Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kashmir
stag, Himalayan black bear, markhor, ibex, exotic birds
Time To Visit
Upper Dachigam; Sept.-Dec. Lower Dachigam
A very scenic valley with large meandering
river. The surrounding mountainside contains the rare Kashmir
stag (hangul), also black and brown bears. A trek to the upper
reaches, where you can camp, offers spectacular vistas. There
you may also see the musk deer, a small species widely hunted
for the male's musk gland, consider valuable in treating importance
and a mojar export to Europe's perfumeries. The sanctuary
is 22 kms. by road from Srinagar and 311 kms. from station,
certainly wroth to visit.
Located very close to Srinagar (22km), Dachigam National Park
with its splendid forests and magnificent scenery, is easily
accessible. Of all the many sanctuaries in the state. the
one at Dachigam is the best known. At one time the exclusive
hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Kashmir, it was declared
a national park in 1951, and owing to a strictly enforced
conservation programme, the hangul population, once 150, now
stands at over 400 animals.
The two sectors of the Park - Upper and Lower Dachigam
are spread over an area of 141 sq. km. and altitudes vary
between 1700 and 4300 metres. Two steep ridges enclose the
Park with its great topographical variety - deep ravines,
rocky outcrops, steep wooded slopes and rolling alpine pastures.
Tumbling down from the Masrar Lake (4300m), up in the high
ranges, the Dachigam River winds through Lower Dachigam.
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.
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. The leopard, which is the only predator in this paradise
is rarely seen as also the elusive snow leopard which is found
in the higher altitudes. Other animals include the rare musk
deer and the Himalayan marmot. A metalled road takes visitors
from Srinagar into Lower Dachigam. Upper Dachigam can only
be explored on foot.
Amidst forests of silver birch and conifer roams the hangul.
Rare and on the verge of extinction till a few years ago,
the national park at Dachigam contains the last viable hangul
population in the world. Related to the red deer of Europe,
this breed is characterised by its white rump patch and impressive
spread of antlers.
Time to Visit
Upper Dachigam Sept.-Dec. Lower Dachigam
and Rest Houses or Hotels in Srinagar
to get there
Rail-Jammu (200 km)
further information contact
Wildlife Warden, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.