Inside Gangotri National Park

Enchanting vistas of snowcapped mountains, high mountain passes, deep valleys and gorges, lush meadows, and thick coniferous forests are just a glimpse into the vast wilderness of Gangotri National Park – a high-altitude wildlife sanctuary situated in the Himalayas of Uttarakhand. The picturesque national park is also the third largest national park in India.

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Spanning over an area of 2300 sq. km., the altitude of Gangotri National Park ranges from 1800 m to 7000 m. Idyllically nestled in the tranquil surroundings this Himalayan beauty falls under the bio-geographical zone.

Check Post/Entry gate for Gangotri National Park

Uttarakhand popularly referred to as ‘Devbhoomi’ – the word translating to ‘land of gods’, is blessed with natural beauty. And therefore, it’s no surprise to find plenty of fir, deodar, spruce, oak and rhododendron forests with a backdrop of mighty mountains of the Himalayan ranges, in several regions across the state. This also makes the journeys on the mountainous roads a truly refreshing sight.

Also read: Trekking in the Gangotri National Park

Flora And Fauna In Gangotri National Park

The Gangotri National Park is home to rich flora and fauna including some of the extremely rare and exotic species of plants, animals, and birds. The elusive snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, blue sheep, and Himalayan Monal are some of the rare and endangered species found in the national park.

The initial look and feel of the trail, inside Gangotri National Park

With stunning snowy mountains, Gangotri National Park also houses some magnificent glaciers including the Gaumukh, which is where the river Ganges originates from. Some of the many glacial rivers originate from the craggy glaciers located deep inside this region.

Beautiful vistas of the Gangotri National Park

Each year Gangotri National Park draws many travelers, wildlife enthusiasts, trekkers and adventurers. Gaumukh, Gangotri, Bhojwasa, and Chirbasa are some of the very popular and challenging treks that attract daredevils as well as devotees. The cold, desert valley of Nelong is another surreal spot. The high-altitude lake of Kedartal and the barren land of Tapovan are known to be extremely scenic and captivating spots in the national park.

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Deep inside Gangotri National Park

Legends tagged with the epic of Mahabharata can be heard and places associated with the stories can be seen on the treks or visits to temples located in the region. These spots are not just scenic but also have a mystical aura that will leave you spellbound. For the spiritually inclined, the shrine of Gangotri – which is one of the Char Dham or four holy shrines, is a must-visit.

Best Time To Visit Gangotri National Park

Spring to early summer months of April – May and late monsoon months of September –October are ideal for visiting the national park. Though the peak season is April to October, it is advisable to avoid the monsoon travel here, because of landslides and heavy rains around that time. Winter gets extremely cold and uninhabitable and many villages migrate to lower altitudes. The Gangotri shrine is also closed during the six months when the snow falls in the region.

Infinite beauty: somewhere in Gangotri National Park

How To Reach Gangotri National Park

The best way to reach Gangotri National Park is by reaching Dehradun, which is around 300 km away and traveling by road in a hired taxi. Dehradun city has an airport and a railway station and is well connected with major cities of the country. It is advisable to hire a vehicle than self-drive as the roads are tricky and challenging here. Also, a routine of starting early and reaching early at the destination must be followed as the weather in the mountains is unpredictable.

(Originally written for Native Planet)


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