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| Last Updated:: 13/08/2014

Himachal park set to get World Heritage tag

 NEW DELHI: The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area in Himachal Pradesh is set to join seven other natural locations in India that have been declared World Heritage sites by the UN. The park, located west of the Kullu valley, will be conferred the prestigious tag at the world heritage committee meeting in Doha that starts on June 15.

GHNP and its surrounding parks together cover an area of 2,850sq km, straddling an altitude range of 1,900m to 6,110m, with several distinct ecological zones representative of western Himalayan ecosystem.

A letter sent to Indian officials by Unesco, the body that grants the title, says the committee has in a draft decision inscribed GHNP Conservation Area on the World Heritage list.

"The area would formally be put on the World Heritage list at the committee's meeting in Doha. It's a culmination of a process that began nine years ago. Over this period, we have strived to meet a number of demands for getting this recognition," said Sanjeeva Pandey, additional principal chief conservator of forest, Himachal Pradesh, who earlier served as the GHNP director for eight years.

The heritage status is being granted under criterion 10. The rule lays down that World Heritage tag can be granted to locations which "contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value..."


GHNP is home to several rare and threatened species including the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer, serow and Asiatic black bear. Himalayan tahr, bharal (blue sheep) and pheasants such as western tragopan and chir are also found there. Besides, around 25 threatened IUCN red-listed plant species have been recorded in the park.

The striking landscape of the park includes 35 peaks higher than 5000m and two above 6000m. The four rivers flowing through the park —Jiwanal, Sainj, Tirthan and Parvati — join Beas downstream.

The other natural World Heritage sites in India are Kaziranga and Manas wildlife sanctuaries in Assam; Keoladeo national park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan; Sundarbans in Bengal; Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers national parks in Uttarakhand and the western ghats.