Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Nestled high in West Himalaya, India’s Valley of Flowers 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.

Parcs nationaux de Nanda Devi et de la Vallée des fleurs

Niché très haut dans l’Himalaya occidental, le parc national de la Vallée des fleurs, en Inde, est célèbre pour ses prairies de fleurs alpines endémiques et sa beauté naturelle exceptionnelle. Cette région extrêmement diverse abrite également des animaux rares et en danger tels que l’ours noir d’Asie, le léopard des neiges, l’ours brun et le bharal. Le paysage vallonné du parc national de la Vallée des fleurs complète les montagnes sauvages et escarpées du parc national de Nanda Devi. Ensemble, ils forment une zone de transition unique entre les chaînes de montagnes iconiques du Zanskar et du Grand Himalaya, appréciée des alpinistes et des botanistes depuis plus d’un siècle, et présente dans la mythologie hindoue depuis bien plus longtemps.

منتزهات ناندا ديوي الوطنية ووادي الزهور

يشتهر المنتزه الوطني لوادي الزهور في الهند المختبئ في مكان مرتفع للغاية في جبال الهملايا الغربية بمروج الزهور الألبية القبسية وبجمالها الطبيعي الاستثنائي. وتضمّ كذلك هذه المنطقة المتنوّعة للغاية حيوانات نادرة ومهدّدة كدبّ آسيا الأسود، والنمر الثلجي، والدبّ الأسمر، وخروف بهارال. ويُكمل المنظر الكثير الأودية لمنتزه وادي الزهور الوطني الجبالَ البرية والمنحدرة في منتزه ناندا ديفي الوطني، فيشكّلون معاً منطقةً انتقالية فريدة بين سلاسل الجبال الشبيهة بأيقونة في زانسكار وجبال الهيملايا الكبيرة التي تستقطب متسلّقي جبال الألب وعلماء النبات منذ أكثر من قرن، وهي موجودة في الميثولوجبا الهندوسية منذ زمن غابر.

source: UNESCO/ERI

楠达戴维山国家公园和花谷国家公园

楠达戴维国家公园和花谷国家公园是喜马拉雅山脉最引人入胜的荒原地区之一。公园的主体是高达7800多米楠达戴维山主峰。由于该地区人迹罕至,这或多或少使它得以保留原貌。一些濒危哺乳动物栖息在这里,其中特别珍贵的有雪豹、喜马拉雅山麝香鹿和岩羊。花谷国家公园以其地方特色的高山花卉草地和突出的自然美景而闻名,同时还是稀有濒危动物的栖息地,这些动物包括亚洲黑熊、雪豹、棕熊和岩羊。这些公园包括赞斯卡勒山地和大喜马拉雅之间独特的过渡区,在一个多世纪中它们得到了登山运动员和植物学家的赞美,并在更长时间里获得了印度神话的称颂。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Национальные парки Нанда-Деви и «Долина цветов»

Национальный парк Нанда-Деви, занесенный в Список ЮНЕСКО в 1988 г., является одним из самых живописных и диких районов на западе в Гималаях. Его наивысшая точка – пик Нанда-Деви – имеет высоту более 7800 м. В парке нет постоянного населения, и именно благодаря своей труднодоступности местность осталась в значительной мере нетронутой. Национальный парк «Долина цветов», также находящийся в западной части Гималаев (хребет Заскар), однако обладающий уже не столь сильно расчлененным и высокогорным рельефом, вошел в состав данного объекта наследия в 2005 г. Особую ценность представляют альпийские луга этого парка с их эндемической флорой, кроме того, местность выделяется исключительной живописностью. Оба парка на протяжении вот уже сотни лет пользуются большой известностью среди альпинистов и ученых-ботаников, а у индусов эти горы давно уже почитаются как священные. Здесь отмечен целый ряд редких и исчезающих видов животных, например, снежный барс, гималайская кабарга, голубой баран, азиатский черный медведь.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Parques nacionales de Nanda Devi y el Valle de las Flores

