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Dachigam National Park

 
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    Summary

    Tucked in thehigh mountains of the western Himalayas, Dachigam National Park is one of the prominent high altitude national parks in the country. This unspoiled and splendid national park was designated as one in 1981.

    There is a huge variation in the parks altitude, ranging from 5500 ft to 14000 ft above mean sea level. This vast variation demarcates the park into Upper Dachigam and Lower Dachigam.

    Lower Dachigam is said to be ideal for watching mammals in autumn and winter, and birds during spring season. Upper Dachigam lies above the tree line and it sports a bare look with scant vegetation, and during summer, opens up to offer a splendid view of birds and mammals.

    Below the tree line, the undulating terrain is heavily wooded, covered with coniferous forest dominantly of broad leaf species. The terrain is also dotted with alpine pastures, meadows, and scrub vegetation, deep gullies, waterfalls.

    Dachigam National Park also includes the grasslands that are rare to find in the Himalayan treks, and colourful flowers bloom in the grasslands and meadows.

    This protected area houses a number of endangered species such as Hangul (Kashmiri stag). The flora and fauna consists of around 20 species of mammals, over 150 species of birds, over 50 species of trees, about 20 of shrubs and 500 of herbs.

    Its said that when Dachigam is in full bloom with all its wild fruit trees and beautiful animals, it makes you feel that this is the closest you could get to the abode of the Gods.

    Flora: 

    Wild Cherry, Pear, Plum, Peach, Apple, Apricot, Walnut, Chestnut, Oak, Willow, Poplar, Chinar, Birch, Pine and Elm.

    Fauna: 

    Hangul, Musk Deer, Leopards, Himalayan Gray Langurs, Leopard Cats, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Jackals, Hill Fox, Himalayan Weasel, Yellow-throated Martens, Jungle Cats, Long-tailed Marmots and Otters.

    Avian-Fauna: 

    Cinnamon Sparrows, Black Bulbuls, Himalayan Monals, Golden Orioles, Minivets, Pygmy Owlets, Woodpeckers, Babblers, Redstarts, Wagtails, Koklass Pheasants, Choughs, Orange Bullfinch, Kashmir Flycatcher, Tytler's Leaf Warbler, Streaked Laughingthrushes, Himalayan Rubythroats, Wallcreepers, Black-and-Yellow Grosbeaks, Himalayan Griffons, Bearded Vultures, Red-billed Blue Magpies and Tits.

    Major Attractions:

    Hangul (Kashmiri stag): 

    Hangul is the state animal of Kashmir. It is listed as an endangered species in the Red Data Book of the international Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). In Dachigam, the population of this animal is estimated to be around 350.

    Marsar Lake:

    This is a picturesque and serene high altitudelake located in the interiors of Upper Dachigam area. River Dagwan flows from this lake.

    Trout Culture Farm: 

    This farm is run by the Fisheries Department at Laribal, in Lower Dachigam. Its famous for Trout fish. 

    Location

    It is located 21 km from Srinagar (Capital of J&K) in the northeast.

    Area:

    141 sq. km.

    Route: 

    A metalled road takes you from Srinagar to Lower Dachigam, while you can explore Upper Dachigam only on foot. There area a number of private jeeps and other vehicles that ply to and from the park. The nearest airport is in Srinagar, and the closest railhead is in Jammu.

    Best Time to Visit: 

    Upper Dachigam: May to August, and Lower Dachigam: September to December 

    Other Info 

    Other Places to Visit: 

    Srinagar: 

    This picturesque city is famous for its lakes. Dal Lake and its houseboats are famous all over the world. Another well-known lake here is the Nagin Lake. There are number of gardens here, including Mughal Gardens, Chasma Shahi, Pari Mahal, Nishat Bagh, and more. Outside the city, there is the 1619 built Shalimar Gardens.

    Gulmarg: 

    This well-known hill resort is located 50 km from Kashmir. In winter, this place is an ideal location for adventure sports like skiing and snowboarding. Nature enthusiasts find this place enchanting during summer, because of the meadows and pastoral scenes.  

    Facts

    Things to keep in mind

    Special permit required from the Chief Wildlife warden
    Winter is the best time to view hanguls when they congregate in lower Dachigam.

    Keep in your Trek Bag:

    Walking stick
    Hiking shoes
    Woolen clothes
    Water, juices, snacks
    Electric torch
    Medical kit
    A good compass
    An extra pair of clothes