A trip to Kashmir is basically incomplete without a visit to the Dachigam National Park. What once served as the hunting grounds for the royals, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kashmir today. This park is rich with its splendid variety of flora and fauna.
Filled with alpine trees, immaculate waterfalls, and beautiful meadows, the park looks like something straight out of a storybook. Dachigam National Park is also the abode of the endangered ‘Hangul’ or the Kashmiri stag. The Hangul is the only species of red deer found in India. At the Dachigam wildlife sanctuary, you can experience the Himalayan wilderness in its true essence.
When translated, the word ‘Dachigam’ literally means ten villages. The park got its name owing to the ten villages that had to be relocated for the formation of the park. Quite an interesting name, isn’t it?
Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast or a nature lover in general, this place has a lot to offer. The park is not just rich in flora and fauna but also has some great scenic spots, including various lakes.
Spend a few hours in nature’s lap and explore all the beauty that this park has to offer. So, read along and start planning your trip here with this detailed guide.
Where is Dachigam National Park?
The Dachigam National Park is situated around 22 kilometers from Srinagar, the capital of Jammu & Kashmir. It is towards the north-east side of Srinagar and located in the Zabarwan mountain range. The park is spread across an area of 141 sq. km.
The forest area was initially owned by the then King of Jammu & Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh. And in 1910, it was declared to be a protected area. Its main purpose was to supply clean water to Srinagar city. Later on, after independence, the state government took over its management. In 1951, it was declared to be a wildlife sanctuary and in 1981, it was declared as a ‘National Park’.
Now that you know where Dachigam national park is, let’s also know some other important details about it.
What is Upper Dachigam and Lower Dachigam?
The Dachigam National Park’s multi-faceted terrain is divided into two parts- lower Dachigam and upper Dachigam. The altitude of the lower Dachigam and higher Dachigam are at 1,700 m and 4,300 m respectively. Lower Dachigam covers about one-third of the park’s total area.
This is also the most accessible area for visitors. About 10 kilometers up the hill is the Upper Dachigam area. You need to trek all the way up here. The terrain is dramatically different here.
However, the upper Dachigam area is not easily accessible (especially during the time of winter) to visitors and you need to take a special permit if you wish to go all the way up there. This is because the trekking route here isn’t easy. It gets quite harsh because of its jagged and rocky terrain. Be very prepared and careful if you plan on trekking here.
The two areas vary greatly not just in their terrain but also in their altitudes, flora as well as fauna.
Flora and Fauna of Dachigam:
Fauna of Dachigam Sanctuary:
What attracts most tourists to this park is the sighting of the rare Hangul- the only species of red deer here in India. Along with the Hangul, you can also find some hard to spot animals and birds here.
The Dachigam wildlife sanctuary is basically a paradise for animal lovers and bird watchers. So, if you love either of those, you are in for a treat! Other animals include the Himalayn black bear, brown bear, musk deer, Kashmir grey langur, leopard and jungle cat- among many others.
As for birds, the park has numerous species of birds including black bulbul, Kashmir flycatcher, golden oriole, Himalayan rubythroat, Himalayan monal, cinnamon sparrow and many more. There are around 140 different species of birds here.
Flora of the Dachigam Sanctuary:
The varied fauna at the Dachigam is also quite a sight to behold. The park is home to about 500 different species of herbs, 50 different types of trees and 20 different types of shrubs. It is extremely rich and includes trees like apple, peach, walnut, wild cherry, oak, chestnut, chinar, pine and poplar. For a nature lover, this is nothing short of a paradise.
Now that we know about the park very well, let us take a look at some general information about it. Here are some things that you need to know before you visit the park.
General information on the Dachigam National Park:
Best time to visit the park:
The best time to visit the Dachigam park is from April to October. The weather during these months is the most suitable for a comfortable and enjoyable visit to the park.
Climate of the park:
The weather here is always cold. Summer months have very pleasant weather.
How to get to the park:
Srinagar is the nearest city to the Dachigam national park. You can hire a cab or a rental vehicle from the city to the park.
How to visit the park? Are private vehicles allowed?
No, private vehicles are not allowed inside the premises of the park. The best way to explore the park is by strolling around on foot.
Timings of the park:
The Dachigam park is open from 5.30 am to 6.30 pm.
Accommodation facilities for Dachigam National Park:
There are some accommodation facilities available inside the park as well. However, you can easily look for accommodation in Srinagar as you can find a host of places to stay there. It is better to find accommodation in Srinagar as a visit to the park is mostly a few hours’ affair.
Some useful tips to visit the Dachigam National Park:
Whenever you visit a tourist place, a few tips definitely come in handy. Here are some tips for you to make your visit here a smooth sail.
- It is advised that you carry some warm clothes during your visit here. The temperature can often fall down and it can get chilly.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
- Carry your own food as water as you won’t find any inside the park.
- If you are carrying a camera and wish to video shoot, you need to obtain a permit for that.
- Similarly, if you wish to camp or trek to Upper Dachigam, you need a permit for that as well.
- While exploring on foot, only stick to the designated routes.
- Follow the sign boards inside the park.
- It is best to take a local guide along with you to the park.
- Please maintain the decorum of the park. Kindly do not litter, throw trash, make noises or do anything that can harm the beautiful flora and fauna of the national park.
Follow the above tips for a safe and fun-filled visit to the park.
Over to You
In this article, we shared with you all the information that you need to visit the Dachigam National Park. The greenery, wide variety of trees and plants, animals and birds make it a worthwhile place to visit. Spend a few hours away from the use of your phones and revel in all the beauty that this park has to offer. When in Kashmir, the Dachigam is a must-visit.
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Mir Saeid is the Co-Founder of Kashmirica. He is an enthusiastic cultural entrepreneur driven by the passion to bring about a social impact. Mir has worked at leading Marketing positions at various SMEs and Start-ups for 7+ years. He also has a Masters in International Business from the University of Bedfordshire to his credit.