Nanda Devi National Park

Nanda Devi National Park

Nanda Devi National Park
IUCN category Ia (strict nature reserve)
Map showing the location of Nanda Devi National Park
Map showing the location of Nanda Devi National Park
Location Uttarakhand, India
Area 630.33 km²
Established 1982
Official name: Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Type: Natural
Criteria: vii, x
Designated: 1988 (12th session)
Reference No. 335
State Party: India
Region: Asia-Pacific
Extensions: 2005

The Nanda Devi National Park is a national park situated around the peak of Nanda Devi, 7,817 m (25,646 ft) in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India that was established in 1982. Along with the adjoining Valley of Flowers National Park to the northwest, it was inscribed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.[1]

Nanda Devi National Park covers an area of 630.33 km2 (243.37 sq mi) and together with Valley of Flowers National Park is encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve totaling a protected area of 2,236.74 km2 (863.61 sq mi), which is surrounded by a buffer zone of 5,148.57 km2 (1,987.87 sq mi).[2][3] This Reserve is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.

The park encompasses the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, a glacial basin surrounded by a ring of peaks between 6,000 metres (19,700 ft) and 7,500 m (24,600 ft) high, and drained by the Rishi Ganga through the Rishi Ganga Gorge, a steep, almost impassable defile. The entire park lies at an elevation of more than 3,500 m (11,500 ft) above mean sea level.


The first recorded attempt to explore the sanctuary was in 1883 by W. W. Graham, who could proceed only up to Rishi Ganga.[1] Other attempts by explorers in 1870, (T. G. Longstaff) 1926, 1927 and 1932 (Hugh Ruttledge) did not fetch fruitful results. Eric Shipton and H. W. Tilman entered the inner sanctuary through Rishi Ganga in 1934, thus opening the extensive exploration in the sanctuary. In 1939, the area was declared as a game sanctuary.[1]

Layout of the Sanctuary

Contour map of the Sanctuary

The Sanctuary can be divided into two parts, Inner and Outer. Together, they are surrounded by the main Sanctuary Wall, which forms a roughly square outline, with high, continuous ridges on the north, east, and south sides. On the west side, less high but still imposing ridges drop from the north and south toward the Rishi Ganga Gorge, which drains the Sanctuary towards the west.[4]

The Inner Sanctuary occupies roughly the eastern two-thirds of the total area, and contains Nanda Devi itself and the two major glaciers flanking the peak, the Uttari (north) Rishi Glacier and the Dakshni (south) Rishi Glacier. These are fed by the smaller Uttari Nanda Devi and Dakshni Nanda Devi Glaciers respectively.[4]This region was already inhabited by the aryanic, mongolian and himalyan indegenous peoples as per vedas and natural history but the first recorded entry of Britishers into the Inner Sanctuary was by [5]

The Outer Sanctuary occupies the western third of the total Sanctuary, and is separated from the Inner Sanctuary by high ridges, through which flows the Rishi Ganga. It is split in two by the Rishi Ganga; on the north side lies the Ramani Glacier, flowing down from the slopes of T. G. Longstaff, who climbed Trisul I in 1907 via the eponymous glacier.[5]


Common larger mammals are Himalayan musk deer, Mainland serow and Himalayan tahr. Gorals are not found within, but in the vicinity of the Park. Carnivores are represented by Snow leopard, Himalayan black bear and perhaps also brown bear. Langurs are found within the park, whereas rhesus macaque are known to occur in the neighboring areas of the park. In a scientific Expedition in 1993, a total of 114 bird species was recognized.[1]


Nanda Devi National Park is home to a wide variety of flora. Some 312 floral species that include 17 rare species have been found here. Fir, birch, rhododendron, and juniper are the main flora.

Vegetation is scarce In the inner sanctuary due to the dryness of the conditions. One will not find vegetation near Nanda Devi Glacier. Ramani, alpine, prone mosses and lichens are other notable floral species found in Nanda Devi National Park.

Named peaks of the Park and environs

Within the Sanctuary

Nanda Devi peak

Apart from Nanda Devi, the following peaks lie on ridges dividing the Inner and Outer Sanctuary areas.

  • Nanda Devi: 7,816 m (25,643 ft)
  • Devistan I, II: 6,678 metres (21,909 ft), 6,529 m (21,421 ft)
  • Rishi Kot: 6,236 m (20,459 ft)

On the Sanctuary Wall

These peaks are listed in clockwise order, starting from just north of the Rishi Gorge. Some of them are relatively minor summits and have small topographic prominence, while others are independent peaks.

  • Hanuman: 6,075 m (19,931 ft)
  • Dunagiri: 7,066 m (23,182 ft)
  • Changabang: 6,864 m (22,520 ft)
  • Kalanka: 6,931 m (22,740 ft)
  • Rishi Pahar: 6,992 m (22,940 ft)
  • Mangraon: 6,568 m (21,549 ft)
  • Deo Damla: 6,620 m (21,719 ft)
  • Bamchu: 6,303 m (20,679 ft)
  • Sakram: 6,254 m (20,518 ft)
  • Latu Dhura: 6,392 m (20,971 ft)
  • Sunanda Devi: 7,434 m (24,390 ft)
  • Nanda Khat: 6,611 m (21,690 ft)
  • Panwali Doar (or "Panwali Dwar"): 6,663 m (21,860 ft)
  • Maiktoli: 6,803 m (22,320 ft)
  • Devtoli: 6,788 m (22,270 ft)
  • Mrigthuni: 6,855 m (22,490 ft)
  • Trisul I, II, III: 7,120 metres (23,360 ft), 6,690 metres (21,949 ft), 6,008 m (19,711 ft)
  • Bethartoli Himal: 6,352 m (20,840 ft)

Just outside the Wall

The following are the most notable peaks which are adjacent to the Wall; they are all connected to the Wall by high passes. They lie just outside the boundaries of the Park.

  • Hardeol: 7,151 m (23,461 ft) (northeast corner)
  • Trishuli: 7,074 m (23,209 ft) (just beyond Hardeol)
  • Nanda Kot: 6,861 m (22,510 ft) (southeast corner)
  • Nanda Ghunti: 6,309 m (20,699 ft) (southwest corner)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Official UNESCO site
  2. ^ World Conservation Monitoring Centre
  3. ^ Kala, Chandra Prakash 2005. The Valley of Flowers: A Newly Declared World Heritage Site. Current Science, 89 (6): 919-920.
  4. ^ a b Garhwal-Himalaya-Ost, 1:150,000 scale topographic map, prepared in 1992 by Ernst Huber for the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, based on maps of the Survey of India. It is in the extreme northern part if india on the countries border with China. it takes up a great deal of mountain space in Uttarakhand.
  5. ^ a b H. W. Tilman, The Ascent of Nanda Devi, Cambridge University Press, 1937. Reprinted in The Seven Mountain-Travel Books, The Mountaineers, Seattle, 2003, ISBN 0-89886-960-9.

External links

  • United Nations Environment Programme
  • The Encyclopedia of Earth