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iXiGOers Jul 09 2013

What is the best way to explore the Great Himalayan National Park?

Vaishali Singh Jul 09 2013
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) ranks as one of the best national parks in the world and reveals its beauty, diversity and depth through time spent in exploration. A day’s trek to the forest hut at Rolla lands, one in the midst of a dense jungle, is where a nosy red fox is sure to come sniffing around for morsels. A movement in the branches above is most likely to be giant flying squirrels, leaping from tree to tree. Sit quietly for a while to sight a pika (mouse hare) scurrying through the vegetation or the palm civet making its way down from its home in a hollow tree trunk. Porcupines are aplenty, their quills scattered along the tracks where they might have got into a skirmish the night before.

Photo of a Porcupine going about its business at the GNHP.

A three-day hike to Shilt Hut is, perhaps, the best way to see the range of eco-diversity in the park. Add to it a walk to the Chhordwari waterfall from there to complete the experience. The Neuli-Sarangarh loop, Neuli-Sainj valley, Sainj- Tirthan valley, Gushaini-Tinder village, Gushaini-Shilt Hut, Neuli-Manu temple, Siund-Pashi villages, Jiwa Nala-Parvati river valley, Gushaini-Tirthan valley and Shamshi-Kaza are some of the famous trails.

The Simpler Options:

A walk in and around the Sai Ropa forest guest house with its bio-diversity park or to Gushaini (just four kilometres away) through fields and orchards, chatting with the villagers, taking in the beautiful local architecture is quite enjoyable. As is sitting in a miniscule tea shop sipping the hot, sweet beverage and taking in the scenic beauty around or finding a great spot by the river and gazing at the sky above soothed by the sound of the flowing waters. The park’s remote location has ensured that villages situated inside the park develop and sustain a culture of their own. Almost every village or community within the park has their own distinct deity. Many communities worship sacred groves. Various fairs are held during April, May, August and September.

Photo of a rare bird at the Great Himalayan National Park

The park is a bird lover’s delight. Avian watchers can traverse the terrain on the lookout for its almost 200 species. There are hoopoes and woodpeckers, barbets and warblers, swifts and needle tails, flycatchers, babblers and laughing thrushes and among the raptors — griffon and lammergeier vultures, the golden eagle and peregrine falcon. And in early summer and just after the rains, hordes of butterflies can be seen adding colour to the landscape.

Planning a Trip to Great Himalayan National Park

The best way to make the most of a trip to the GHNP is to get in touch with the Park Director at Shamsi who will guide you to one of their four range officers. Once the preferences are in place, they will help chart out an itinerary, places to stay in and provide camping equipment if required. The villagers, who best know the park and whose involvement is crucial to the well-being of the sanctuary, act as guides and helpers. Besides, interacting with them adds a whole new dimension as they weave traditional tales and jungle lore woven into their knowledge of the forest. Gushaini is the entrance to the Great Himalayan National Park. There is no entry fee but permits need to taken from the park offices at their various locations. There is no motorable road within the park. The best time of the year to visit the GHNP is between April and June and after the rains in October and November. For more information, log on to http://greathimalayannationalpark.com .

Reaching the Great Himalayan National Park

By air: The closest airport is at Bhuntar near Kullu and it receives regular flights from Delhi.
By rail: Chandigarh is the nearest major railhead.
By road: From Delhi, take the NH 1 to Chandigarh. From here, take NH 21 to Aut. From Aut, drive to Sai Ropa (via the link road across the river Beas) and Gushaini via Banjar. The total distance is about 500 km. Else, take the NH 22 to Chandigarh, Shimla, Narkanda and Sainj. From Sainj, reach Gushaini via the Jalori Pass.

With all this information at your disposal, you're all set to plan your dream trip to the Great Himalayan National Park!

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