5 National Parks in Himachal Pradesh
The Himachal Pradesh state in India is home to a variety of ecosystems and a diverse range of plant and animal species. There are five national parks in Himachal Pradesh, 28 wildlife sanctuaries, and three conservation reserves that occupy 15.10 per cent of the state’s geographical area. The parks and sanctuaries are managed by the forest department of Himachal Pradesh. The protected areas are important for conserving the state’s biological resources and provide opportunities for ecotourism.
Himachal Pradesh has a geographical area of 55,673 square kilometres, accounting for 1.69 per cent of the country’s total area. The state is bounded by Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Punjab in the west, Haryana in the south, and Uttarakhand in the southwest. It is located between 30°22’N and 33°12’N latitude and 75°45′ E to 79°04′ E longitude. In the east, the state shares an international boundary with China.
The state is primarily a hilly territory in the western Himalayas, with three main regions:
- Shivalik with altitudes up to 1,500 m,
- The intermediate Himalayan region between 1,500 m and 3,000 m
- Himadris over 3,000 m.
One-third of the state is permanently covered with snow, glaciers, and cold desert.
There are total of 5 National Parks in Himachal Pradesh which are listed in table below with their size.
National Parks in Himachal pradesh
|S.No||National Parks in Himachal pradesh||Area (Sq. Km.)|
|1||Great Himalayan National Park||754.50|
|2||Pin Valley National Park||675|
|3||Khirganga National Park||710|
|4||Inderkilla National Park||104|
|5||Simbalbara National Park||27.88|
Download National Parks in Himachal Pradesh Map
Great Himalayan National Park
Situated in the Western Himalayas, the Great Himalayan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is known for its rugged beauty and diverse wildlife.
- located in Kullu region in Himachal Pradesh.
- GHNP is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- This National park is at junction of world’s two major faunal regions:
- the oriental (Indomalayan) to the south
- Palaearctic to the north.
- the upper mountain glacial and snow meltwater is source of several rivers, and the catchment area of various rivers whose water supplies are vital to millions of downstream users.
- The glacial and snow melt water in the upper mountains of the Park is source of various headwater tributaries to the River Beas:
- Sainj, Jiwa Nal and Tirthan Rivers -westerly flowing
- Parvati River flowing north-westerly
- the Great Himalayan National Park have preserved the forests and alpine meadows of the Himalayas ranges which is sustaining a unique biota comprised of many distinct high altitude-sensitive ecosystems.
- The rugged topography and inaccessibility of the park along with its location inside a much larger ecological complex of protected areas surrounding it have ensured its integrity.
- The temperate forest flora-fauna of the Great Himalayan National Park is considered as the western most extension of the Sino-Japanese Region.
- The high elevation mountains in the park with height upto 4100 meters houses a diversity of zones with have their own representative flora and fauna which include alpine, glacial, temperate, and sub tropical forests.
Flora and Fauna
- GHNP is home to these rare species
- rarest Himalayan blue poppy,
- the western Tragopan
- the Himalayan tahr.
- World Wide Fund for Nature have listed various parts of the Himalayas ranges in their Global list of 200 critical ecosystems (since 2001) and GHNP is within one of them.
- GHNP provides protection for four globally threatened mammals
- Snow leopard,
- himalayan tahr,
- musk deer,
- three globally threatened birds
- Western tragopan,
- cheer pheasants
- GHNP is also a part of Conservation International’s 34 biodiversity hotspots of Himalayan region.
- world’s largest known population of the western tragopan is also found in the upper part of GHNP
- Great Himalayan National Park consists of thick forests of three major oak types ‒ Ban, Mohru and Kharsu which contribute to the continuity of the various regional hydrologic cycle and helps maintain the water quality and quantity for millions of people on the Indian plains.
- The park’s high altitudes areas above 3500 meters are home to the
- Bharal (blue sheep),
- snow leopard
- Himalayan brown bear
- musk deer.
- Precipitation in GHNP is moderate for most of the year and plenty during the monsoon
- During winters in GHNP snow is common at lower heights, while higher elevations receives snowfall of over two meters.
Pin Valley National Park
Pin Valley National Park is an isolated park in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, India. The park is known for its alpine meadows, glaciers, and high altitude lakes. Pin Valley is also home to the last remaining population of the blue sheep in India.
- located within the Lahaul and Spiti district
- Pin valley national park is situated in the desert of the Spiti Valley which lies within the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve
- The park has an area of 675 Sq. Km. as core zone and 1150 Sq. km as buffer zone.
- Pin River flows through the valley of park.
- The Pin Valley park was listed as a national park in 1987.
- The vegetation can be demarcated into three main zones
- Dry Temperate Zone from 3276 mt. to 4,200 mt.
- Alpine Zone from 4200 mt. to 4800 mt.
- Zone of Perpetual Snow above 4800 mt.
- Major plant species are Juniper & Birch trees, Populus Spp.,etc.
