If you are a nature lover then you must visit a national park. This is a place where the animals can be seen in their native habitats and not in a zoo in captivity. The national parks help preserve flora and fauna of the local area in their original state. We the tourists are outsiders willing to see them while the animals are comfortable in their home. You can see many rare species of trees and animals in this reserve.
The Dachigam Park became a reserve protected area in 1910 by the Kings of Kashmir to provide clean water to the city of Srinagar. Later the government has also retained its status and made it into a national park. It is 22 kms from the main city of Srinagar. The Dachigam national park gets its name from two words Dachi and gam, where Dachi means ten and Gam means villages. Actually to set up this reserve and keep the humans and animals at a safe distance from each other ten villages had to be relocated from the forest area. Thus the name was originated.
Topography of Dachigam National Park
As Dachigam National Park is at a height of 5500 ft to 14000 ft there are varied varieties to be seen, in terms of flora and fauna both. The total area covered under this project is 141 sq. Kms. It is located in the Zabarwan Range of the Himalayas. There are steep Rocky Mountains as well as lush green grasslands all in the same park.
It is not a place too frequented by the tourists due to the cold weather of the region, so the animals are free to roam around easily. They can be easily sighted if you maintain patience and calm. The area consists of sharp rocks as well as grasslands and meadows. There are scrub vegetation alpine trees and waterfalls. The water is so clear and fresh it is a fairy land like feel.
Flora and Fauna in Dachigam National Park
You will be able to see Hangul or the Kashmir Stag, which is the specially preserved species and many more. You can spot Musk deer, Himalayan serow, Kashmir grey langur, leopard cat, Himalayan black and brown bear, leopards, jackal, fox, weasel, otter etc. As for birds that are local as well as migratory to the region. You have to be silent in order to do bird watching. You will be able to see Cinnamon Sparrow, monal, golden oriole, black bulbul, Pygmy owl, woodpecker, pheasant, chough, orange bullfinch, Kashmir flycatcher, minuet, Himalayan ruby throat, wall creeper, vultures, eagles and magpie.
Various Trees In National Park
The reserve forest consists of coniferous trees that have broad leaves. You can see many fruit trees like wild cherries, plum, peaches, apple, walnut and apricot trees. When they are fruit laden the sight is so colourful in the winter season the ground is full of various colourful seasonal local flowers. Other trees found here are oak, pine, chinar, poplar, birch, elm, and willow. There is ever lasting greenery as all trees do not shed leaves at any one given time.
Lake in National Park
Since we know that the Dachigam park is spread in a vast area it also includes Mansar lake which is contributes to a tributary of Dagwan River. Since the water is not stagnant, there are many fresh water fish found in it. Trout is a priced fish found in the lake. You can do fishing in the Lake with proper prior permission. You can spend a whole day here and you will still not have seen the whole of it. It is easy to be lost in the mesmerizing beauty of this place. The lake is covered with mountains in all the sides. Since mostly of them are snow clad, it feels as if a painting has come alive.
Activities In National Park
You and you children also camp along the river and have fun time, again with prior permission. If you wish to stay back in the park there is accommodation facility by the forest department and needs to be booked in advance. You can do fishing and catch trout, bird watching. As there are loads of different trees you can collect leaves of different variety. Go for safari in the vehicles of the forest department.
It is not advisable to wander off into the interiors alone as there are carnivorous animals on the loose. You can also lose track of the route you followed and be left alone. So do take a guide or a local person with you when you go inside the park for your own safety. There is a 10 km specified trekking track for you to enjoy the most of the park in one go. Though it is so big that one day may not feel enough but you will get to see the best parts of the park. Going to the upper part of the park is a full day trek. The view is amazing and heavenly, but due to the tough terrain and changing weather, gear up properly before you begin this trek.
Best Time To Visit in Dachigam National Park
Though the park is open throughout the year but it is advisable to avoid winter season. April to October would be best time to go there. The upper area are full of snow in other times so cannot be accessed. During the summers you will also see fruits laden on the trees and flowers creating a bed on the ground. The whole view is worth a visit. The lower part can be reached by road but to access to the upper half you will have to trek for a day. The closest airport and railway station will be at Srinagar.
Hope you have got a fair idea about the park and all the prior permissions and bookings required. Make these reservations when you plan to come here along with a forecast review, so that you will not have to go back without exploring much. It is a full day tour at least so provide time accordingly in your trip.