Nestled high in West Himalaya, Nanda Devi National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep.
The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park. Together they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya, praised by mountaineers and botanists for over a century and in Hindu mythology for much longer.
National Parks are exceptionally beautiful high-altitude West Himalayan landscapes with outstanding biodiversity. One of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the Himalayas, Nanda Devi National Park is dominated by the 7,817 m peak of Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain which is approached through the Rishi Ganga gorge, one of the deepest in the world.
The Valley of Flowers National Park, with its gentler landscape, breath-taking beautiful meadows of alpine flowers and ease of access, complements the rugged, inaccessible, high mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi. Apart from some community-based ecotourism to small portions of these parks, there has been no anthropogenic pressure in this area since 1983. This property therefore acts as a control site for the maintenance of natural processes, and is of high significance for long-term ecological monitoring in the Himalayas.
Both parks contain high diversity and density of flora and fauna of the west Himalayan biogeographic zone, with significant populations of globally threatened species including the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer and numerous plant species. Covering 71,210 ha, these two parks are surrounded by a large buffer zone of 514,857 ha which encompasses a wide range of elevation and habitats. This entire area, located within the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA), supports significant populations of mountain ungulates and galliformes that are prey to carnivores such as the snow leopard.
The Nanda Devi National Park is renowned for its remote mountain wilderness, dominated by India's second highest mountain at 7,817 m and protected on all sides by spectacular topographical features including glaciers, moraines, and alpine meadows. This spectacular landscape is complemented by the Valley of Flowers, an outstandingly beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley. Its ‘gentle’ landscape, breath-taking beautiful meadows of alpine flowers and ease of access has been acknowledged by renowned explorers, mountaineers and botanists in literature for over a century and in Hindu mythology for much longer.
The Nanda Devi National Park, with its wide range of high altitude habitats, holds significant populations of flora and fauna including a number of threatened mammals, notably snow leopard and Himalayan musk deer, as well as a large population of bharal, or blue sheep. Abundance estimates for wild ungulates, galliformes and carnivores within the Nanda Devi National Park are higher than those in similar protected areas in the western Himalayas. The Valley of Flowers is internationally important on account of its diverse alpine flora, representative of the West Himalaya biogeographic zone.
The rich diversity of species reflects the valley’s location within a transition zone between the Zanskar and Great Himalaya ranges to the north and south, respectively, and between the Eastern and Western Himalaya flora. A number of plant species are globally threatened, several have not been recorded from elsewhere in Uttarakhand and two have not been recorded in Nanda Devi National Park. The diversity of threatened species of medicinal plants is higher than has been recorded in other Indian Himalayan protected areas. The entire Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve lies within the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA). Seven restricted-range bird species are endemic to this part of the EBA.