Characterized by dazzling high ridges, glaciers, deep gorges, alpine meadows and valleys with closed virgin forests, the Great Himalayan National Park with an altitudinal variation from 1,300m to 6,100m in Kullu district is one of the best destinations for Himalayan flora and fauna lovers. Supporting a diverse wildlife of over three hundred species of birds and over thirty species of mammals, the region was declared a national park in 1984.
One third of the park area is under forest, mainly along the Nalas and their tributaries. The forests vary from sub-tropical, to alpine, to dry alpine shrub types. Himalayan forests of ‘Chir’ Pines, Conifers, Oaks, Firs, Rhododendrons and Junipers can be encountered within the park. The presence of undisturbed Oak forests at low and middle altitudes is worth noticing here, for it is rare outside the park. Alpine meadows above 3,800m hold a high diversity of herbaceous species, many of which have medicinal and aromatic properties of great commercial value.
The excellent habitat shelters a large number of mammals and peasants. One of the few known viable populations of Western Tragopan, a highly endangered species of pheasants, lives in this protected environment. 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. Herdsmen have also reported the elusive and highly endangered Snow Leopard
The best seasons for visiting the park are summer from April to June and autumn from September to November. The relatively high density of wildlife in the area assures the visitors of sighting the Monal, Western Tragopan, Musk Deer, Goral, Bharal, and the Himalayan Thar. The rainy season from July to August and the winter season from December to March are not advisable periods to visit the park.