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Nanda Devi National Park

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Dec 16, 2021

Nanda Devi National Park is in Garhwal, northern India. It is named after the highest mountain entirely in India and has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Nanda Devi

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Temple of Goddess Nanda Devi in village Lata, Nanda Devi National Park

The landscape is dominated by mountains. The park contains or is delimited by 24 peaks at least 6,000 m above the sea level. Nanda Devi is 7,816 m high.

The area is inhabited by the indigenous Bhotiya tribal community. There are 22 villages in the Niti Valley region on the periphery of the park. A majority of the villages practice trancehumance, i.e. they will live for six months in the upper villages, and move down to winter villages to avoid the extreme climate. Bhotiyas are a closely knit society and still practice their traditional customs and rituals. Village Lata is famous for its week-long Mask Dance festival observed during the second week of April every year. There are places of archaeological interest in the Niti Valley, and a 12th-century temple of Nanda Devi in the village of Lata.

The native Bhotiya community was in the forefront of Chipko Movement during the 1970s. The prompt action taken by Gaura Devi and few other village women is a milestone in the non-violent struggle of tribal communities in saving their forest wealth. The political leadership in Niti Valley Painkhanda region was provided by Comrade Govind Singh Rawat.

Wildlife in the park includes snow leopards, black and brown bears, tahrs, deer, musk deer and monkeys. Over 100 species of birds and 312 floral species have been documented.

The closest cities are Joshimath northwest of the park and Munsyari southeast of the park. The best access route is via Haridwar, from where you drive to Rishikesh, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag, Chamoli and Joshimath. Village Lata, the gateway to the Nanda Devi National Park, is 25 km upstream from Joshimath on Niti-Malari highway. Another route is from Kathgodam from Kumaon side. The route from Kathgodam covers Almora, Kausani, Baijnath, Gwaldam and meets at Karnprayag. The nearest airport is in Dehradun, which is 14 km from Rishikesh.

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