Nanda Devi National Park

The Nanda Devi National Park or Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, established in 1982 , is a national park situated around the peak of Nanda Devi (7816 m) in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India. The entire park lies at an elevation of more than 3,500 m (11,500 ft) above mean sea level.

The National Park was inscribed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.[1] The latter was expanded and renamed to Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks in 2005.

Within the National Park lies 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 National Park is embedded in the 2,236.74 km2 (863.61 sq mi) sized Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, which, in turn, is encompassed in the 5,148.57 km2 (1,987.87 sq mi)[2][3] buffer zone around the Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks UNESCO site.

Best time to visit Nanda Devi National Park is from May to October.[4]

Nanda Devi National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Nanda Devi National Park
Map showing the location of Nanda Devi National Park
LocationUttarakhand, India
Coordinates30°25′7″N 79°50′59″E / 30.41861°N 79.84972°ECoordinates: 30°25′7″N 79°50′59″E / 30.41861°N 79.84972°E
Area630.33 km2
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Part ofNanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
CriteriaNatural: (vii), (x)
Inscription1988 (12th Session)
Area62,460 ha (241.2 sq mi)


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 Nanda Devi Sanctuary

Contour map of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary

The Nanda Devi Sanctuary within the National Park 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.[5]

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 Dakshini (south) Rishi Glacier. These are fed by the smaller Uttari Nanda Devi and Dakshini Nanda Devi Glaciers respectively.[5] This region was already inhabited by the aryanic, Mongolian and Himalayan indigenous peoples as per vedas and natural history but the first recorded entry of the British into the Inner Sanctuary was by Eric Shipton and H. W. Tilman in 1934, via the Rishi Gorge.[6]

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 Dunagiri and Changabang, and on the south lies the Trisul Glacier, flowing from the peak of the same name. This portion of the sanctuary is accessible to the outside (though requiring the crossing of a 4,000 m (13,000 ft) pass). The first serious climbing expedition to pass through the Outer Sanctuary was that of T. G. Longstaff, who climbed Trisul I in 1907 via the eponymous glacier.[6]


Common larger mammals are Himalayan musk deer, mainland serow and Himalayan tahr. Goral 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

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)

Nuclear-powered spying device on Nanda Devi

During the cold war era when Chinese carried out their first nuclear test in 1964 and followed it up with missile testing, the US and India actively collaborated to spy on China’s nuclear capabilities. Before the advent of spy satellites much of the clandestine intelligence gathering relied on ground based sensors. The Chinese missile testing facility was north of the Himalayan range which was a big hurdle in picking missile telemetry signals. CIA was looking for a Himalayan peak high enough to secure a direct line of sight to the Chinese missile testing zone. Together with the Intelligence Bureau of India, they planned a secret mission to install a nuclear powered listening device on top of the peak of Nanda Devi. A joint team of CIA hired US mountaineers together with Indian contingent from the defense forces were detailed to carry out the secret mission.[7][8] By that time the mountaineering season was concluding and the mission met with adverse climatic conditions. They left behind the plutonium fueled device with the intention of renewing their attempt during the next year’s climbing season. The follow-up Indian expedition during the next season found the device missing from where it was anchored. Probably fell down due to rock fall and slid towards the glaciers carrying its plutonium with it. All the follow-up secret expeditions launched to retrieve the device met with failure. Recently, the Tourism Minister of Uttarakhand State Mr. Satpal Maharaj met the Prime Minister of India to express his apprehensions that the atomic device that had gone missing over 50 years ago might be polluting waters of the Ganges.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Official UNESCO site
  2. ^ World Conservation Monitoring Centre Archived 10 July 1997 at
  3. ^ Kala, Chandra Prakash 2005. The Valley of Flowers: A Newly Declared World Heritage Site. Current Science, 89 (6): 919-920.
  4. ^ Nanda Devi National Park -
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Takeda, Pete (January 2007). "The Secrets of Nanda Devi". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  9. ^

External links

2011 South Asian Winter Games

The 1st South Asian Winter Games were held in Dehradun and Auli, in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India in January 2011. The games were conducted by the Indian Olympic Association and the Winter Games Federation of India. A grand opening and closing ceremony took place on 10 January 2011 and 16 January 2011, in Dehradun and Auli, respectively.

The Ice skating and Ice hockey events were conducted from 10 to 12 January 2011 in Dehradun while the Skiing and Snowboarding events were held from 14 to 16 January 2011 at Auli.

Cheer pheasant

The cheer pheasant (Catreus wallichii), also known as Wallich's pheasant, is a vulnerable species of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. It is the only member in monotypic genus Catreus. The scientific name commemorates the Danish botanist Nathaniel Wallich.

Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows

The Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows is a montane grasslands and shrublands ecoregion of Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, and Nepal, which lies between the tree line and snow line in the eastern portion of the Himalaya Range.

Garhwal Himalaya

The Garhwal Himalayas are mountain ranges located in the state of Uttarakhand, India. The mountain ranges cross two regions: Garhwal division and Kumaon division.

Geography of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand has a total geographic area of 53,483 km², of which 86% is mountainous and 65% is covered by forest. Most of the northern parts of the state are part of Greater Himalaya ranges, covered by the high Himalayan peaks and glaciers, while the lower foothills were densely forested till denuded by the British log merchants and later, after independence, by forest contractors. Recent efforts in reforestation, however, have been successful in restoring the situation to some extent. The unique Himalayan ecosystem plays host to a large number of animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants and rare herbs. Two of India's mighties, the Ganges and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers of Uttarakhand, and are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams.

List of national parks of India

National parks in India are IUCN category II protected areas. India's first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand. By 1970, India only had five national parks. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard the habitats of conservation reliant species.

Further federal legislation strengthening protection for wildlife was introduced in the 1980s. As of July 2018, there were 110 national parks encompassing an area of 40,501 km2 (15,638 sq mi), under protected areas of India category II comprising 1.23% of India's total surface area.

List of satellite map images with missing or unclear data

This is a list of satellite map images with missing or unclear data. Some locations on free, publicly viewable satellite map services have such issues due to having been intentionally digitally obscured or blurred for various reasons. For example, Westchester County, New York asked Google to blur potential terrorism targets (such as an amusement park, a beach, and parking lots) from its satellite imagery. There are cases where the censorship of certain sites was subsequently removed. For example, when Google Maps and Google Earth were launched, images of the White House and United States Capitol were blurred out; however, these sites are now uncensored.

Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi (Hindi: नन्दा देवी) is the second highest mountain in India, and the highest located entirely within the country. (Kangchenjunga, which is higher, is on the border of India and Nepal.) It is the 23rd-highest peak in the world. It was considered the highest mountain in the world before computations in 1808 proved Dhaulagiri to be higher. It was also the highest mountain in India until 1975 when Sikkim, the state in which Kangchenjunga is located, joined the Republic of India. It is part of the Garhwal Himalayas, and is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, between the Rishiganga valley on the west and the Goriganga valley on the east. The peak, whose name means "Bliss-Giving Goddess", is regarded as the patron-goddess of the Uttarakhand Himalaya. In acknowledgment of its religious significance and for the protection of its fragile ecosystem, the peak as well as the circle of high mountains surrounding it—the Nanda Devi sanctuary—were closed to both locals and climbers in 1983. The surrounding Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

The Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Parks is an UNESCO World Heritage Site in Uttarakhand, India. It possesses of two core areas about 20km apart, made up by the Nanda Devi National Park and the Valley of Flowers National Park, plus an encompassing Combined Buffer Zone.

In 1988 the site was inscribed as Nanda Devi National Park (India). In 2005 it was expanded to encompass the Valley of Flowers National Park and a larger buffer zone and it was renamed to Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks.

The areas of the site are

630.33 km2 (243.37 sq mi) - Nanda Devi National Park core area

87.50 km2 (33.78 sq mi) - Valley of Flowers National Park core area

5,148.57 km2 (1,987.87 sq mi) - Buffer zone

North India

North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India. The dominant geographical features of North India are the Indus-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas, which demarcate the region from the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia.

The term North India has varying definitions—the Ministry of Home Affairs in its Northern Zonal Council Administrative division included the states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan and Union Territories of Delhi, Chandigarh. while the Ministry of Culture in its North Culture Zone includes the state of Uttarakhand but excludes Delhi whereas the Geological Survey of India includes Uttar Pradesh and Delhi but excludes Rajasthan and Chandigarh. Other states sometimes included are Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.North India has been the historical centre of the Mughal, Delhi Sultanate and British Indian Empire. It has a diverse culture, and includes the Hindu pilgrimage centres of Char Dham, Haridwar, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura, Allahabad, Vaishno Devi and Pushkar, the Buddhist pilgrimage centres of Sarnath and Kushinagar, the Sikh Golden Temple as well as world heritage sites such as the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Khajuraho temples, Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Jantar Mantar (Jaipur), Bhimbetka Caves, Sanchi monuments, Qutb Minar, Red Fort, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal.

The languages that have official status in one or more of the states and union territories located in North India are Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English.

Pink-browed rosefinch

The pink-browed rosefinch (Carpodacus rodochroa) is a species of finch in the Fringillidae family. It ranges across the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, mainly in the Himalayas, and is migratory. It is found in Bhutan, Tibet, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Its natural habitats are boreal forests and subtropical or tropical dry forests.

