World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. India features 32 cultural and natural sites on UNESCO World Heritage list. Out of this illustrious listing, 5 comes from the Himalayas.
We take you on a brief visual orientation of 5 stunning Himalayan Heritage Sites in India.
#1. Great Himalayan National Park, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
A superb 1,736 square kilometer trans-Himalayan National Park is a national treasure. It is a natural refuge for a large number of species and very rich in natural beauty. The park is isolated by natural barriers from all sides. It boasts of a unique diversity of three sanctuaries. A 675 square-kilometer Pin Valley National Park in the cold desert of Spiti. The 61 kilometer Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kullu. And a 503 square-kilometer Rupi-Bhawa Wildlife Sanctuary in Kinnaur.
GHNP has some of the best Himalayan treks to offer. It has tremendous potential for backpackers and nature enthusiasts to explore. Sainj-Tirthan, Tosh, and Pin-Parvati are the most sought after trekking trails here.
#2. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttrakhand
Two most revered National Parks in Uttrakhand comes under the distinction of UNESCO world Heritage sites. At 3352 to 3658 meters above sea level, the gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east. They are known for their meadows of endemic alpine flowers. Many endangered species of flora and fauna are found here.
The permits to enter Pushpavati Valley (Valley of Flowers) are obtained from Ghangaria. While entry to Nanda Devi National Park is restricted to its outer realm only.
#3. Manas National Park, Assam
On a gentle slope in the foothills of the Himalayas, where wooded hills give way to alluvial grasslands and tropical forests, the Manas sanctuary is home to a great variety of wildlife, including many endangered species, such as the tiger, pygmy hog, Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant.
Manas known not only for its rich biodiversity but also for its spectacular scenery and natural landscape. It is located just along the imposing Bhutan Hills. The majestic Manas river flanked in the east and the west by reserved forests is a special sight.
#4 Kalka-Shimla Railway, Himachal Pradesh
The narrow gauge, 96 km train journey is the most nostalgic mountain train journey in India. Kalka-Shimla Railway is a gift from British Raj that still operates even after 128 years.
The Train Journey is still considered as the best way to travel to Shimla. A 5-hour journey gives you enough time to absorb the beauty of Himalayas.
#5. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, W. Bengal
Perhaps the most romantic mountain train journey has to be this one. The train journey has gained much affection and enthusiasm, thanks to the late Rajesh Khanna who tried to woo her lady love, Sharmila Tagore in a Bollywood movie.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is an outstanding examples of hill railways. Opened in 1881, its design applies bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty.