In search of the Western Tragopan

enquire nowThe Great Himalayan National Park, undoubtedly the most pristine mountain landscape in the Western Himalayas… and perhaps the planet. From the Andes to Nepal and Tibet, to the mountains of Eastern Europe and Western China - the pressures of a growing human population have left the landscape – even so-called “national parks’ - overgrazed, denuded of timber, devoid of wildlife and covered with signs of animals and their shepherds. Ironically, here in India, home to over a billion people, it is still possible to find vast virgin forests and endless fields of wildflowers and ranges of un-named, unclimbed summits. Blue sheep, Himalayan Thar, even bear and snow leopard abound. The GHNP is an Important Bird Area and one of the prime global hotspots for biodiversity according to the IUCN. Its also declared a World Heritage Site.


Day 01: Arrival Chandigarh by flight Mid Morning.
Day 02: Cheer Pheasant Visit :
Day 03: Sai Ropa to Rolla : Early breakfast:
Day 04: Rolla to Shilt :
Day 05: Shilt to Chordwari Rest Day :
Day 06: Shilt Rest Day :
Day 07: Shilt to Rolla :
Day 08: Rolla to Nada : Rolla to Nada Meadow (3300m):
Day 09: Nada Thatch
Day 10: Nada Birding Camp
Day 11: Nada Birding camp-
Day 12: Nada to Rolla :
Day 13: Rolla to Goshaini to Shojha :
Day 14: Shojha to Chandigarh :

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival Chandigarh by flight Mid Morning.
Departure for Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu in a/c Innova cabs . Distance ( 250 km) Approximate time 7 hours . The journey will halt at the Gobind Sagar for lunch and continue onwards to Goshaini to stay in a beautiful Resort ( White Stone Cottages) by the side of the Tirthan River in the ecozone of the GHNP . We will be providing three Single cottages and one double cottage as desired at Tirthan. IN evening we will go for an birding acclimatization walk in the area . o/n White Stone Cottages ( Tirthan Valley)

Day 02 : Cheer Pheasant Visit :
Today Early morning we will depart for the sighting of the Cheer Pheasant on the grassy slopes of Nadar. The drive is about one hour and then a walk of about one hour to reach these beautiful slopes giving an overview of the entire Himalayan Range. We will have hot local lunch along with packed food at the local homestay and continue sighting the Cheer till evening. We will trek back to our resort during the sunset. This will be a relatively light day helping us acclimatize and get over our travel fatigue In the evening we will do our pre trek preparations and meet the entire team escorting you deep inside the Great Himalayan National Park. o/n White Stone Cottages

Day 03: Sai Ropa to Rolla : Early breakfast:
After a small drive to Goshaini we would start the trek into the GHNP. The guest would be required to take their day bags and water along with their packed lunch. Proceed by vehicles to Goshaini (1500 m), 11 km easy walk to Rolla (2100 m). This is a beautiful birding trek passing over remote Himalayan Villages and would take about 6 hours along with birding time built in . Packed Lunch served with hot tea at the entrance of the national park where one would sit by the Tirthan river. Overnight camping in tents at Rolla. Bonfire Dinner

Day 04: Rolla to Shilt :
Rolla Shilt This is an 6 km steep trek which takes us through an amazingly thick jungle full of monals, deers and wild animals. This area is a prime habitat full of Monal Pheasant. (A large plump pheasant with a loud, ringing call. Males are mainly iridescent blue, green on the mantle and rufous on the neck, with a white patch on the lower back and an orange tail). It is a prominent bird and was the state bird of Himachal and often seen by the tourists and trekkers.). Overnight camping in tents at Shilt . In the evening we will look for the Western Tragopan within the Shilt Thatch.

Day 05: Shilt to Chordwari Rest Day :
Today early morning we would leave for the trail leading upto the peak of Rakhundi till the Chordwari falls . This day would be dedicated to explore the forest which is home to the endangered king of the birds “the Western Tragopan. (In the villages close to GHNP, the local name of Western Tragopan is Jujurana (Juju means bird and rana means king) i.e. the king of the birds. There is a local legend that the Lord created this pheasant and all the birds in the universe donated a feather each to give it colour and unparalleled beauty. The male is one of the world's most spectacular birds: black on the head, a deep crimson on face and mantle and orange on breast, the black belly and dark wings are spangled with star-like white specks. The female is dull brown. Evening come back to base camp.

