after the Parvati River that flows through it, the valley is known for its breathtaking landscapes, lush greenery, and vibrant atmosphere. It is a popular destination among nature lovers, trekkers, backpackers, and spiritual seekers.


The Parvati Valley is nestled amidst the Himalayan ranges and offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, and terraced fields. The valley is dotted with charming villages, including Kasol, Manikaran, Tosh, and Malana, each with its own distinct character and attractions.


Kasol is often referred to as "Mini Israel" due to its popularity among Israeli tourists. It offers a vibrant backpacking culture, with numerous cafes serving Israeli cuisine and a laid-back atmosphere. Manikaran, on the other hand, is renowned for its hot springs, which are considered sacred by both Sikhs and Hindus.


Trekking is a major highlight of Parvati Valley, with several popular trekking routes leading to high-altitude destinations such as Kheerganga, Grahan, and Pin Parvati Pass. These treks take you through picturesque forests, charming villages, and scenic landscapes.


The valley is also known for its spiritual significance. There are several ancient Hindu temples and sacred sites, including the Rama Temple in Manikaran and the Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara, which attract pilgrims from different parts of the country.


(3) Jiwa Nal Valley:

This Valley nestles along the Jiwa Nal River and lies next to Sainj Valley. Jiwa Nal Valley, also known as Jiwanal Valley, is a lesser-known and less-explored valley of the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is a hidden gem that offers solitude, untouched natural beauty, and a pristine environment.


Jiwa Nal Valley is characterized by its dense forests, gushing waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks. It is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and those seeking offbeat trekking experiences.


The valley remains largely untouched by commercial tourism, providing a serene and peaceful atmosphere. It is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including several species of birds, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. Trekking in Jiwa Nal Valley allows you to explore the unexplored and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.


The valley is also known for its rich cultural heritage. It is inhabited by several indigenous communities, including the Gaddis and Gujjars, who have a deep connection with the land and follow traditional ways of life. Interacting with the locals provides an insight into their customs, traditions, and agricultural practices.


(4) Sainj Valley:

Sainj Valley is a beautiful valley located within the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the four main valleys that make up the park, along with Tirthan Valley, Jiwa Nal Valley, and Parvati Valley. Sainj Valley is known for its stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and cultural heritage.


The valley is named after the Sainj River, which flows through it, and it offers a picturesque setting with snow-capped peaks, dense forests, and meandering rivers. The valley is characterized by its pristine beauty, untouched wilderness, and a sense of tranquility.


The valley is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. It is known for its diverse bird population, with numerous species of resident and migratory birds found in the region. Some of the commonly spotted wildlife in Sainj Valley includes Himalayan tahr, Himalayan brown bear, musk deer, leopard, and various species of pheasants.


Trekking is a popular activity in Sainj Valley, offering opportunities to explore the remote corners of the valley and enjoy its natural beauty up close. There are several trekking routes available, ranging from moderate to challenging, allowing visitors to experience the diverse landscapes, high-altitude meadows, and panoramic views.




Great Himalayan National Park River

The Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh, India, is home to several rivers and streams that enhance the natural beauty and ecological significance of the park. These rivers contribute to the park's diverse ecosystem and provide habitats for a variety of aquatic species. 


Here are some notable rivers in and around the Great Himalayan National Park:


(1) Tirthan River: 

The Tirthan River is one of the major rivers flowing through the park. It originates from the Tirth Peak in the Tirthan Valley and is a tributary of the Beas River. The Tirthan River is known for its crystal-clear waters and is highly valued for trout fishing. It adds to the scenic charm of the park as it meanders through lush forests and rocky landscapes.


(2) Sainj River:

The Sainj River is another prominent river within the Great Himalayan National Park. It originates from the glaciers near the Sainj Valley and merges with the Beas River downstream. The Sainj River is known for its pristine beauty and plays a vital role in supporting the park's diverse flora and fauna. It is an important water source for various wildlife species and provides a habitat for aquatic life.


(3) Jiwa Nal River:

Jiwa Nal River flow through Great Himalayan National Park.


(4) Parvati River:

Parvati River is a another significant river in the region. It is a major tributary of the Beas River and flows through the Parvati Valley, which lies in close proximity to the park. The Parvati River is famous for its scenic beauty, picturesque landscapes, and is considered sacred by the locals. It is an important water resource for the surrounding communities and supports a variety of aquatic species.




Great Himalayan National Park Flora

The Great Himalayan National Park is renowned for its rich and diverse flora, with a wide range of plant species that thrive in its varying altitudes and ecosystems. The park's vegetation is influenced by the Himalayan range's unique climatic conditions, including varying temperatures, rainfall patterns, and altitudinal gradients. 


