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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nanda Devi National Park

Sprawling across 630 sq km, Nanda Devi National Park was declared a world heritage site in 1988. Situated near Nanda Devi, the second highest peak in India, Nanda Devi National Park boasts of rich high altitude flora and fauna along with fabulous views and sylvan environment. The nearby tourist attractions such as the Valley of Flowers, Badrinath Temple and Hemkund Sahib only add to the beauty of the park. Notified as the national park in 1982, it was discovered in 1883 by W.W. Garden. Tilman and N.E. Odell conquered Nanda Devi in 1936, which led to the region being converted into a game sanctuary by 1939. Organized expeditions for Nanda Devi were started in 1950s, which presented a threat to the region and thus, it was declared the region a National Park in 1982 and was later included in the list of the Biosphere Reserves.Situated in the upper Himalayas in Uttaranchal, one can enter the park from Lata village, which is 23 km from Joshimath. High mountains surround it from three sides while the western side is bounded by an inaccessible gorge. It remains under snow for about six months and June to August is the season of heavy rainfalls. So, the best time to visit the area is from April to June. The vegetation consists mainly of fir, birch, rhododendron, and juniper trees, while there is almost no vegetation near the Nanda Devi Glacier in the interiors. 312 floral species have been found and identified here including 17 rare ones. Himalayan animal species such as Bharals, Himalayan tahrs, serows, gorals, snow leopards, Himalayan black and brown bears, leopards, common langurs, and Himalayan musk deers can be seen here frequently while the bird life mainly consists of 80 species including warblers, gresbreaks, rose finches and ruby throats.

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