Encaramado a gran altura en la cordillera del Himalaya Occidental, el Parque Nacional del Valle de las Flores es reputado por la extraordinaria belleza de su paisaje de praderas con flora alpina endémica. Es un sitio de rica biodiversidad que alberga especies animales raras, o en peligro, como el oso negro de Asia, el leopardo de las nieves, el oso pardo y la oveja azul del Himalaya o baral. La suavidad de sus perspectivas complementa el paisaje agreste de montañas escarpadas del Parque Nacional de Nanda Devi. Ambos parques abarcan una zona de transición, única en su género, entre la cadena montañosa del Zanskar y la Cordillera del Gran Himalaya, que ha sido ensalzada por su excepcional hermosura en los relatos ancestrales de la mitología hindú y, desde hace un siglo, por botánicos y alpinistas.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ナンダ・デヴィ国立公園及び花の谷国立公園

source: NFUAJ

Nationale parken Nanda Devi en Bloemenvallei

Hoog in de westelijke Himalaya ligt Nationaal park de Bloemenvallei, bekend om haar weides van endemische alpine bloemen en haar uitzonderlijke natuurlijke schoonheid. Dit rijk gevarieerde gebied is ook de thuishaven van zeldzame en bedreigde dieren, waaronder de Aziatische zwarte beer, sneeuwluipaard, bruine beer en blauwe schapen. Het liefelijke landschap van de Bloemenvallei loopt over in de ruige bergwildernis van het nationaal park Nanda Devi. Samen vormen ze een unieke overgangszone tussen de bergketens van de Zanskar en de Grote Himalaya. De parken worden al ruim honderd jaar geprezen door bergbeklimmers en botanici en nog langer binnen de hindoe mythologie.

Source: unesco.nl

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Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers 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.

 

Criterion (vii): 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.

 

Criterion (x): 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.

 

Integrity

The Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks are naturally well protected due to their remoteness and limited access. Both the parks were unexplored until the 1930s and have not been subjected to anthropogenic pressures since 1983 with the exception of some well regulated community-based ecotourism to small portions of the parks. Therefore, both the parks contain relatively undisturbed natural habitats that now act as control sites for the continuance of natural processes. The integrity of this property is further enhanced by the fact that both the parks form the core zones of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and are encircled by a large buffer zone of 514,857 ha. The Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and the Reserved Forest Divisions located west, south and east of the Biosphere Reserve provide additional buffer to this Biosphere Reserve. The local communities residing in the buffer zones of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve actively participate in the conservation programmes of the Forest Department.

 

Protection and management requirements

The Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks are naturally well protected due to their inaccessibility. The State Forest Department undertakes regular monitoring of the limited routes that provide access to these parks.  Both parks are subject to very low levels of human use, with only some community-based ecotourism that is regulated and facilitated by the park management.  There has been no livestock grazing inside these parks since 1983. Mountaineering and adventure-based activities inside Nanda Devi National Park has been banned since 1983 due to garbage accumulation and environmental degradation by such activities in the past. The status of flora, fauna and their habitats inside Nanda Devi National Park has been monitored through scientific expeditions carried out once in every ten years since 1993.  Results of the surveys and time series analysis of remote sensing data indicate substantial improvement in the status of flora, fauna and their habitats inside Nanda Devi National Park. Similarly, studies and annual surveys in Valley of Flowers National Park indicate the maintenance of the status of the flora, fauna and habitats. Both the National Parks and the Reserved Forests in the buffer zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve are well protected and managed as per wildlife management and working plans respectively.

The long-term protection of the Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks is dependant on the maintenance of the high levels of protection and current low levels of anthropogenic pressures within the parks. Regular monitoring of the status of wildlife and their habitats in these parks is critical and needs to be continued. Tourist or pilgrim management, and development activities such as hydro power projects and infrastructure inside the buffer zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve are the existing and potential threats that need to be addressed.

Long Description

The Nanda Devi National Park is one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the Himalayas. It is dominated by the peak of Nanda Devi, which rises to over 7,800 m. No people live in the park, which has remained more or less intact because of its inaccessibility. It is the habitat of several endangered mammals, especially the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer and bharal.

The park lies in Chamoli district, within the Garhwal Himalaya. It comprises the catchment area of the Rishi Ganga, an eastern tributary of Dhauli Ganga which flows into the Alaknanda River at Joshimath. The area is a vast glacial basin, divided by a series of parallel, north-south oriented ridges. These rise up to the encircling mountain rim along which are about a dozen peaks, the better known including Dunagiri, Changbang and Nanda Devi East.

