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.
Park Population: 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
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.
Main attraction: 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
Lodges and Rest Houses or Hotels in Srinagar
For further information
Chief Wildlife Warden, Srinagar, Jammu and