Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve

Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve was designated as biosphere reserve in 2004 including the core areas of both Nanda Devi National park and Valley of Flowers National Park. The reserve is one of the spectular wilderness area of Western Himalayas covering an area of 6407.03 Mount Nanda Devi (7800m), India's second highest mountain and Rishi Ganga George, one of the world,s deepest george are the major attraction of the reserve. The biosphere reserve has very diverse fauna and flora. The Valley of Flowers National Park, one of the core area is well reknowed for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers where more than 600 Himalayan species grow in an area of less than 2,500 hectares. The reserve is also the habitat of the endangered snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, brown bear, Himalayan musk deer and bharal. Few human population reside there due to the inaccessibility of the area.

General Information:

Landscape: Kailash Protected Area Type: Biosphere Reserve
Established Year: 2000 Area: 6407.03 sq. km.

Geographical Features:

Min: 30.08 Max: 31.03
Min: 79.2 Max: 80.31
From: 1800 meter To: 7817 meter
Average rainfall (m): N/A

Biodiversity Features:

Province: Main himalayas
Biomes: Mixed mountain and highlands
Vegetation: The main vegetation types are mixed temperate and subalpine. The vegetation growth in the forests is of fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper. The conditions are drier in the inner part of the sanctuary. There is almost no vegetation near the Nanda Devi Glacier. The vegetation changes to alpine from the place called Ramnani and only juniper scrubs dominate the vegetal growth. This type of vegetation gradually give way to grasses, prone mosses and lichens. There are around 312 floral species found in this national park out of which around 17 are considered rare.

Socioeconomic Features:

Community Structure:
EthnicGroup: Over 15,000 people live in the Biosphere Reserve. The buffer zone includes 45 villages and the local communities living here mainly belong to two ethnic groups, the Indo-Mongoloid (Bhotia) and Indo-Aryan including Brahmins and rajputs.
Natural Heritage:
Cultural Significance: Nanda Devi, named after Devi (‘goddess’), consort of Shiva, is a manifestation of Parvati and has been revered since ancient times (Reinhard,1987). Hindus have deified the entire basin and every twelfth year devotees make the Nanda Devi Raj Jat pilgrimage to the foot of Trisul to worship their patroness the 'Bliss-giving Goddess' Nanda Devi (Kaur, 1982). The Valley of Flowers which is Seven kilometres south of the Park entrance, at Ghangrea, a track leads off to the Hemkund Sahib shrine sacred to Sikhs, and the Hindu temple to Lakshman, brother of Ram, beside Lake Lokpal. These have long been places of pilgrimage to both Sikhs and Hindus, and 400,000-500,000 pilgrims visit them every year.
Livelihood strategies: The local communities practice marginal subsistence agriculture, rear cattle for milk and sheep for wool. Cultivation of medicinal plants, sheep farming, apiculture and horticulture are among the main income sources of the villagers.

Conservation Management:

IUCN Category:
Management Authority:
Park Head Quarter:
Conservation History: 1862: The Paspawati valley was discovered by Col. Edmund Smyth; 1931: The valley visited by the climber F. Smythe who wrote a book publicising the “Valley of Flowers”; 1936: The upper Nanda Devi basin was reached and described by mountaineers E.Shipton & N.Odell who climbed Nanda Devi; 1939: The basin established as the Nanda Devi Game Sanctuary by Government Order 1493/XIV- 28 of 7/01; 1962: Border disputes closed the area to traffic, altering the local economy; 1974-82:The Sanctuary was opened to mountaineering but the ensuing degradation led to its closure to all users; 1980: The Park was established as Sanjay Gandhi National Park by Notification 3912/ XIV 3-35-80; grazing and mountaineering stopped; 1980: The Valley of Flowers was declared a National Park by Government Order 4278/XIV-3-66-80 under the provisions of the Wildlife Protecton Act of 1972, for the conservation of its flora; 1982: The Park was renamed Nanda Devi National Park; 1988: The Nanda Devi National Biosphere Reserve established (223,674 ha) with the National Park as core zone (62,462 ha) and a 514,857 ha buffer area surrounding both sites; restrictions were imposed on the rights of nearby villagers; 2000: The Biosphere Reserve extended by the government to 586,069 ha and the Valley of Flowers National Park was added as the second core zone (62,462 ha+ 8,750 ha, totalling core areas of 71,212 ha 2004: The two core zones and buffer zone designated a UNESCO MAB Reserve
Conservation Challenges:
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Transboundary Features:
Base Layers
Other Layers
  • Important Bird Areas
  • Protected Area
  • Corridor
  • Ecology
  • Globe Land Cover
  • Landscape
  • HKH Boundary