Nanda Devi West, India's second-highest mountain, lies on a short ridge projecting into the basin and rises up from Nanda Devi East on the eastern rim. Trisul, in the south-west, also lies inside the basin. The upper Rishi Valley, often referred to as the 'Inner Sanctuary', is fed by Changbang, North Rishi and North Nanda Devi glaciers to the north and by South Nanda Devi and South Rishi glaciers to the south of the Nanda Devi massif. There is an impressive gorge cutting through the Devistan-Rishikot ridge below the confluence of the North and South Rishi rivers. The Trisuli and Ramani glaciers are features of the lower Rishi Valley or 'Outer Sanctuary', below which the Rishi Ganga enters the narrow, steep-sided lower gorge.

Forests are restricted largely to the Rishi Gorge and are dominated by fir, rhododendron and birch up to about 3,350 m. Forming a broad belt between these and the alpine meadows is birch forest, with an understorey of rhododendron. Conditions are drier within the 'Inner Sanctuary', becoming almost xeric up the main Nanda Devi glaciers. Beyond Ramani, the vegetation switches from forest to dry alpine communities, with scrub juniper becoming the dominant cover within the 'Inner Sanctuary'. Juniper gives way altitudinally to grasses, prone mosses and lichens, and on riverine soils to annual herbs and dwarf willow.

Woody vegetation extends along the sides of the main glaciers before changing gradually to squat alpines and lichens. Local populations use a total of 97 species, for medicine, as food plants, fodder, fuel, tools, house building and fibres, as well as for religious purposes.

The basin is renowned for the abundance of its ungulate populations, notably Himalayan musk deer (listed as 'lower risk' threatened species). Mainland serow and Himalayan tahr are also common. The distribution of goral does not appear to extend to within the basin, although the species does occur in the vicinity of the national park. Large carnivores are common leopard, Himalayan black bear and brown bear, the existence of which has yet to be confirmed. The only primate present is common langur, although rhesus macaque has been sighted outside the park boundaries. Some 83 species are reported from the biosphere reserve.

A total of 114 bird species belonging to 30 families was recorded during the 1993 Nanda Devi Scientific and Ecological Expedition, some 67 for the first time. Species abundant during May and June include crested black tit, yellow-bellied fantail flycatcher, orange-flanked bush robin, blue-fronted redstart, Indian tree pipit, vinaceous-breasted pipit, common rosefinch and nutcracker. Species richness was found to be highest in temperate forests, with a significant decline in richness as elevation increased.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Established as a national park with effect from 6 November 1982 as per Notification No. 3912/14-3-35-80 of 6 September 1982, the intention having been declared under Notification No. 2130/14-3-35-80 of 18 August 1980. Dang (1961) provides an historical account of the exploration of the Handa Devi Basin. The first recorded attempt to enter the sacred basin was by W. W. Graham in 1883, but he was unable to proceed beyond the gorge of the lower Rishi Ganga. Subsequent attempts by Dr T. G. Longstaff in 1870 and Hugh Ruttledge in 1926, 1927 and 1932 also met with failure. Finally, in 1934, Eric shipton and H. W. Tilman pioneered a route to the 'Inner Sanctuary' by forcing a passage up the gorge of the upper Rishi Ganga. Later, in 1936, Tilman and N. E. Odell made the first ascent of Handa Devi, reputedly the most outstanding mountaineering success of the pre-Second World War era. It was their accounts of this natural sanctuary that first drew attention to the spectacular mountain wilderness (Tilman, 1935; Shipton, 1936), following which the area was established as a game sanctuary on 7 January 1939 (Government Order No. 1493/XIV-28). Commonly referred to as 'Handa Devi Sanctuary', the name was changed to sanjay Gandhi National Park at the time of notification. This met with local opposition and the site was gazetted as Handa Devi National Park. The park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in December 1988. The park constitutes the core zone of a much larger area (200,000ha), extending as far north as the Dhauli Ganga, that has been proposed as a biosphere reserve (Indian National MAB Committee, n.d.).

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation