Situated at the base of Nanda Devi peak, India’s second highest peak; the Nanda Devi National Park is situated in the higher ranges of Himalaya in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in North India. Designated as the World Heritage Site, the park has unique topography and supports several habitats, species and eco-systems.
The Nanda Devi basin was declared a sanctuary in1939. In the 1982, an area of 630.33 sq km was added and it was declared a national park, which now forms the core zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The park was declared a World Heritage Site in the 1988 along with the Valley of Flowers.
Besides the Himalayan valleys and lush greenery, visitors can see animals including snow leopards, Himalayan black-bear, Himalayan musk deer, Himalayan tahr and many more.
The park is also an ideal place for bird watchers. About 100 species of birds have made the park their home. Birds including orange-flanked bush robin, Indian tree pipit, blue-fronted redstart are seen more often. The park is also home to several species of butterflies, 312 species of flowers including juniper and alpine vegetation.
The park is divided into two parts — Inner and Outer. The Upper Rishi Valley, often referred to as the Inner Sanctuary is fed by Changbang, North Rishi and North Nanda Devi glaciers. The Trisuli and Ramani glaciers are features of the Outer Sanctuary.
Trekking is the most popular activity in the national park. The trek begins from the Lata village to Dharasi (4250 mt) – the highest point of the region. In 1982, access to trekkers was banned to protect the biodiversity. However recently, tourists in small numbers are allowed to visit the park.
In and Around
Gateway to several mountain climbing expeditions, trekking route to major Char Dham pilgrimage Badrinath, Joshimath in Chamoli district of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand is 6,150 meters above sea level.
Similar to Kedarnath temple in structure, Gopeshwar temple dedicated to lord Shiva is 10Km from Chamoli with a grand dome, 30 square feet sanctum and the temple has 24 doors.This is the only Shiva temple where milk and water are not offered to lord Shiva and only ‘Bel-Patra’ is offered. The legend states it to be the place where a cow everyday milked on the Shiva Linga and the king of the state constructed a temple in the place.
Dronagiri village named after the nestling hill Dronagiri in Chamoli district of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand is one of the major attraction of botanists and herbs experts. Dronagiri, also known as Dunagiri or Doonagiri and sometimes Doongiri, is 10Km trek from Jumma. Jumma is a village 45Km from Joshimath on the Malari road along Dhauliganga river.
Badrinath temple is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages in whole India other three being Rameshwaram, Dwaraka and Jagannath. One of the four chhota Char Dham situated in Uttarakhand state other three being Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri; Badrinath is also one of the Panch Badri popularly known as Badri Vishal. Other four Badris of Panch Badri are Adi Badri, Vridha Badri, Yogdhyan Badri and Bhavishya Badri.
Nanda Devi temple
Nanda Devi temple dates back to 1000 years and is built in Kumaoni-style architecture within the antechamber of a Shiva temple. The idol of the goddess Nanda is a huge monument with a stone crown encircled by a wooden roof. The stone carving on the wall of the temple with statues of gods and goddesses is a center of attraction to the tourists and dwellers. Dedicated to the patron goddess of Chand Dynasty, Nanda Devi temple is center of attraction and honor not only to Kumauni people but whole of Uttarakhand.
One of the Panch Prayags (five confluences) of the Alakananda River, Karnaprayag is a pilgrimage town in Chamolidistrict of Uttarakhand. Pindar River, that originates from the Pindari glacier and the Alakananda River meet at Karnaprayag. The town is situated on en route Badrinath, which is about 125 km southwest.
The best time to visit the national park is during the months of April and October. During these months, the park is not covered under snow.
How to Reach
Jolly Grant airport Dehradun is the nearest airport Km from Joshimath and 295Km from Nanda Devi National Park. Jolly Grant airport is well connected with Delhi. You can find taxi, cab or bus from Dehradun to Joshimath.
Rishikesh railway station is the nearest railhead Km from Joshimath and 276KM from Nanda Devi National Park. You can find taxi or bus to Joshimath from Rishikesh railway station which is connected to Haridwar, Dehradun and other parts of Uttarakhand state.
Joshimath is 254Km from Rishikesh, 274Km from Haridwar and 293Km from Dehradun. These four places are well connected through roadways to other parts of Uttarakhand state. Raini is 22.8Km from Joshimath and a few meters away from Lata village.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
There are very few accommodation options near the national park. Visitors can choose to stay in the hotels at Joshimathor else at Badrinath.
Where to Eat
There are hardly any restaurants within the park. It is advisable to carry food hamper and water.