The Himalayan Nature Park at Kufri, online popularly known as Kufri Nature Park or Zoo is a popular summer (and winter) sightseeing attraction for tourists visiting Kufri and Shimla.
Located about 18kms from Shimla at an altitude of 2, store 600 metres above sea level, the Himalayan Nature Park is spread across an area of 90 hectares of temperate vegetation that (attempts to!) forms natural home for about 180 species of wild animals of the Western Himalaya.
(Detailed Information on Fauna of Western Himachal Pradesh – By Zoological Survey of India – Just in case you’re interested)
The park is heaven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers as it owns a breathtaking view of the entire range of Himalayas and verdant landscape that makes the experience pleasurable.
This park was originally set up by The Forest Department to spread awareness about the wide range of flora and fauna found in the Himalayas. For the most part, the natural habitat of the Park had been used to house selected Himalayan animal species for the purpose of education of visitors. However, the attachment here is big enough to provide opportunity to the wild animals to be in there natural habitat. The area this park provides to each animal enclosure, wider and larger as compared to the rest of the cages and small enclosures in other zoos and parks within India. The visitors therefore, would have an experience to sea these animals, as they would have in the wild.
With its rich bio-diversity and undisturbed environment, The Himalayan Nature Park promotes the animal conservation and tourism within state. The tourism activities in the park are managed by HimalayanNaturePark Eco-tourism Society.
Climate, Visiting Season and Adventure
The best time to visit HimalayanNaturePark is during the summer and autumn months. Visiting the Park during monsoon should be avoided because it is risky due to landslides on the slopes.
During winter there is nothing much with in the park but other adventures such as skiing, tobogganing (sliding downhill on a sled), camping, picnics and trekking can be done in the park.
Surroundings of the park are also the venue for annual winter sports festival held in February. The travel and tourism department of Himachal Pradesh organizes this festival and Skiing competitions are the main event at the festival. Kufri is also known for the oldest skiing slopes in Himachal Pradesh.
Flora at the Himalayan Nature Park Kufri
KufriNaturePark has a variety of flora including species of Fir, Oak, Spruce, Blue Pine, Deodar and Holly. The park also has colourful herbaceous that include species of Orchid, Balsam, Geranium, Potentilla and Primula.
Fauna at the Himalayan Nature Park Kufri
The park has carnivores including Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, common leopard, Brown Bear and Asiatic black bear. Other mammals include Musk Deer, Hangal, Bharal, Goral, Gambhar and Barking Deer. Among birds, White Crested Kaleej, Cheer and Monal pheasants are also found in the park.
Fee and Timings of visit
Visitors can enter the park by paying a marginal fee. For Indian tourists entry fee is just rupees 10 and for students the amount is only rupee 5. Foreigner tourists have to pay rupees 200 and students from foreign country will have to pay rupees 100 to get in the park. And if one wants to carry their gadgets with them extra amount is charged for different gadgets.
The nature park remains open to public on all days except Monday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
One can enjoy an amazing trekking experience in HimalayanNaturePark. The trekking activity is arranged by SaiRopaTouristCenter that has its office in nearby village Gushaini (5 km from the park). One can also enjoy camping facility within the park with permission from Divisional Forest Officer.