Here’s a quick fire run down on what’s on UNESCOs list and why it’s worth going.
Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area – The high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests of the Himalayan Mountains in Himachal Pradesh mean this part of India is a site of outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation.
Kaziranga National Park – If you want to see a one horned Rhino then head here. Kaziranga is home to the world’s largest population. Rhinos hang out with an huge array of other mammals including elephants, tigers, panthers and bears. These loads of birds too.
Keoladeo National Park – Another bird watching paradise, this national park welcomes migratory birds from right across Asia. Ducks, geese, coots, pelicans and waders arrive in the winter, as does the critically endangered Siberian Crane.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary – The gentle slopes of Assam in North-East India, rich in India fauna, flora and wildlife, and is a place where sizeable populations of a large number of threatened species continue to survive.
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks – A meadow of alpine flowers bursts into flower carpeting mountain sides for as far as the eye can see. It’s said to be one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the Himalayas.
Sundarbans National Park (1987) – In Bengali Sundarbans means beautiful place. It’s well named. The world’s largest area of mangrove forests covers 10,000 squares kilometres. It’s not just big. It’s beautiful. Birds everywhere, dolphins, crocodiles, monitor lizards and much, much more. The Bengal Tiger too – but that’s a rare beast.
Western Ghats (2012) – A chain of mountains running along India’s west coast, it’s one of the world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity. The ghats are home to over 300 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species.
The Western Ghats – Munnar
And now there’s eight with the latest addition, Khangchendzonga National Park.
It’s on the list because of its unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, according to UNESCO. The park also includes the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga. Sounds impressive, no?
UNESCO adds that the mythological stories associated with the park’s mountains are the object of worship, and how they have informed Buddhist beliefs and the basis of Sikkimese identity make the site of special interest.
The park was commissioned in 1977, so getting the UNESCO award gives the Sikkimese another reason to celebrate the parks fortieth birthday in 2017.
For more information check out this site.