Snow leopard

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia), also known as the ounce, is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because the global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 mature individuals and decline about 10% until 2040. It is threatened by poaching and habitat destruction following infrastructural developments.

It inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft), ranging from eastern Afghanistan to Mongolia and western China. In the northern range countries, it also occurs at lower elevations.Taxonomically, the snow leopard was long classified in the monotypic genus Uncia. Since phylogenetic studies revealed the relationships among Panthera species, it is considered a member of this genus. Two subspecies were described based on morphological differences, but genetic differences between the two have not been confirmed. It is therefore regarded a monotypic species.

Sue Nott

Susan Nott (June 12, 1969 – c. May 20, 2006) was an American mountain climber. In May 2006, she and her climbing partner Karen McNeill disappeared on Mount Foraker in Alaska and neither body has ever been recovered.

Sunanda Devi

Nanda Devi East (Hindi: नंदा देवी पूर्व) locally known as Sunanda Devi is the lower of the two adjacent peaks of the highest mountain in Uttarakhand and second highest mountain in India; Nanda Devi is its higher twin peak. Nanda Devi and Nanda Devi East are part of the Garhwal Himalayas, and are located in the state of Uttarakhand. The graceful peaks of twin mountains are visible from almost everywhere in Kumaon. The first ascent to Nanda Devi East peak in recorded history appears to be in 1939 by Jakub Bujak and Janusz Klarner. The elevation of Nanda Devi East is 7,434 m (24,390 ft) and its prominence is 260 m (850 ft).

Tibetan wolf

The Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus filchneri) is a subspecies of the gray wolf that is native to China in the regions of Gansu, Qinghai, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is distinguished by its genetic markers, with whole genome sequencing indicating that it is the most genetically divergent wolf population, and mitochondrial DNA sequencing indicating that it is genetically the same wolf as the Himalayan wolf, is genetically basal to the Holarctic grey wolf, and has an association with the African golden wolf (Canis anthus).


Uttarakhand (), formerly known as Uttaranchal (), is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Devabhumi (literally "Land of the Gods") due to a large number of Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is known for the natural environment of the Himalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai. On 9 November 2000, Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India, being created from the Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh. It borders Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north; the Sudurpashchim Pradesh of Nepal to the east; the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west. The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The interim capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, the largest city of the state, which is a railhead. The High Court of the state is located in Nainital.

Archaeological evidence supports the existence of humans in the region since prehistoric times. The region formed a part of the Uttara Kuru Kingdom during the Vedic age of Ancient India. Among the first major dynasties of Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism. Ashokan edicts at Kalsi show the early presence of Buddhism in this region. During the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Kumaon Kingdom and Garhwal Kingdom. In 1816, most of modern Uttarakhand was ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli. Although the erstwhile hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were traditional rivals, the proximity of different neighboring ethnic groups and the inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions created strong bonds between the two regions which further strengthened during the Uttarakhand movement for statehood in the 1990s.

The natives of the state are generally called Uttarakhandi, or more specifically either Garhwali or Kumaoni by their region of origin. According to the 2011 Census of India, Uttarakhand has a population of 10,086,292, making it the 20th most populous state in India.


Uttarkashi, meaning Kashi of the north, is a town in Uttarakhand, India. It is the district headquarters of Uttarkashi district. Uttarkashi is situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 1158 m above sea level. Uttarkashi is generally known as a holy town close to Rishikesh. It is located in the state of Uttarakhand in India. Uttarkashi is home to a number of ashrams and temples and also to the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. The name of the town reflects its similarity to and location (as north of) the city of Kashi (Varanasi). Similar to Varanasi, town of Uttarkashi is situated on the Ganges, lies next to a hill named Varunavat, on confluence of two rivers Varuna and Asi, has a ghat called Manikarnika Ghat and has a temple dedicated to Shiva similar to (Kashi Vishwanath Temple) in Varanasi , in the center of the town.

Valley of Flowers National Park

Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, located in North Chamoli, in the state of Uttarakhand and is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, red fox, and blue sheep. Birds found in the park include Himalayan monal pheasant and other high altitude birds. At 3352 to 3658 meters above sea level, the gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east. Together, they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya. The park stretches over an expanse of 87.50 km2 and it is about 8 km long and 2 km wide. Both parks are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (223,674 ha) which is further surrounded by a buffer zone (5,148.57 km2). Nanda Devi National Park Reserve is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows

The Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows is a montane grasslands and shrublands ecoregion of Nepal, India, and Tibet, which lies between the tree line and snow line in the western portion of the Himalaya Range.


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