Jammu and Kashmir abounds in tourist attractions. Many people visit the place in order to explore its rich and vast array of wildlife. The Himalayan region in the state houses a good number of wildlife population. The rich variety in topography, vegetation and climate along with the biosphere reserves have much to offer to the nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The growing awareness about the necessity of preserving wildlife has led to the establishment of a many parks that also house many rare and endangered species.
Area and location:
It is located at a distance of 22 km from Srinagar. The area forms almost half of the Dal Lake's catchments area. The sanctuary spreads over an area of 141 sq km. Lower Dachigam and Upper Dachigam are the two divisions of the area. It stands at an altitude that ranges from 1700m to 4300m.
The flora and fauna of Dachigam wildlife sanctuary is really noteworthy. Situated amidst the western Himalayas, the landscape of the park is characterized by gently sloping grasslands, sharp rocky outcrops and cliffs. Coniferous forests dotted with alpine pastures, surging meadows, scrub vegetation, waterfalls, etc. are the main vegetation here.
The mountain meadows are covered with beautiful flowers that give a colorful look to the sanctuary. You can view the scenic beauty all throughout the year except in the winter. Commonly found wild trees in the forest are Chinar, Poplar, Wild Cherry, Oak, Apricot, Birch, Elm, Plum, Apple, Chestnut, Walnut, Pear, Willow, Pine and Peach.
You will find a varied wild population here such as Langur, Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Himalayan Marmot, the wild boar known as Makhor etc. But the most attractive wild animal is the Hangul that is also called Kashmir Stag.
Some of the exotic birds found in the region are Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier), Golden Eagle, Red-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Streaked Laughingthrush, Tickell's Thrush, Black and Yellow Grosbeak, Himalayan Monal, Koklass Pheasant, Kashmir Flycatcher, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Green-backed Tit, Himalayan Bulbul, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, Scaly-bellied Woodpecker, Paradise Flycatcher, Tytler's Leaf-Warbler, etc.
When to visit?
You will be surprised to know that the park remains very cold almost throughout the year. Although the summer is very pleasant, it is cool and lasts from May to August. During the summers, the temperature ranges from 8 to 14 C, whereas the winter lasts from September to December. But the winters are really very cold with temperature coming down to 4 C to 2 C.
Where to stay?
There are plenty of budget and luxury hotels in Srinagar city. Luxury hotels like Silver Star, The Lalit Grand Palace, City Plaza, Gul-e-Anar and budget hotels like New Mamta, Sterling, Diplomat, Ritz Houseboat etc. are well-preferred.
There are two separate timing to visit the two areas of the sanctuary. May-August remains the best time to visit the Upper Dachigam, whereas September to December remains the preferable time to visit the Lower Dachigam. The park is closed from January to April.
There are two regions- Lower Dachigam that can be accessed through roads; while the other one is Higher Dachigam which can be accessed only on foot.
The nearest railhead is at Jammu at a distance of 200 km from the Dachigam sanctuary.
Srinagar is the nearest city that is well connected to the sanctuary. Srinagar airport is the nearest airport.
You shouldn't cause any damage to the flora and fauna of the park. You should not lit fire, throw cigarette buds or any packets that can pollute the environment of the sanctuary. You cannot take firearms and chemicals; you should not also play any music as the sound might scare or irritate the animals.
You should carry some light woolen clothes during the summers and heavy woolen clothes during winter.
If you are a non-Indian national, then you have to take prior permission from the Indian foreign office in order to visit the sanctuary.
With a Trout fish farm that is a big natural reserve, 150 species of birds and more than 20 species of mammals, the Dachigam wildlife sanctuary has become one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in North India. So come and enjoy the glory of nature in this distant habitat.