Great Himalayan National Park
Established in 1984, this is a relatively new national park but there is no doubt that the Great Himalayan National Park is one of our outstanding wildlife preserves. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site for its rich collection of fauna and flora. The Park counts 375 faunal species including the threatened musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan tahr and the western horned tragopan—a charismatic pheasant that is on the park’s logo. With a wide altitude range, valleys and pretty meadows, the area is a favourite with trekkers. The park is accessed via the Kullu Valley.
‘The Queen of the Hills’ they called this town, and no greater accolade could ever be imagined from the British Raj, except perhaps the fact that they shifted their summer capital here. There is something about Shimla that just doesn’t fade away. You’ll be assailed by the sharp scent of deodar forests with the crisp mountain air all around you, but equally pervasive is the tang of history as you walk across the Ridge, past Christ Church, walking down Mall Road till you reach the imposing Viceregal Lodge... there is much to see and do in Shimla, and you’ll have to admit she is Queen for all seasons. Shimla is 360km/7.5 hrs from Delhi by road.
To the northeast of Himachal Pradesh lies a somewhat cut-off high-altitude valley—beautiful, remote and distinctive. Scattered villages, a haunting moonscape for scenery, high monasteries with the many-braided river flowing through, this is Spiti, ‘the middle land’ between India and Tibet, separated from the neighbouring Lahaul by the 15,059ft Kunzum Pass. Named after the Spiti river, the valley has some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in India. Check out the murals and sculptures of the 1,000-year-old Tabo Monastery. Spiti Valley is 240km/5 hrs by road from Kullu over two high passes.