- Pin Valley National Park have trans-Himalayan flora and fauna
- Most important Animals of the Pin Valley National Park
- snow leopard,
- Siberian ibex,
- red fox,
- blue sheep,
- It is home to birds like
- snow cock,
- bearded vulture,
- golden eagle,
- Himalayan chough
Population of Park
- Buddhist Tibetan culture is evident architecturally in monasteries and stupas, and in the daily living of its residents and lamas in the areas around park.
- There are about 17 villages situated along the periphery of the pin valley national park
- 17 Dogharies (Summer settlements) with some cultivation are also located inside the pin valley park. These Dogharies are used as summer residences by these local people.
- The Chham dance and Buchen dance by the Lamas are famous dances in the valley.
Khirganga National Park
Khirganga National Park is a national park located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. The park is known for its hot springs, pilgrimage sites, and scenic views. The park was established in 2010 and covers an area of 710 square kilometers.
- Area 710 Sq. Km.
- Located in the Parvati river Watershed.
- Situated at a height 5500 meter
- Khirganga National Park was formed in the year 2010.
- The Khirganga National Park has its boundary with the Great Himalayan National Park
- Species like wild bears are found here.
Inderkilla National Park
2010 saw the establishment of Inderkilla National Park in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is around 104 square kilometres in size (40 sq mi). District Kullu is the location of the national park. Here, brown and black bears, leopards, and numerous mountain deer and goats coexist with other uncommon mammalian species. In the park, over 250 bird species have been identified.
- established in 2010.
- Inderkilla National Park spread over an area of 104 sq. Km.
Simbalbara National Park
Simbalbara National Park is a popular tourist destination in the Paonta Valley in the Himachal Pradesh district of Sirmour. Romantic wildness, deep green valleys, mountains, rivers, and woods abound in the park.
It was first created as a wildlife reserve in 1958 and then as a wildlife sanctuary in 1974. Previously, the sanctuary served as a hunting place for subsequent Maharajas of Sirmour. Simbalbara Wildlife Sanctuary was designated as a National Park in 2010. The park’s total size is about 27.88 Km2.
- Established in 1958 as the Simbalbara Wildlife Sanctuary
- In 2010, it became a national park
- The Simbalbara National Park is spread across 27.88 sq km
- Simbalbara National Park features thick Sal forests alongwith grassy undergrowth
- Species such as Goral, Chittal, Himalayan black bear, Sambhar, Spotted Deer, Hanuman langurs, Indian muntjacs are found here.
Gist of National Parks in Himachal Pradesh
|National Parks in Himachal Pradesh||Area ( Km² )|
|Great Himalayan National Park||905.4|
|Pin Valley National Park||675|
|Khirganga National Park||705|
|Inderkila National Park||94|
|Simbalbara National Park||27.88|
National Parks in India are declared by the State governments under the power of Section 35 of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
Declaration of National Parks in India.
Section 35. Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972: Whenever it appears to the State Government that an area, whether within a sanctuary or not, is, by reason of its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological or zoological association or importance, needed to be constituted as a National Park for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wild life therein or its environment, it may, by notification, declare its intention to constitute such area as a National Park.
- In India, the state government cannot change the boundaries of a National Park unless the National Board recommends it.
- No human activity is permitted within the national park, except those authorised by the state’s Chief Wildlife Warden in accordance with the provisions of CHAPTER IV of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
Facts about Himachal Pradesh
According to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021, the forest cover in the state is 15,443 square kilometres, accounting for 27.73 per cent of the state’s geographical area ( 55,673 sq km ).
In terms of forest canopy density classifications, the state contains
- 3,163 square kilometres of Very Dense Forest (VDF),
- 7,100 square kilometres of Moderately Dense Forest (MDF),
- 5,180 square kilometres of Open Forest (OF).
Due to the difficult environment, tree growth is low in this area. The yearly rainfall averages about 1,800 mm. The temperature ranges from below zero to 35 degrees Celsius.
Rivers in Himachal Pradesh
The Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Yamuna are the important rivers of Himachal Pradesh.
Districts in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh comprises 12 districts, all of which are hill regions. There are three tribal districts.
Population of Himachal Pradseh
Himachal Pradesh has a population of 6.86 million people, accounting for 0.57 per cent of India’s total population, according to the 2011 census. The rural and urban populations are 89.97% and 10.03 per cent, respectively. The tribal population accounts for 5.71 per cent of the total population of the state. The population density of the state is 123 people per square kilometre, which is much lower than the national average.
The overall livestock population was 4.84 million according to the 19th livestock census in 2012.
In conclusion, Himachal Pradesh’s national parks are a vital part of the state’s tourism industry and ecosystem. They are important for both the environment and the economy, and they attract tourists from all over the world. The parks offer a variety of different experiences, from dense forests to snow-capped mountains. They are a great way to experience the natural beauty of Himachal Pradesh.
Learn more about Himachal pradesh parks on Forest department website of Himachal pradesh