Dachigam National Park
Like the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, Dachigam National Park looks like a beautiful painting on the canvas of imagination, filled with amazing colors of uncertainty.
Imagine a place in the lap of verdant mountains covered with thick vegetation which includes Cherry, Pear, Plum, Peach, Apple, Apricot and Chestnut trees.....seems like heaven. It is not surprising then that people often refer to this place, one of the most scenic and beautiful places in India, as the abode of gods.
Situated at a distance of just 22 km from Srinagar, the altitude variation in the park ranges from 5500 to 14000 ft. which helps demarcate it into the upper and lower regions, both with their own unique attractions. The best time to explore the upper region is around the summer months as during winters the harsh weather makes the place unapproachable. The lower region can be visited during both summers and winters.
The place has been a protected area since 1910 when it was under the protection and care of the maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir. Later taken under the observation of the government, the place was accorded the status of a national park in 1981.
Wildlife Attractions in Dachigam National Park
Owing to its unique geographical location, Dachigam is home to some of the most rare and unique species of flora and fauna. The park is the only habitat for the highly endangered Hangul or Kashmir Stag. Winter is the best time to catch a glimpse of these rare animals, when they come in groups to the lower region of the park.
Other wild residents of the park include the Himalayan Black Bear, few species of the goat including Markhor and Ibex, Leapord and the rare snow Leapord (seen in the upper regions), musk deer and the Himalayan Marmot.
The place is also home to a variety of exotic looking rare Himalayan bird species. Over 150 species of birds can be commonly seen in the area which include Crimson Tragopan, Monal Pheasent, Blood Pheasent, Koklass Pheasent, Golden Eagle and the Bearded Vulture.
The lower area of the park has gentle terrain which is not too harsh even for the 'not so fit' people. Trekking and walking are the best ways to explore the park while it can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable walking in the midst of machine guns peeking out from the BSF checkposts. Beware of the leopards and bears and try not to go on a trek without the company of a local person, preferably a guide with good knowledge of the area.
The park is located just 22 km from the state capital Srinagar. The place is filled with tourist attractions which include the Shankracharya Temple, Srinagar Museum and the Dal Lake.
There is a trout farm in Dachigam, located just near the entrance of the park. The big natural reserve requires special permission from the warden's office for a visit. Angling is not allowed here.
How to Get There
By Air :
Srinagar is the nearest airport, connected by a daily Indian Airlines flight from Delhi (11:40). The journey takes just around 75 minutes. Jet Airways has the following connections to Srinagar : Jammu-Srinagar (13:35, Daily) and Delhi-Srinagar (11:15, Daily).
By Rail :
Jammu is the nearest railhead, connected by daily trains from Delhi like the JP Jat Exp. (22:35), Jammu Mail (21:15), Shalimar Exp. (16:05), Jhelum Exp. (20:49), Malwa Exp. (7:10) & the Tata Jat Exp. (20:40). Trains between Mumbai-Jammu are Jammu Tawi Exp. (23:15, Sat) & Swaraj Exp. (6:45, Mon, Thu, Fri, Sun) while Kolkata is connected through the Jammu Tawi Exp. (11:45, daily) and Chennai through the Andaman Exp. (5:15, Wed, Thu, Sun).
By Road :
To reach the place by road from Srinagar, travel via state road from Shalimar Bagh and Harwan to Dachigam National Park, while to gain access from Jammu, take the NH1 to Srinagar and follow the state road from there to Dachigam. Lower Dachigam is well connected to Srinagar by metalled roads w
hile upper region of the park can only be accessed on foot.
Distances from Major Cities
22 km (NE)
315 km (N)
Travel Tips/Important Information
- The upper region of the park has colder, more harsh weather and needs protective woollen clothing.
- The entry to the park is free.
- Park timings are 5:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
- The visitors require a special permit from the chief wildlife warden before visiting the park.
- Do not go on a trek alone and try to get a local person (preferably a guide) along.