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Himachal Pradesh

Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP)

The GHNP is located near Kulu in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Covering an area of 765 sq Kms, the park is enclosed on the northern, eastern and western boundaries by the Greater Himalayan range. The altitudinal variation is great - 1300 m to 6100 m.
The park comprises of the upper catchments areas of the Tirthan, Sainj, Parvati and the Jiwa Rivers – all are tributaries of the Beas River.

More than half the area is above 4,000m with most of the eastern part perennially under snow Glacial advances

Upper Tirthan Valleyhave given the region its unique topography. It is characterized by dazzling high ridges, glaciers, deep gorges. Alpine meadows and valleys with closed virgin forests. It is arguably one of the largest areas of relatively undisturbed Western Himalayan eco-systems. With its stunning natural beauty, and dedicated conservation, the Park is a virtual treasure for the researcher, the sensitive nature lover and the adventure seeker. The forests comprise sub-tropical alpine, and dry alpine shrub types. 'Chir' Pines, Conifers, Oaks, Firs, Rhododendrons and Junipers can be seen. Alpine meadows hold a high diversity of herbaceous species.

The excellent habitat shelters a large number of mammals. It is possibly the only place in the Himalayas where the 'Bharal' (blue sheep) occurs virtually side-by-side with the Himalayan 'Thar'. The largest population of the Himalayan Thar - endemic to India is in this park. The endangered Musk Deer can also be found here. The elusive and highly endangered Snow Leopard has also been reported.

The park is a delight for Himalayan avifauna watchers with over three hundred species that can be sighted. One of the few known viable populations of Western Tragopan, a highly endangered species of pheasants, lives in this protected environment. Out of the seven pheasants found in the Western Himalayas, six of them, the Western Tragopan, Monal, Cheer, Koklass, Khaleej and Himalayan Snow-cock can be found in the park. It also has an unexplored treasure of butterflies and a variety of insects. Click here for bird list.

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Monal PheasantThe nearest town is Kulu- 60 kms away by road. It is 530 Kms from Delhi. The entrance of the park is at the village of Gushaini, 60 kms from Kulu, and The Tirthan Wildlife Range office, which regulates entry is at Sai Roopa - 5 Kms from Gushaini.

To reach the park you can fly in from Delhi to Buntar airfield ( Kulu) and then drive by jeep in 02 hrs to Gushaini, or drive all the way from Delhi

If you choose to drive by exclusive vehicle, it is advisable to do this 14 hrs trip in two days with a night halt at the modern city of Chandigarh. The road journey in Himachal Pradesh is scenic passing through lush valleys, gorges and with views of lakes and mountains. Comfortable buses operate overnight between Delhi and Kulu.

Air service is available from Delhi and Chandigarh to Bhuntar.

There are two main options for bird watching in GHNP, the Ecozone and the Park itself.

The Ecozone areas are adjacent to the park and provide a combination of natural and man made forests. The trails go though villages, and therefore apart from birding they also provide
Chir Pheasanta Nature & culture experience. Many circuits are available ranging between 10 to 24 Kms

Some of the birding treks available within the park are:-

  • Sainj Valley: 56 kms in 05 days

  • Sainj-Tirthan Valley: 85 Kms in 08 days crossing over 3400 m ridge separating the Sainj and Tirthan river valleys.

  • Gushani to Shilt: round trip of 30 Kms in 04 days going upto 2900 m.

  • Jiwa Nala to Parvati River 110 kms very strenuous 07 days trek crossing over 4636 m pass.

We will arrange treks with birding guide, along any of the above birding trails. Stay will be in fully serviced camps set up close to birding sites.

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Tour options for non-birding spouse/friends: www.gurudongma.com.

Bird photographs by Yashodhan Bhatia,

Ronald Saldino,  Niels Poul Dryer, Ketil Knudsen
Kalypso Adventures & Gurudongma Team

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