Uttarakhand is known for its natural beauty, the abundant flora and fauna found on the Himalayas, Bhabhar and Terai and also the various temples found on these hills. The abundant wildlife found in this state has led to it being the dwelling of many national parks, a few of which are listed as follows:
1. Jim Corbett National Park
Located in Nainital, Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established to protect the endangered Bengali tiger. A popular destination with wildlife lovers and for ecotourism, tourist activities are allowed only in selected areas of the park. A total of 488 species of plants have been recorded and more than 586 species of resident and migratory birds. These birds include the blossom headed parakeet, crested serpent eagle and the jungle fowl. Bengal tigers are not easily spotted due to camouflage and abundant growth of foliage. Also found are Indian elephants, leopards and other small jungle cats, Himalayan black bears, Rhesus macaques and the Indian python, which is capable of killing a deer.
2. Valley Of Flowers National Park
The second core zone of the Nanda Devi biosphere reserve, Valley Of Flowers National Park is a singularly beautiful place which has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is named for the incredible display of alpine flowers covering the land mass. It is home to the Himalayan musk deer, blue sheep and the endangered snow leopard. The spectacular view of this park is on account of the lush expanse of wild flowers, snow draped mountains and the waterfalls that grace this site.
3. Nanda Devi National Park
Adjoining the valley of flowers, Nanda Devi is also a part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. A total of 114 bird species and 312 floral species including 17 rare species have been recognized here. It is home to the Himalayan Tahr, Langurs, carnivores such as the snow leopard, brown bear and black bear. Juniper, fir, birch and rhododendron trees comprise the major fauna. Trekking is also allowed here.
4. Gangotri National Park
Green meadows coupled with the snow laden peaks forms the expanse of Gangotri National Park. Located in the Uttarkash district of Uttarakhand, Gangotri houses about 15 species of mammals and about 150 bird species. These include the Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Monal, musk deer, Himalayan snowcock and the snow leopard. Activities such as jeep rides, hiking and trekking can also be enjoyed here.
5. Rajaji National Park
Located near the foothills of the Himalayas and encompassing the Shiwalik ranges, Rajaji National Park has been given the status of a tiger reserve by the Indian government. It houses a varied flora from riverine vegetation to scrublands, grasslands and even pine forests which is responsible for the numerous wildlife species found here. Striped hyena, the majestic King Cobra, sloth bear and the Bengal tiger are only a few of the more unusual species found here.
Right from the wild and untamed Jim Corbett Park to the euphoric meadows of the Valley of Flowers, A trip to Uttarakhand is sure to provide you with the best of nature that India has to offer. Make sure you do not miss visiting the above places upon your visit to the ‘Land of the Gods’.