Home to rare animals like snow leopard and musk deer
A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site
Among the only 2 biosphere reserves in India
The Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, also known as the Nanda Devi National Park, is a spectacular expanse of wilderness in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. The Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and the Valley of Flowers, both a part of the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, encompass a unique transition zone between the Zanskar mountain range and the Great Himalaya. Located under the guard of the Nanda Devi peak, the rugged and dramatic reserve is spread across three districts of Uttarakhand, ie Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Bageshwar. With an area of over 6,407.03 sq km, the reserve is divided into two distinct zones, namely, the core zone and the outer buffer zone. There are two core zones, namely Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flower National Park. What makes these parks even more spectacular are the rivers Alaknanda and its tributaries, including Rishi Ganga, Dhauli Ganga, Pushwapati and Khiro Ganga, which criss-cross the area. Other than Nanda Devi, a number of peaks line the reserve, including Trishul, Dunagiri, Kalanka and Nanda Ghungti. With exceptional biodiversity, the reserve has significant populations of globally threatened species like the snow leopard, the Himalayan musk deer and numerous plants. It is also home to the Asiatic black bear, Himalayan brown bear, bharal and Himalayan tahr. It is also a prominent bird-watching zone. Apart from some community-based ecotourism to small portions of these parks, this area acts as a control site for the maintenance of natural processes, and is of high significance for long-term ecological monitoring in the Himalayas. The reserve is a restricted area accessible with permits and permissions only.
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The reserve remains open from may to October and the best time to visit is till September.
What To Do
The Reserve can be approached only by trekking. A moderate to difficult trek, the route passes through the spectacular glacial basin, with a rugged terrain and patches of forests and flower beds. The trek starts from and ends at Joshimath and includes an altitude gain of more than 7,000 feet to be covered within five days.
How to reach
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport but the roads are only connected up to Joshimath (around 20 km away) from where you have to reach Lata village, from where you have to trek for around 20 km.