National Parks in Uttarakhand

The 630 km² national park is located in the spectacular landscape of the Himalayas and surrounds the 7817 m high Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain in India according to historyaah. It is the habitat for numerous animals, including the snow leopard and various bear species. In 2005 the World Heritage was expanded to include the »Valley of Flowers« National Park, which has an extraordinary variety of endemic wildflower species.

National parks in Uttarakhand: facts

Official title: Nanda Devi National Park and the “Valley of Flowers” National Park
Natural monument: 630.33 km² large protected area with 70 snow-capped peaks that form a kind of natural fortress; Summit over 6400 m a.o. the Dunagiri (7066 m), Changbang (6864 m) and Nanda Devi East (7434 m) and Trisul (7120 m); upper Rishi Valley with the glaciers Changbang, North Rishi and North Nanda Devi in ​​the north and the glaciers South Nanda Devi and South Rishi in the south; Designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1939, national park since 1982, first documented foray into this part of the Himalayas in 1883 by W. W. Graham; the valley of flowers encompasses a protected area of ​​around 87.50 square kilometers
Continent: Asia
Country: India, Uttar Pradesh, Chamoli District
Location: Garhwal Himalayas, east of Joshimath
Appointment: 1988; 2005 expansion
Meaning: one of the most spectacular “primeval landscapes” of the Himalayas with the 7817 m high Nanda Devi West as well as the habitat of endangered animal species such as the snow leopard
Flora and fauna: spruces, birches, rhododendrons, alpine herbaceous and shrub layers with juniper up to a height of about 3350 m; 620 species of plants; 14 species of mammals, including Blue sheep, musk deer, the species Goral and Serau, which belong to the forest goat antelopes, the Thar, which belongs to the half-goats, snow leopards, which are described as extremely common in studies, black and brown bears and an Old World monkey, the Hulman, which belongs to the slender monkeys, as residents the rhododendron forests; 114 species of birds such as gray-breasted tits, yellow-bellied fan-tailed flycatcher, redstart, nutcracker and wood pipit; 27 species of butterflies, including blue apollo and swallowtail

Where mountains are gods

“The mountains were once winged like large birds. They flew around and settled where they pleased. But since they occasionally sat close together, the earth often swayed to and fro. So Indra cut off their wings and made the earth firm. But the wings turned into clouds, which is why they always move towards the mountains «, knows a legend from the 6th century about the formation of the Himalayas. This already reveals divine origin in its name, as it is named after Himavat, the father of the deities Parvati and Ganga.

So it is no coincidence that India has named Nanda Devi, the highest mountain lying entirely on the country’s territory at 7,817 meters, as a “sanctuary” and not just a national park. The Nanda Devi government takes the word »nature conservation« very literally, since 1983 it has strictly refused access to one of the most fascinating mountain paradises in the world. Does she fear the wrath of the gods, or are strategic considerations – the border with Tibet close enough to touch – in the foreground?

The landscape is unparalleled: two semicircular, nested rock formations form the outer frame and shield the “sanctuary” from the outside world. In the inner circle, the Nanda Devi rises majestically from the glacier at its feet. A 7000 meter high ridge connects it to its second peak, the 7434 meter high Nanda Devi Ost. This forms – like a diadem of snow and ice with a good dozen six thousand meter peaks – the end of the outer rock barrier.

“The Nanda Devi sanctuary is a god-given wilderness,” wrote Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand’s first to climb Mount Everest, about this natural paradise – by no means a new insight for the residents. Because since time immemorial this inaccessible region of the Himalayas has been sacred ground, the dwelling place of the gods. Nanda Devi embodies the goddess Nanda, behind whom Parvati hides, the companion of Shiva, who in turn owns his “local mountain” with the Trisul, the “trident”. Above all, however, Gahrwal is the headwaters of the Ganges, the sacred river with which the life and religion of India have been fatefully linked for millennia. Lord Shiva dampened the masses of water that fell from heaven, implored by holy Bhagiratha, with the braid of his hair and led them in several source rivers into the lowlands.

The locals avoided the Nanda Devi as an enchanted world. No one would ever have approached the roaring Rishi Ganga, where the seven Rishi, the wise men of the Himalayas and ancestors of the people, had their home. This is how the beauty of the high mountains first opened up to European mountaineers. Tom Longstaff came to the region at the end of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1936 that Eric Shipton and Bill Tillman, pioneers of mountaineering in the Himalayas, penetrated today’s nature reserve. However, the residents of the area are still convinced that this expedition drew the wrath of the gods, as the village of Tharali was devastated by floods on the day of the summit victory.

National Parks in Uttarakhand