Monday, September 25, 2023

Top 5 National Parks In Uttarakhand

A small sleepy state in North India, Uttarakhand has some of the most fascinating off-beat locations. You can attribute that to its majestic mountains, unfathomable Hindu temples, and national parks that are no less than heaven on earth for wildlife lovers.

Uttarakhand is home to 6 National Parks, 7 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 4 Conservations, and a Biosphere Reserve. Together, they account for the state’s 12% of the total area. So, if you wish to witness the exceptional flora and fauna of the Himalayas, you need to visit these national parks at least once in your lifetime.

Join me as I discuss each National Park in Uttarakhand and what makes them special. Other key information, such as things to do, the best time to visit, and cost are also provided to help you plan a seamless and enriching trip.

Top 5 National Parks in Uttarakhand

Without any further ado, let’s dive right in.

1. Jim Corbett National Park

Jim Corbett National ParkOne of the first national parks that comes to mind when planning a visit to Uttarakhand is the Jim Corbett National Park. This national park was developed to protect Bengal Tigers, but over the course of time, this park got tons of unique wildlife from all over the country. As of now, it is home to a staggering 586 resident and migratory species.

Jim Corbett is the richest bird region in India and a birder’s paradise. Even Birdlife International rates it as an “Important Bird Area” in Asia. As a birder, you will come across 6 prime ecotourism zones, including Dhikala, Bijrani, Jhirna, Sonanadi, Durgadevi, and Dhela.

Over the course of your exploration, you will come across Jim Corbett’s diverse landscapes, such as ridges, streams, plateaus, lush green grasslands, humongous pine forests, ravines, and more. More than 488 species of plants can be found in Jim Corbett, along with 25 species of reptiles, including the Indian Python.

In the lakes of Jim Corbett, you get to witness 7 different species of amphibians that includes crocodiles and alligators, which are also called Gharials in the local language. Besides, you can look for leopards, jungle cats, barking bears, sambar deer, sloths, chital, Himalayan black bears, langurs, and other fascinating mammals in their natural habitats.

  • Best time to visit Jim Corbett National Park:- Plan a visit from December To March because the temperature goes down by 5 °C. Also, the probability of spotting Bengal Tigers is high during cold winter mornings.
  • Days required to fully explore Jim Corbett National Park:– In most cases, 2 – 3 days would be sufficient to cover the national park and come across 75% of the species that reside here. But If you want to have an in-depth experience of life in the jungle, then 1 week is more than sufficient.
  • Cost:- 10,000 Rs – 15,000 Rs for 2 – 3 days of round trip from Delhi.

2. Rajaji National Park

Rajaji National ParkRajaji National Park derives its name from the first Indian Governor General of India, C. Rajagopalachari. However, we all lovingly remember him as Rajaji. The park was founded in 1983 by merging three major wildlife sanctuaries of Uttarakhand, namely Rajaji, Motichur, and Chilla. All these sanctuaries were present in the southern foothills of the Himalayas.

One of the key attractions of Rajaji National Park is the highest concentration of wild elephants in the entire state of Uttaranchal. In addition to this, several famous cities of Uttarakhand, such as Dehradun, Haridwar, and Mussoorie, are located alongside this park. As a result, finding pleasant accommodation becomes hassle-free.

From Rajaji National Park, you get to see some of the best views of the Himalayan mountain range, and the freedom to access other nearby wildlife sanctuaries.

  • Best time to visit Rajaji National Park:- November to June is the perfect time to visit this park when the skies and blue and the temperature is bearable. Remember, the park stays shut during monsoon season. The best zone to visit during your trip to the national park is the Motichur Safari Zone.
  • Days required to fully explore Rajaji National Park:- I would recommend allotting at least 2 days to explore this national park. You can easily stay in Dhikala’s old forest rest house to experience the true essence of living in the forest.
  • Cost:- 10,000 Rs – 12,000 Rs.

3. Valley Of Flowers National Park

Bhyundar Valley, located near the Joshimath in the Chamoli district of Garhwal, is home to this natural gem. The Valley of Flowers National Park is 87.5 square kilometers of densely populated biodiversity reserve that attracts a deluge of visitors each year. Thousands of trek enthusiasts from the world over converge here to witness its lush greenery in full glory during monsoon season.

A popular legend links this national park in Uttarakhand to Lord Hanuman. As the legend goes, Lord Hanuman transported the Dronagiri Parvat, which contained the wonder medicinal herb, Sanjivini Buti, to Lanka from the region where this national park is presently located. The legendary Sanjeevni Buti still grows in the hills of this park. Apart from this, locals believe that when humans are not around or in the remotest area of the valley, fairies come down from heaven and walk around to enjoy the park’s beauty.

During your visit or trek here, you will get to see 650 different species of flowers. These include Cobra Lily, Blue Poppy, and Brahmakamal. During the months of May to September, the Valley of Flowers is open for trekkers and tourists. Hue and the color present in the park keep on changing each day depending on the type of flowers blooming during that time.

