Nanda Devi and 
Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005)

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These are some of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the Himalayas. Dominated by the peak of Nanda Devi, which rises to over 7,800 m, Nanda Devi National Park has remained more or less intact because of its inaccessibility. It is the habitat of several endangered mammals, especially the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer and bharal. The Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty, and is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. Together they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya, praised by mountaineers and botanists for over a century and in Hindu mythology for much longer.

India 1988. Himalayan Peaks. Broad Peak. India 1988. Himalayan Peaks. Godwin Austin Peak. India 1988. Himalayan Peaks. Kanchenjunga. India 1988. Himalayan Peaks. Nanda Devi.

The heart of the Asian land mass, the lofty Himalayas have been called "Manadanda", a measure of the earth, by Kalidasa in his 'Kumarasambhavam'. The Himalayas have shaped the movement and destinies of races in and around Asia. These mountains, which are the sources of the four great rivers of the sub-continent - the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Sutluj and Indus, have provoked man's imagination, his spiritual quest and his adventurous spirit. The Himalayas have become an expression of divinity and spiritual ascent. This symbol has penetrated deep into the psyche not only of Indians but of the entire subcontinent. 

India 1982. Himalayan Flowers. Blue Poppies. India 1982. Himalayan Flowers. Brahma Kamal. India 1982. Himalayan Flowers. Cobra Lily. India 1982. Himalayan Flowers. Showy Inula.

This has been the abode of Siva, ascetic and meditating, and his consort Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. The temple architecture of the Hindus and the Buddhist stupas with their tall pyramidical "shikharas" and massive domes reflect the Himalayan peaks. The Ellora temples and the Kailashnath temple, Kanchipuram, were some of the earliest attempts to create the prototype of the Himalayas in sculpted stone. The snow fed lakes and rivers were reflected in the temple tanks and the caves in the deep sanctum sanctorum. It was not merely the mountains but a whole ethos that was sought to be recreated in the plains. E.B. Havell in his book gives a detailed study of the psychological and primordial attachment to "The Himalayas in Indian Art". 

India 1982. Kashmir Stag (Hangul). India 1987. Snow Leopard. India 1963. Himalayan Red Panda (Cat-Bear). India 1987. White Tiger.

These peaks have stood in almost unattainable solitude tempting the pilgrim, the spiritual seeker, as is evident from the number of monasteries, and the hiker and trekker the world over. Today they also attract the student of natural history as at the Kanchenjunga National Park and the Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve.

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in India (on this website). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, India-section, for further information on the individual properties. 


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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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