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India: Dachigam National Park

By Harvey Milligan, aka Beatattitudes at en.wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The easily accessible Dachigam National Park is located 22km from Srinagar. Declared a National Park in 1951, previously an exclusive hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Kashmir, the park spreads over an area of 141 sq. km. The altitude of the park varies, ranging from 5500ft to 14000ft above sea level. Due to this vast variation, the park is defined into two regions namely as Upper Dachigam and Lower Dachigam. The most desirable times to visit the two regions of the Park are in May-August and Sept-March respectively.

Hangul, Dachigam National Park By Harvey Milligan, aka Beatattitudes at en.wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The terrain of the Park ranges from gently sloping grasslands to sharp rocky outcrops and cliffs. Part of the park lies above the tree line and this area displays bare rock mountains and crevices. The park has a vegetation of over fifty species of trees, twenty species of shrubs and five hundred species of herbs. The principal tree species include Wild Cherry, Pear, Plum, Peach, Apple, Apricot, Walnut, Chestnut, Oak, Willow, Poplar, Birch, Pine and Elm.

The Park is the habitat of the endangered Hangul or the Kashmir stag, the only species of red deer found in India. The Hangul population, once 150, now stands at over 400, thanks to a strict conservation policy. Winter is the best time to view the red deer, when they gather in the Lower Dachigam.

Other inhabitants of the Park include the Himalayan Black Bear, Markhor, Ibex, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Himalayan Marmot, Leopard Cat, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Jackal, Jungle Cat and Otter

Over 150 species of birds can be seen in the park. They includeCrimson Tragopan, Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Golden Eagle, Bearded Vulture , Minivet ,Pygmy Owlet, Woodpecker, Babbler, Redstart, Wagtail, Orange Bullfinch, Kashmir Flycatcher, Tytler's Leaf Warbler, Streaked Laughing thrush, Himalayan Rubythroat, Wallcreeper ,Black-and-Yellow Grosbeak, Himalayan Griffon and Red-billed Blue Magpie

Marmut, Dachigam

There is a trout farm in Dachigam, located just near the entrance of the park. Angling is not allowed here. The visitors require a special permit from the chief wildlife warden before visiting the park or the trout farm. Carry your own refreshments as nothing will be available commercially. Accommodation is provided at Lower Dachigam in the form of forest rest houses. Do not try to go on a trek without the guidance of a local person, preferably a qualified guide with good knowledge of the area.

Srinagar is the nearest airport, connected by daily Indian Airlines and Jet Airways flightsfrom Delhi .Jammu is the nearest railhead, connected by daily trains from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata and Chennai on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.. From Jammu, travel by NH1 to reach Srinagar. By road from Srinagar, travel via Shalimar Bagh and Harwan to Dachigam National Park. Lower Dachigam is connected to Srinagar by roads while Upper Dachigam can only be accessed on foot.

For further information please contact:

  • Chief Wildlife Warden,
    Tourist Reception Centre,
    Srinagar 190001,
    State of Jammu & Kashmir,
    I N D I A