The Valley of Flowers is divided into three sub-alpine zones. These include foothills alpine (located at the height of 3200 meters), lower alpine, (at a height of 3500 meters), and higher alpine (at the height of 3700 meters). You cannot explore the length and breadth of this national park on any type of vehicle. Due to its location, this national park is only accessible on foot.

Lastly, one of the holiest places for the Sikh and Hindu communities, Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, is located in the Valley of Flowers National Park. Feel free to take any of the trails, one will lead you to a Valley of Flowers, while the other will land you in Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara.

  • Best time to visit Valley of Flowers National Park:- July to mid-August could be the best time to visit Valley of Flowers. At this time of the year, the area witnesses its full bloom of the season.
  • Days required to explore the Valley of Flowers National Park:- The trek starts from Haridwar, and takes a total of 6 days to complete. The trail starts from Joshimath, and you can reach there by bus.
  • Cost:- 15,000 Rs – 20,000 Rs for a round trip from Delhi.

4. Nanda Devi National Park

Nanda Devi National ParkNanda Devi is known to be an immaculate expanse of wilderness located in the upper parts of the Himalayas. Both Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park come under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Nanda Devi National Park’s ideal location makes it special. It is placed in between the transition zone of the Zanskar mountain range and the Great Himalayas. This national park in Uttarakhand covers over 6,407 sq km and is divided into two distinct zones. The first one is the core zone, and the second is the outer buffer zone.

The reserve has a number of large and small rivers, such as Rishi Ganga, Dhauli Ganga, Pushwapati, and Khiro Ganga. Due to its exceptional biodiversity, this national park has a significant population of globally threatened species, such as the snow leopard and the Himalayan musk deer, along with a number of plant species as well.

On the other hand, you can also spot the Asiatic black bear, Bharal, and Himalayan tahr. More or less, this park works as a control site that keeps the natural process in check and plays a vital role in monitoring the long-term ecological balance of the Himalayas. You can only access this area with permits and permissions from the local authorities.

  • Best time to visit Nanda Devi national park:- The Nanda Devi National Park remains open for 6 months, approximately from May 1st to October 31st. The best time to visit this park is from June 15th to September 15th. During this time, the weather remains pleasant with the mercury hovering around 25.90°C.
  • Days required to explore Nanda Devi national park:- 5 days is the minimum time you need to cover such a massive national park on foot. But it is better to allot 7 – 8 days with 1 – 2 days as a buffer.
  • Cost:- 32,500 Rs – 45,000 Rs

5. Gangotri National Park

Gangotri National ParkGangotri National Park is one of the prettiest stretches of pure wilderness filled with lush coniferous forests, majestic meadows, magnificent glaciers, and more. Trust me, its natural beauty cannot be explained in words. Rather, locals even called it heaven on earth. The Gangotri National Park is one of the most popular trekking areas in North India. Among the several treks, the Gaumukh – Tapovan Trek is perhaps the most popular that makes trekkers get closer to nature like never before.

The Gangotri national park was formed in 1989, and it is spread over an area of 1,553 sq km. The height of the national park goes up to 7,083 meters making the geography of the area abundant with rare species of flora and fauna. Gangotri national park is the home of some of the endangered species of the Himalayas, namely Bharal, black bear, brown bear, Himalayan snowcock, musk deer, and snow leopard.

The northeastern part of the national park shares an international boundary with Tibet which is now a “part” of China. All over the year, you are going to see snow-capped mountains from the Gaumukh glacier along with the headwaters of the Ganges River. From Gangotri national park, you can easily reach Dehradun, which is just a 5-hour drive in the southwest direction of Uttarkashi.

  • Best time to visit Gangotri national park:- April to October is the perfect time to see the beauty of Gangotri national park. During this time, the temperature dips as low as 5 ℃.
  • Days required to explore Gangotri national park:- 6 to 7 days is the ideal time to explore Gangotri national park.
  • Cost:- 25,000 Rs – 35,000 Rs

Wrapping Up

So, that was my take on the national park in Uttarakhand. For anyone looking for an experience of a lifetime, these national parks showcase diverse landscapes, rich flora and fauna, and some stunning views of the Himalayas.

Let us know which of the following national parks you have visited till now and which ones are on your bucket list. I hope, by the end of the write-up, you are in a position to choose your next vacation destination in the wilderness of nature. For more information, feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

Till then, best of the journeys to all fellow travelers.

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Neeraj Kirola
Neeraj Kirola
My self Neeraj Kirola, I am a full-time digital associate and a part-time content writer. I have always found learning and imparting knowledge to be fascinating. My passion for writing articles gave me a chance to express my thoughts in words to others. And with the help of SEO skills, I make sure that I cover all the important points, so my content can rank on search engines. In order for my readers to enjoy what they are reading, I always write from the perspective of readers and business opportunities.

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