22-km from Srinagar in Kashmir
Sept.-Dec. - Lower Dachigam
The scenic Dachigam valley is one blissful place of natural world and its surrounding mountainside contains the rare Kashmir stag (Hangul), also black and brown bears. If you go trekking over to the upper reaches, the spectacular vistas make perfect camping hideout.
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 major export to Europe's perfumeries.
Located very close to Srinagar, Dachigam National Park with its splendid forests and magnificent scenery is easily accessible. Dachigam is the best known among the whole state of J & K.
Once 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 1,700 and 4,300 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 (4,300m), up in the high ranges, the Dachigam River winds through Lower Dachigam.
The Park is a natural habitat of the endangered hangul or the Kashmir stag - the only species of Red Deer to be found in India. Winter makes the best time to view the hangul, when they gather together in the shelter of the lower valleys.
Related to the red deer of Europe, this breed is characterised by its white rump patch and impressive spread of antlers.
Dachigam Wildlife SanctuaryOther inhabitants of this wild hub 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 can also be seen circling the brilliant blue skies.
The leopard, the only predator of 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.
Lodges and Rest Houses are available for an overnight stay within the sanctuary or check out the Hotels in Srinagar to stay.