If you want to have a real jungle experience in India, there is only one place to go – The Nanda Devi National Park. It is one of the most outstanding Himalayan wildernesses. Its most prominent physical feature is the Nanda Devi peak that rises to 7,800 meters...

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

If you want to have a real jungle experience in India, there is only one place to go – The Nanda Devi National Park. It is one of the most outstanding Himalayan wildernesses. Its most prominent physical feature is the Nanda Devi peak that rises to 7,800 meters.  The geographical terrain where the park is located makes it inaccessible by humans, a fact that has augured well with the ecosystem – it has remained unchanged for centuries. Get ready to spot the rare and endangered species of Asia such as the Himalayan musk deer, the snow leopard and the bharal.

Location and Geography

The park is located in the Chamoli District within the larger Garhwal Himalaya. It features the catchment area where the Rishi Ganga arises. This river joins the Dhauli Ganga to flow into the mighty Alaknanda River at Joshimath. The park is a vast glacial basin with north-south orientated ridges. The landscape is made even more alluring by the peaks such as the Dunagiri, Nanda Devi East and the Changbang.

Nanda Devi West is India’s 2nd highest mountain and is connected by a short ridge to the Nanda Devi East on the park’s eastern rim. An impressive gorge cuts across the Devistan-Rishikot ridge just below the confluence of the North and South Rishi Rivers.

Vegetation

The vegetation here changes from forests to alpine meadow as the altitude changes. At the altitude of 3350 meters and below, you will find forests that feature birch, fir and rhododendron vegetation. Past this altitude, the vegetation starts to thin out and eventually become scanty. You will get alpine meadows, scrub juniper, grasses, mosses and lichens. You will also find annual herbs and dwarf willows. An interesting landscape, isn’t?

The wooded vegetation is important for the local populations as a total of 97 species are sued for medicinal value, food, fodder, tools, house building, religious purposes etc.

Fauna Diversity

Be assured that in this park, you will get your best chance at sighting the Himalayan musk deer, Himalayan black, and brown bears, langur, rhesus macaque, etc. You will also get a chance to examine a whopping 114 species of birds with the most common being; crested black tit, yellow-bellied fantail flycatcher, orange-flanked bush robin, blue-fronted redstart, Indian tree pipit, vinaceous-breasted pipit, common rose finch and nutcracker.

If such a diverse presence of flora and fauna is not an incentive enough to visit the Nanda Devi National Park, then I do not know what is.

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