One of the most serene and tranquil of national parks in the country, the Nanda Devi National Park in Uttarakhand is a paradise for nature lovers and those who seek to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. Covering an area of more than 630 square kilometers, the Nanda Devi park, when combined with the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, is 2,236 square kilometers. Notified as a national park in 1982, Nanda Devi National Park covers the area around the Nanda Devi Peak which is 7,817 meters high. The adjoining Valley of Flowers National Park and this park were recognized as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. The park was further notified as World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO in 2004. Nanda Devi National Park is protected by a buffer zone covering more than 5,000 square kilometers.
Nanda Devi Sanctuary, which comes under the Nanda Devi National Park, is surrounded by high peaks that stand between 6,000 and 7,500 meters in height. The park is situated at an elevation of more than 3,500 meters above mean sea level (MSL). The formidable Rishi Ganga Gorge runs through this park and it was only till 1934 that Eric Shipon and HW Tilman crossed into the inner sanctum of the park and conducted an extensive expedition and documentation of the park. High ridges and ravines form the backdrop of this park with two glaciers—the Uttari Rishi Glacier (North) and the Dakshini Rishi Glacier (South) flanking the peak of Nanda Devi Mountain, the second highest in India.
According to ancient scriptures, this whole area was home to the Aryans, Mongolian and Himalayan indigenous races.
The sanctuary is divided into the outer and inner sanctuaries by the Rishi Ganga. The Ramani Glacier flanks the northern side of the sanctuary, while the Trishul Glacier is on the south. This is reachable by crossing a 4,000 feet pass. The notable peaks dotting the ridges, dividing the inner and outer sanctuaries are Nanda Devi at 7,816 meters, Devistan-I at 6,678 meters, Devistan-II at 6529 meters and Rishi Kot at 6,236 meters.
The national park is host to more than 300 varieties of flowering species including rhododendron and juniper. Because of the altitude and weather conditions, Nanda Devi is almost devoid of vegetation.
Temperature in the winter months can drop anywhere from 8 degrees to 12 degrees C and even lower as winter progresses. For six months, the area is blanketed by snow. As summer months approach, the snow thaws and the weather clears, making way for pleasant days. months climbing as high as 25 degrees C.
Best Time to Visit
The park is open from May to October each year except during floods and natural calamities. Then it is shut off from the rest of the country. For those who want to concentrate on the Valley of Flowers, you should ideally visit it during August and September.
Wildlife at Nanda Devi National Park
Mammals like the Himalayan Musk Deer, Mainland Serow and the Himalayan Tahr can be spotted here. Gorals too can be sighted though they are more commonly found in the near vicinity of the park rather than inside it. The illusive Snow Leopard, the Himalayan Black Bear or Brown Bear, the Himalayan Mush Deer and Langur can been seen. Rhesus Macaques are commonly spotted near the park. More than 114 bird species have been recognized here.
Birds that can be spotted here the Yellow-bellied Fantail Flycatcher, Black Tit, Blue-fronted Redstart, Indian Tree Pipit, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, the Common Rosefinch and the Nutcracker. There have been at least 28 different varieties of butterflies documented here.
Distance from Major Cities
Delhi– 502 kilometers
Chennai– 2639 kilometers
The nearest airport connecting to Nanda Devi National Park is the Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun, about 295 kilometers away.
Nearest Railway Station
The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, 276 kilometeres away. From Rishikesh one can proceed by road.
The nearest road is Lata, 30 Kilomerers from Joshimath. Joshimath is accessable by road and regular transport is available from Rishikesh and other cities and town to get to Joshimath. The trek to the national park begins from Govindghat.
Before setting out on the trek, one can stay at Joshimath, Auli or Gadora. During the trek, visitors stay at camps that have been set up along the way. It is wise to check availability of tours and accommodation as the state government permits a limited number of groups each season.
A minimum of three persons will be permitted to make a group. For Indians the rates are INR 2,500 per day per person and for foreign nationals the rates are INR 26,00 per person per day.
Useful Contacts for Bookings and Accommodation
Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd
74/1 Rajpur Road
Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd
45, Gandhi Road, Hotel Dhrona
The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
85, Rajpur Road