An area of importance for snow leopard conservation
A part of the high Western Himalayan highland
Diverse varieties of flora and fauna
What to know
Taking pride of place in the district of Uttarkashi, Govind National Park (GNP) and Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary (GWS) are protected areas covering an area of about 958 sq km. A part of the Upper Tones Valley was notified as a Sanctuary in 1955 while GNP was notified in 1991. The area also encompasses the Rupin and Supin valleys that form important catchment for the Tons, the main tributary of River Yamuna. The region boasts varied climatic zones – sub-tropical, temperate and alpine – that results in diverse flora, including Himalayan cedar, rhododendron, Himalayan spruce, Himalayan yew, beech, spikenard. As many as 70 species of butterflies, 20 species of mammals and 100 species of birds have also been recorded here. Tourists planning to visit Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Sanctuary in Uttarkashi will have to register online and get a hard copy of the permit from the head office at Purola. To register: http://swsuttarkashi.com/
Best time to visit
Between the months of April and June, and September through November.
What To Do
This sanctuary is home to lush forests, unending alpine meadows and is surrounded by snow-covered peaks, including Har-ki Dun, which is covered with exotic flora and criss-crossed by glaciers. Go for walks near the forest area and enjoy stunning views. The Naitwar entrance has a very pretty rest-house worth a visit.
It is a fantastic region for treks and several trek routes pass through this park. The easiest one is the 38 km Sankri-Taluka-Osla-Har ki Dun Valley route. The 20-km high altitude Ruinsara Tal to Yamunotri trek route to the Block Peak and Banderpunch areas is equally popular. The most difficult trek is the 60 km Naitwar-Himri-Droni-Rupin Pass-Sangla route, which partially lies in Himachal Pradesh.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, about 230 km away.