Day 06: Shilt Rest Day :
Explore around Shilt Thatch : Birds to watch out for at Shilt include Lammergeiers, Golden Eagles and Himalayan Griffons. Shilt is a grassy meadow surrounded by trees and rhododendron with a beautiful view across the valley towards the snow covered mountains reaching highs of 4000 meters . Evening wander around Shilt to look for pheasants including the Western Tragopan. This elusive species prefers to rest in an inaccessible spot in thick dwarf bamboo in steep ravines. One also goes along a ridge through bamboo and forests . Birds to watch for include Monals, Collared and Spot-winged Grosbeaks, Plain Mountain-finches, Red-Eared Buntings and several rosefinches o/n Camp at SHilt Thatch

Day 07: Shilt to Rolla :
Today after spending a final morning looking for the Western Tragopan we would move down to the Rolla Camp after breakfast and plan to move forward to our second site for the trek of Nada Thatch o/n Rolla

Distance 6 Km Altitude decline from 3300 meters to 2100 meters Time taken 5 hours

Day 08: Rolla to Nada : Rolla to Nada Meadow (3300m):
Strenuous climb through oak and conifer forests. Visit a prominent ‘tree god’ and shrine near Chalocha (2450 m) from where the climb starts. Possible sightings of Himalayan Tahr or Black Bear. Nada meadow is very good place for bird watching and small walks can be taken to Kobri Thatch etc in the prime area of western tragopan . Distance: 12 kms. Biding Trek time 7 hours

Day 09: Nada Thatch is one of the pristine meadows of the Great Himalayan national Park and a prime habitat for the Western Tragopan.
This is the place where the first proper picture of the Western Tragopan was clicked in the wild when the Sunshine Team was doing a one month photographic trek along with Mr. Dhritiman Mukherjee and Panki Sood in Search of rare species like Brown bear, Snow leopard etc.

Day 10 : Nada Birding Camp
The overwhelming bigness and silence of the surrounds helps spot an amazing array of birds without much effort —Tragopans, Koklash , Bulbuls, Laughing thrushes, White eyes, Flycatchers, Warblers and more. On the rest day one can explore the amazingly virgin trails surrounding the Nada Thatch , looping over boulders, padding softly through landslides, jumping over fallen trees, going uphill and downhill, cower under the alder, circle the poplar, tunnel under the willow all to find exotic shrubs and herbs such as Daphne, Desmodium, Indigofera, Soraria and Viburnum.

Day 11: Nada Birding camp-
Day Visit to Kobri Thatch and Black Bear Nala around Kobri ! Birds to watch for are Koklas pheasants , Bar-tailed Treecreeper . Himalayan Woodpecker, Long-tailed Minivet, White-Cheeked Nuthatch. Its also a prime area for Laughing thrushes like the Variegated Laughing-Thrushes and Kalij Pheasants o/n Camp at Nada

Day 12 : Nada to Rolla :
Today we will depart after a morning birding back towards the base camp of Rolla . This will be a steep downhill walk taking about 6 to seven hours where we will stopby the gurgling waters of Chalocha Nala for lunch. Since this will be our last night we would have a cultural festival by our tourism cooperative and having the tipping ceremony to our support staff . o/n Bonfire Dinner at Rolla

Day 13 : Rolla to Goshaini to Shojha :
Today we will walk back to civilization and transfer to world famous hill station of Shojha to stay in Banjara Camps. This little village is 5 kms from the Jalori Pass that links the Shimla and Kullu districts. The thickly wooded mountainside, densely populated with conifers, deodars and toosh characterize the beauty and uniqueness of Sojha. With unending slopes of emerald forests, verdant and pristine, nature is at its most alluring. Located in Seraj valley, still undiscovered by many, Sojha is a breathtakingly beautiful place. The mornings in Sojha are particularly invigorating. One can just stroll around, walk up to the meadows or perhaps take the pathway into the jungle. Nature lovers can enjoy thick wooded hill slopes starting from bottom as far down or up or sideways or deep as one can look. One can see the great snow clad peaks beyond the tree line and some great cloud formations. 

Day 14: Shojha to Chandigarh :
This seven hour journey will bring us to Chandigarh for connecting flights . Tour Ends

Dates and Prices

The price for the package includes:

  • All transport from Chandigarh to Chandigarh in A/c Tayota Innova Vehicle
  • All accommodation in the above mentioned properties
  • All trek logistic support: porters, cooks, personal porter (to carry client’s main clothing and gear pack of each trekker).
  • All meals during trek/tour.
  • A fluent English-speaking Birding guide who will be with you from Day 01 to Day 14.
  • All entrance fees to the Great Himalayan National Park admission and Park Video & Camera fees.
  • A list of required and suggested gear needed by trekkers will be provided to participants.

The above rates do not include:

  • International round-trip flight tickets from abroad to Delhi.
  • Changes in programs or flight schedules due to reasons like climate and geographical hazards
  • Travel and flight insurance, emergency medical repatriation charges.
  • Expenses of personal nature including: liquor/drinks, telephone calls, shopping, etc.
  • Tips to porters and trekking staff.
  • Any items not mentioned above


coming soon...

Photo Gallery