GHNP : THE GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK
Himachal Pradesh is well known for its thick forest cover and lush green hills. State’s forests house about 7.32% (3,295 species) out of 45,000 that are found in the country. More than 95% are endemic to Himachal Pradesh and characteristic of Western Himalayan flora, remaining are exotic and introduced over the last 150 years.
There are two listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Himachal Pradesh, one a manmade marvel, another untouched by human hands. The Kalka Shimla Toy Train and The Great Himalayan National Park are the two sites, both being only one in the world. Apart of these Himachal’s heritage properties are tucked high into the wooden nooks of the countryside. Let us have a look at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Himachal Pradesh – THE GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK.
Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park was constituted in 1984 and was formally notified as a national park in 1999. It is located in Banjaar Sub-Division of Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, in the far Western Himalayas. GHNP is one of the most recent additions to a huge network of wildlife reserves found in Himalayan region in India and adjoining countries.
The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) is at the junction of the world’s two major faunal realms – the Indomalayan to the south and the Palaearctic to the north.
GHNP has the plant and tree species jatamansi, salam panja, and English yew, in common with Afghanistan and western China. It also shares the sea-buckthorn with the Palaearctic region, the deodar, alpine yellow violet and alpine meadow grass with the Mediterranean region, and the euphorbia with south India.
Because of its range of species, and the compact nature of their abode, GHNP is the highest priority conservation zone in the western Himalaya.
The climate of GHNP is typical of the western Himalaya’s front ranges. It has four distinct seasons: spring (April to June); rainy/summer (July to September); autumn (October to November) and winter (December to March). The ambient temperature can vary from -10ºC in January to 40ºC in June.
The boundaries of GHNP are also contiguous with: the Pin Valley National Park in the trans-Himalaya range (675km²); the Rupi Bhabha Wildlife Sanctuary in the Sutlej watershed (503km²); and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary in Parvati valley (107.29km²).
Facts ‘n Figures
- Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 23 June 2014.
- Confirmed sighting of rare and elusive “Serow” made in GHNP, in the month of May 2015
- GHNP provides sanctuary for four globally threatened mammals (Snow leopard, serow, Himalayan tahr, musk deer), three globally threatened birds (Western tragopan, koklas, cheer pheasants) and a large number of medicinal plants.
- GHNP is home to 209 confirmed bird species, which attract birdwatchers from across the globe. These include the endangered western tragopan and four other pheasant species.
- GHNP is a part of the Himalaya Hotspot ‒ one of Conservation International’s 34 biodiversity hotspots.
- 832 plant species, representing 128 families and 427 genera, have been recorded in GHNP.
- The rocks of the Great Himalayan range were emplaced in their current locations 19 to 21 million years ago.
- The Himalayan musk deer depends on Usnea longissima (also known as Methuselah’s beard, the world’s longest species of lichen) for food during winter.
- A little over half of GHNP lies above 4,000m…
- The upper part of GHNP’s forest zone holds the world’s largest known population of the western tragopan.
- GHNP’s thick forests of three major oak types ‒ Ban, Mohru and Kharsu ‒ contribute to the continuity of the regional hydrologic cycle and help maintain water quality for tens of millions of people on the Indian plains.
- The park’s high altitudes, above 3,500m, are home to the bharal (blue sheep), snow leopard, and Himalayan brown bear, tahr and musk deer.
- 10% of the world’s known plant species can be found in GHNP.
- GHNP is home to 34 of the 47 medicinal plants categorized as threatened in Himachal Pradesh.
- In 2015 GHNP logo registered by Govt of Himachal Pradesh.