Here are some notable flora found in the Great Himalayan National Park:


(1) Coniferous Forests:

The lower altitudes of the park are dominated by coniferous forests, characterized by trees such as Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana), and Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii). These evergreen trees provide habitat for various bird species and small mammals.


(2) Broadleaf Forests: 

As you ascend to higher altitudes, broadleaf forests become more prevalent. You'll find a variety of broadleaf tree species like Oaks (Quercus spp.), Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.), and Maples (Acer spp.). Rhododendrons are particularly spectacular when they bloom, covering the hillsides with vibrant colors.


(3) Alpine Meadows: 

At even higher elevations, alpine meadows dot the landscape, characterized by lush grasses, wildflowers, and small shrubs. These meadows provide vital grazing grounds for wildlife, including the Himalayan tahr and musk deer. Common plant species in alpine meadows include Kobresia, Carex, and various species of primroses and saxifrages.


(4) Medicinal Plants:

The Great Himalayan National Park is known for its abundance of medicinal plants, many of which are traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine. Plants like Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata), Kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa), and Aconitum species have significant medicinal properties and are harvested sustainably by local communities.


(5) Endemic and Rare Species:

The park is also home to several endemic and rare plant species found exclusively in this region. These include the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis spp.), Himalayan Edelweiss (Leontopodium spp.), and various species of gentians, primroses, and orchids.




Great Himalayan National Park Fauna (Great Himalayan National Park Animals)

The Great Himalayan National Park is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife. The park's varied ecosystems, including forests, alpine meadows, and high-altitude habitats, support a wide range of animal species. 


Here are some notable fauna found in the Great Himalayan National Park:


Mammals:

  • Snow Leopard
  • Serow
  • Himalayan Tahr
  • Musk Deer
  • Bharal (Blue Sheep)
  • Himalayan Brown Bear
  • Himalayan Black Bear


Birds:

  • Western Tragopan
  • Koklas
  • Cheer Pheasants
  • Long-tailed Minivets
  • Yellow-bellied Fantails
  • Wallcreepers
  • White-collared and Gray-winged blackbirds
  • Variegated Laughing Thrush
  • Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler
  • Spectacled Finch
  • Golden Bush Robin
  • Blue-capped Redstart
  • Black-throated Thrush
  • Black-throated Accentor
  • Little Forktail
  • Crested Kingfisher
  • Blue Whistling Thrush
  • Yellow-billed Magpie
  • Greyheaded and Black-crowned Flycatcher-warblers
  • Bar-tailed Treecreeper
  • Lammergeiers
  • Himalayan Griffon Vultures
  • Golden Eagles


Note- World’s largest known population of the Western Tragopan is also found in the upper part of Great Himalayan National Park.


Reptiles:

  • Himalayan Pit Viper 
  • Kashmir Rat Snake 
  • Common Skink
  • Himalayan Gecko
  • Himalayan Pitless Skink




Great Himalayan National Park Snow Leopard

The Great Himalayan National Park is known for being a habitat for the elusive and majestic snow leopard (Panthera uncia). Snow leopards are one of the most iconic and endangered big cat species in the world. 


Snow leopards inhabit rugged and remote mountainous regions at high altitudes, typically above the tree line. The park's steep valleys, rocky cliffs, and alpine meadows provide suitable habitat for these elusive cats.


In the Great Himalayan National Park, they are found in the higher reaches of the park, where they can navigate the challenging terrain and find suitable prey.




Top Things to do in Great Himalayan National Park

The Great Himalayan National Park offers a wealth of natural beauty, biodiversity, and adventure opportunities for visitors. 


Here are some of the top things to do in the Great Himalayan National Park:


  • Trekking and Hiking
  • Wildlife Spotting
  • Birdwatching
  • Nature Photography
  • Camping and Nature Immersion
  • Village Visits and Cultural Immersion
  • Conservation Activities




Great Himalayan National Park UPSC Questions

Q. Great Himalayan National Park is famous for which animal? (Which animal is found in Great Himalayan National Park?)

A. Great Himalayan National Park is famous for Snow Leopard, Bharal (Blue Sheep), Himalayan Black Bear and Brown Bear.


Q. Great Himalayan National Park is located in which state?

A. The Great Himalayan National Park is located in the Banjaar Sub-Division of Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India.


Q. Which state has the famous Great Himalayan National Park?

A. Himachal Pradesh, India.


Q. What is Great Himalayan National Park also known as?

A. Great Himalayan National Park is also known as Jawahar Lal Nehru National Park.


Q. Why is Great Himalayan National Park famous?

A. Great Himalayan National Park is famous for Snow leopard.


Q. Which river passes through Great Himalayan National Park?

A. Sainj, Jiwa Nal, Tirthan River and Parvati river passes through Great Himalayan National Park.

Great Himalayan National Park

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