Endowed with a beguiling variety landscape and climate, Himachal Pradesh has visibly distinct physiographic zones that harbor numerous animals and plants. This varying topography has given birth to breathtaking vistas and has allowed a wide variety of wildlife to strive. From trans-Himalayan desert to verdant deodar forests to snow-fed rivers and glacial lakes, the sheer topographic diversity of the state has made it a nature lover's paradise.
If you want to catch exhilarating glimpses of exotic wildlife, Himachal Pradesh is the place to be at. The wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Himachal provide a perfect opportunity to witness the untamed, bizarre animals in their natural habitat.
Covering an area of 37, 691 sq km, there are, currently, 32 national parks, 2 wildlife sanctuaries and 3 game reserves in Himachal Pradesh. These are:
1. Great Himalayan National Park
One of the most prominent wildlife parks in India, the Great Himalayan National Park was established in the year 1984 in the Kullu region of Himachal. In June 2014, this natural site was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Spreading over an area of 754 sq km at an altitude rising up-to 6000 meters above the sea level, this biodiversity park is home to more than 370 species of fauna, the most famous of whom are snow leopard, bharal, brown bear, musk deer, monal, tragopan and snow cock.
2. Pin Valley National Park
Located within the Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh, Pin Valley is a cold desert biodiversity park, the only one in the state. With sub-zero temperatures for the most part of the year, it's a vast, sparsely populated landmass famous largely visited due to the presence of snow leopards and ibexes. It's important to note that the national park does not entertain foreign nationals and even the domestic tourists require a permit to enter.
3. Suketi Fossil Park
Suketi Fossil Park, which is sometimes also referred to as Shivalik Fossil Park is a national geo-heritage site in the Sirmour District of Himachal Pradesh. The fossil park is home to numerous skeletons and vertebrate fossils, all of which were recovered from the middle and upper Shivalik formations. It displays an exhibition of six life-sized fiberglass models prehistoric animals. Within its premises is also a museum containing the skeletal remains of different mammals.
4. Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary
Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 40 kilometers from Nahan in the Sirmour District. Covering an area of more than 4,000 sq km, the wildlife sanctuary lies in the lower Himalayan ranges and is sheltered by the holy Renuka Lake. It's said to have large populations of brown bear, barking deer, leopard and jackal among several others.