India is the land of variety and diversity. One of the most beautiful states of India is Jammu and Kashmir which is marked for its numerous tourist attractions. Along with other attractions, there are a lot of sanctuaries and national parks in the state. Kishtwar High Altitude National Park is one such park which displays an amazing range of flora and fauna.
This national park in Jammu and Kashmir was established on 4th Feb, 1981. It was established with the chief aim of protecting the snow leopard species and the prey population. It is declared as one of the seven snow leopard reserves in India under a scheme launched by the Central Government.
Kishtwar High Altitude National Park
Area and location:
Lying in the Central Crystalline Belt of the Himalayas, the park spreads over a total area of 400 sq km. Located about 248 km from Jammu, it lies in Doda District which is around 40 km away from the Kishtwar Town.
The park is marked for its topography; the Great Himalayas in the eastern side provides a marked backdrop for the park. Along with the mountains, other natural creations like rivers and rivulets also contribute to the magical charm of the park. Rinnay River flows in the north, Kiar Nala Catchment runs in the south and Marwa River casts its spell on the west.
Flora and fauna:
While in the Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, you would get to watch a host of wildlife. A look at the lifestyle of different species of mammals and birds would really make your journey exciting. Among the 15 mammal species are brown bear, Himalayan Tahr, Hangul Cervus, Ibex Capra, Himalayan musk deer Moschus chrysogaster, langur, leopard, Indian Muntijal, etc.
50 species of birds in the park include Bearded Vulture, Paradise Flycatcher, White Cheeked Bulbul, Himalyan Jungle Crow, Indian Mynah, Griffon Vulture, Golden Oriole, etc.
The marked variations in climate, topography and altitude result in the variety of forest vegetation. There are a lot of shrubs and trees which make the park look really lush green. Tree species like Pinus wallichiana,, Cedrus deodara, Juglans regia, Quercus spp., etc., herbs such as Dipsacus Mitis, Artemisia Vulgaris, Artemisia vulgaris, etc. and shrubs like Desmodium Tiliaefolium, Viburnum spp., and Parrotiopsis Jacquemontiana cover most of the area of the park.
Enjoyment inside and outside the park:
If you are interested in jungle activities, then you would get a lot to do in the park. Let loose your fears and indulge in trekking to have a blast of a time with your partner, family or friends. Other than this you can also visit the breathtaking waterfalls of the nearby area.
As Kishtwar is located on a plateau above the Chenab River and below the Nagin Sheer glacier, the picturesque setting of the town is really marvelous. If you visit the park during summer, you can take hold of fine saffron grown in this area.
Best time to visit:
The altitudinal level of the park ranges from 1,700 to 4,800 meters above the sea level. Summer is quite enjoyable as the temperature fluctuates between 11 to 35 degrees centigrade. Winters are generally very cold in the state. Although the temperature generally drops to -7 C, you can visit the park if you are physically fit.
For the wildlife buffs, September to march is the best time while for the bird lovers the months of March to May is considered to be the best.
There are a number of hotels and resorts in Jammu like Fortune Inn Riviera, Indian Pride Hotel, Hotel Asia Jammu, Royal Parks, Hotel Swastika, Ashiana Hotel, etc. where you can accommodate according to your budget and preferences.
How to reach the park?
- The nearest airport is at Jammu which is 250 km away from the park. The town Kishtwar is located almost 232km from the city of Jammu.
- If you want to travel by rail, then you have to travel from Jammu railhead
- You can travel by bus to Plamer which is almost 20 km north of Kishtwar
Thus visiting the Kishtwar High Altitude National Park would surely be an enlivening experience for you.