Gangotri National Park


Gangotri National Park (GNP) (30°50′-31°12′N, 78°45′-79°02′E), the largest (2,390 km2) Protected Area in the state of Uttarakhand, is located in the upper catchment of Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi District. The origin of the Ganga River, the Gaumukh glacier, is located inside the GNP. Its north-eastern boundary runs along the international boundary between India and China. It forms a continuous landscape for conservation and wildlife protection along with the Govind National Park in the west and Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in the south. The elevation ranges from 1,800 to 7,083 m amsl. It falls within biogeographical zone 2B of the western Himalaya (Rodgers and Panwar, 1988), however, Nilang Valley and the surrounding region can be safely categorized under Trans-Himalaya (Zone 1) (Chandola et al., 2008). High ridges, deep gorges, precipitous cliffs, crags, glaciers and narrow valleys characterize the area.

A large variation in elevation and aspect result in diverse vegetation, grouped into five major forests types: Himalayan moist temperate forest, Himalayan dry temperate forest, sub-alpine forest, moist alpine scrub and dry alpine scrub (Champion and Seth, 1968). So far, 15 species of mammal and 150 bird species have been documented from the park (Parmanand et al., 2000) which includes Snow leopard (Panthera uncia), Black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster), Blue sheep or Bharal (Pseudois nayaur), Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus), Koklass (Pucrasia macrolopha) and Himalayan Snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis). The Gangotri glacier, after which the park has been named, is located inside the park. Along with adventure seekers and wildlife enthusiasts, it also attracts large numbers of pilgrims.

 Gangotri Glacier  Varied landscape of National Park  Blue sheep in the Park

a) Gangotri glacier b) Varied landscape of National Park c) Blue sheep in the Park
©Vinaya Bhargava


  • Champion H.G., & Seth S.K. (1968). A Revised Survey of Forest Types of India. Manager of Publications, Government of India Press, New Delhi.
  • Chandola S., Naithanai H.B., & Rawat G.S. (2008). Nilang: A little known Transhimalayan valley in Uttarakhand and its floral wealth. In: Special Habitats and Threatened Plants of India. ENVIS Bulletin: Wildlife and Protected Areas. Vol. II (1). Ed. Rawat, G.S. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India, 239 pp.
  • Parmanand, Goyal, C.P., & Singh, R.L. (2000). Management Plan of Gangotri National Park. Wildlife Preservation Organisation, Forest Department Uttar Pradesh.
  • Rodgers W.A., & Panwar H.S. (1988). Planning a Wildlife Protected Area Network in India. Vols. I & II. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Uniyal, V.P., & Ramesh, K. (2004). Wildlife Survey in Gangotri National Park.