Dachigam National Park
Dachigam National Park is located 22 km (kilometer) from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. It covers an area of 141 sq km (square kilometer). The name literally stands for ‘ten villages’, which could be in memory of the ten villages that were relocated in order to create the park.
Dachigam was initially established to ensure the supply of clean drinking water to Srinagar city. A protected area since 1910, it was declared as a national park in 1981. The park is best known as the home of the hangul, or Kashmir stag. Dachigam is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit is between April and August.
The park is situated at altitudes ranging from 5500 ft to 14,000 ft. Due to the variation in altitudes the park is demarcated into upper and lower regions. The park’s terrain ranges from gently sloping grasslands to cliffs and sharp rocky outcrops.
The park boasts of over 500 species of herbs, 50 species of trees and about 20 species of shrubs.
Besides Hangul, Dachigam is also famous for its populations of musk deer, leopard, Himalayan Grey Langur, leopard cat, Himalayan Black Bear, yellow-throated marten among others. It’s a paradise for bird watchers. Himalayan monal, golden oriole,
pygmy owlet, koklass pheasant, Kashmir flycatcher, Tytler’s leaf warbler, streaked laughingthrush, Himalayan rubythroat and many other species can be found at Dachigam. Only area where Kashmir stag is found.
Dachigam national park is also known for its scenic locales. Flowers and greenery carpet grasslands and meadows except during winter, when the entire forest remains blanketed under snow. The sight of blue poppy blooms covering the grassland is a sight to behold. Wildlife enthusiasts believe that one visit to Dachigam is not enough to enjoy the natural beauty of the forest since the park changes its appearance with the onset of each season. The autumn rutting of Hangul should not be missed. Fierce male competition for mating characterizes the rutting season and the forest echoes with the mating calls of the deer