GOVIND PASHU VIHAR WILD LIFE SANCTUARY
Govind Pashu Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Uttarakashi District in the state of Uttarakhand. This park was declared a National Park on March 1st, 1955. The area of the park is 957 square kilometers. The park was established to protect the endangered species of Snow Leopards. The upper reaches of the Park were specifically designated for the protection of these snow leopards that stays at altitudes above 3500 metres.
The Park is stretched out and covers the upper reaches of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges. The altitude in the ranges varies from 1400 to 6323 metres above sea level. The mountains in the Park include Swarg Rohini, Black Pearl, and Bunder punch. The mountains and glaciers are a real sight and are equally fascinating. The place is also called ‘Dev Bhumi’, where it says that the Gods could not resist coming down for a stay on the earth.
Naitwar is the entry point to the Park. The Park, set in a remote place in the State is a bountiful and pristine place with rivers criss crossing the Park. The River Tons passes through the Park.
It is believed that Lord Hanuman came in search of the wonder medicine, ’Mrithasanjeevani’ when Lord Laxman was grievously hurt in the war in this region.
Interestingly, the people of the villages in Deora and Jakhal worship the Kauravas. The main heroes are Karna and Duryodhana. There are intricate wood carvings in the temples of these villages that vary with those found in the other villages in Uttaranchal.
This area which is within the foothills of the mighty Himalayas have diversified forests that consists of Himalayan broadleaf forest in the lower altitudes with transformation at the middle altitude level where the forests are supplemented with western Himalayan sub alpine conifer forests and Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows at the highest level. The Park is a treasure trove of medicinal plants and herbs. There are chirpine, scrub tropical euphorbia and oak species also in the Park.
Apart from the snow leopards, the other inhabitants are the black bear, brown bear, the common leopard, musk deer, common otter, tahr, Goral, civet, Hodgson’s Fly Squirrel, wild boar, the goat like animal commonly known as the Serow and other mammals which number around 15 species. The Golden Eagle, the rare bearded vulture, monal pheasant, Koklas pheasant, Himalayan Palm, Western Tragopan, Parakeet, Minivets, Tits, Warblers, Thrushes, Sikkim Vole, Finches, buntings, owls, snow cock, steppe eagle and the black eagle are some of the 150 species of birds that roost in the park. There are rodents like the Indian porcupine, Hedgehog and the Himalayan rat
PLACES TO VISIT
- Har Ki Dun Valley: This is a trekking destination. The place is rich with very active streams and the lush growth of plants and shrubs. This is a cradle shaped valley at an altitude of 3566 metres above sea level and one of the remotest places in Uttaranchal. The place is mentioned in the legends and it is believed that Yudhishtir ascended heaven with a dog from the Swargarohan Peak.
- Ruinsiriya: The place has a high altitude lake and is a popular tourist attraction. This is an important area for high expedition to peaks.
- Viswanath Temple: Situated on the banks of the River Bhagirathi, it is at an altitude of 1150 metres and is equated to the Kasi Viswanath temple at Varanasi.
- Maneri Dam: This dam is a hydroelectric power dam astride the River Bhagirathy.
- Jamdar Glacier: It is on the way between Har Ki Dun and Swargarohan Peak
- Morinda Tal: Another beautiful lake it is only 3 kms. from Har Ki Dun
- Duryodhana Temple: This temple is in Osla Village
The Park has facilities for trekking. The easiest trek is a 38 kms. trail that starts from Sankri to Har Ki Dun. There are three other trails of which the second one is from Naitwar, Himri, Droni, Rupin Pass and Sangla which is 60 kms. This is the toughest trail when compared to the other three trails.The third trail is from Sankri to Taluka and then to Osla ending at Ruinsara Tal which is a 40 kms. trail and the fourth one from Ruinsara Tal to Yamunotri which is a high altitude trail covering 20 kms.
REACHING THE PARK
The nearest town is Dharkhadi, which is 17 kms. from the Park. The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehra Dun and the railway station is also in the same city. Dehra Dun is 190 kms. away from the Park. There are bus services from many of the major towns in the state.
WHEN TO GO
The best time to go to the Park is from April till June and from September to November. The park tourist season is in the months of May and June. The Park should be avoided in the monsoons as the showers during the period are very heavy.
The Har Ki Dun Forest Rest House: Situated in Ruinsiriya, the rest house is located in a valley of flowers. There are other Forest Rest Houses at Naitwar, Taluka and Osla which are on the way to Har Ki Dun. Accommodation tariffs differ during the peak period and the lean period and they start from Rs.280/- for one bed in the dorm to Rs.2800/- for A/c deluxe rooms during the prime season from May to June. Rates come down to Rs.170/- per head at the Dorm and Rs.1870/- for Super Deluxe rooms during July till October and the lean time is from November to March when the rates are Rs.140/- per head at the Dorm and Rs.1650/- for the Super Deluxe rooms. Visitors can carry their own camping equipments to Har Ki Dun and camp at locations that are beautiful.
Details of the Park can be had from the Wild life Warden, Govind Pashu Vihar, Sanctuary, Purola, Uttarkashi or from the Divisional Forest Office, Tons Forest Division, Purola, Uttarkashi. Details of the Park can be had on the following site: http://www.trekkinggarhwal.com/govind-wildlife-sanctuary.html#sthash.6q1utcYD.dpuf or
The Park is accessible throughout the year.
Entry fees are minimal and there are charges for camera and video. The charges change according to the season.