Dachigam National Park is located only 22 kilometers from Sriniagar, the capital
city of the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. It covers an area of 141 square
kilometers consisting of some of the most scenic natural beauty present on
Earth. The variation in altitude is vast, ranging from 5500 ft to 14000 ft above
mean sea level. Due to this vast variation, the park is very clearly demarcated
into an upper and lower region. The best times to explore these two areas are
summer and winter respectively. Due to the upper region's extremely harsh
winter, the best months for visiting here is between the months of May and
August. For the lower region, the ideal time is between September and December
but is also equally rewarding in the summer months. The park has been a
protected area since 1910, first under the care and watchful eye of the Maharaja
of J & K and later under the observation of the concerned government
authorities. The name of the park literally stands for "ten villages" which
could be in memory of the ten villages that were relocated for it's formation.
It was finally upgraded and declared a National Park in the year 1981. Although
it is the last proper home of the Hangul, or Kashmir Stag, and harbours many
rare species within it's borders, it was initially created to ensure clean
drinking water supply for the city of Srinagar.
Reasons to visit
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The Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary has twenty mammal species
which include hangul, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan black bear, langur,
Himalayan marmot, leopard etc. A number of bird species can be seen in the
Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary. There are over 150 species of birds like - monal,
koklas, bearded vulture, griffon vulture, golden eagle, grey heron, starling,
golden oriole, paradise flycatcher, western yellow-billed blue magpie, kestrel,
peregrine falcon, black bulbul, etc.
the Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary has over fifty
species of trees, twenty of shrubs and five hundred species of herbs. The
principal tree species are pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, Juglans regia, Morus
alba, Betula utilis, Prunus armeniaca, Corylus colurna, Quercus robur etc.
The Animal Beings
The Park is the habitat of the endangered Hangul or the
Kashmir stag - the only species of red Deer to be found in India. Winter is the
best time to view the Hangul, when they congregate in the shelter of the lower
valleys. Other inhabitants include the Himalayan Black Bear, species of wild
Goat like the Markhor and Ibex and varieties of exotic Himalayan birds.
The Winged Beings
There over 150 species of birds inhabiting park's vicinity. Colourful pheasants
include the Crimson Tragopan, the iridescent Monal Pheasant with its glittering
plumage, the Blood Pheasant and the Koklass Pheasant. The golden Eagle and the
bearded Vulture or Lammergeier are seen circling the brilliant blue skies.