Dachigam National Park derives its name from the 10 villages that existed before establishment of the protected nature reserve in 1981. The area of park is spread across 141 sq kilometers and lies at a distance of approximately 22 kilometers from Srinagar, the capital of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Sanctuary has been a protected area since the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir used the area as the Royal Hunting Reserve. Now a national park, Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of several lakes, rivers, flowery meadows, waterfalls and dense coniferous forests. Being located in the Paradise of India (Jammu and Kashmir), the protected forests feature grasslands that are filled with the most colorful flowers throughout the year except in harsh winters. The Dagwan River that flows from the Marsar Lake is a famous fishing spot and is known for its population of trout. The Park is located in two different zones, namely the Upper and the Lower Dachigam with both zones containing some major distinction in terms of terrain, flora and fauna. A jeep can be hired to transverse through Lower Dachigam but the Upper Dachigam can only be tread by foot or on Zanskari Ponies.
[Also see: Top 100 Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks of India]
Being located in the foot hills of the Himalayas, the climate at Dachigam is mostly favorable throughout the year (14 degrees – 30 degrees Celsius) except during peak winters when wind, snow and severely low temperatures (2 degrees – 4 degrees Celsius) make the area inaccessible. However the winter months from September to December are the best to spot some of the rare species.
Best Time to Visit
The sanctuary is accessible throughout the year except the winter months when chilling temperatures and snow makes the terrain difficult to treat and most animals can’t be spotted. However, the months of October and November are considered the best as the climate is the most pleasant and the fauna activity is the highest. The park is closed between January and April.
Upper Dachigam – June to August
Lower Dachigam – September to December
Wildlife at Dachigam National Park
The dense forests and the variable terrain and range of altitude make Dachigam National Park an abode for a verity of species of animals and birds, many of which are endangered and rare.
Animals – Kashmir Stag (Hangul), Leopard, Snow Leopard, White-bellied Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, the Otter, Yellow-throated Marten, Himalayan Weasel, Jackal, Long-tailed Marmot, Jungle-cat, Leopard Cat and Himalayan Fox etc.
Avi-Fauna – Monal Pheasant, Crimson Tragopan, Golden Eagles, Lammergeier Vultures, Blood Pheasant, Cinnamon Sparrows, Woodpeckers, Himalayan Rubythroats, Pygmy Owlets, Babblers, Orange Bullfinch, Golden Orioles, Kashmir Flycatcher, Black Bulbuls and Koklass Pheasant etc.
Distance from Nearby and Major Cities
- Srinagar – 22 kilometers
- Jammu – 158 kilometers
- Anantnag – 47 kilometers
- Shimla – 392 kilometers
- Chandigarh – 412 kilometers
- Pune – 1740 kilometers
- Lucknow – 989 kilometers
- Delhi – 647 kilometers
- Mumbai – 1687 kilometers
- Kolkata – 1827 kilometers
- Bangalore – 2366 kilometers
- Jaipur – 806 kilometers
- Amritsar – 278 kilometers
- Gurgaon – 658 kilometers
- Hyderabad – 1893 kilometers
Nearest Airport – The closest airport is located approximately 22 kilometers in the town of Srinagar.
Nearest Railway Station – The neighboring town of Jammu is the closest railway station to Dachigam with a distance of around 158 kilometers.
Road Accessibility – Dachigam National Park is easily accessible by road and lies at a distance of 22 kilometers from Srinagar, 112 kilometers from Pahalgam and 158 kilometers from Jammu.
The best way to find a place to rest your bones is to book your lodgings at the park itself, the dirt cheap prices of Rs 40 for single and Rs 125 for double-bed rooms are available in both the Upper and the Lower zones of the national park. Alternatively, accommodation is also available in a much larger and lavish manner at the nearby town of Srinagar, which contains several mid priced- high priced hotels and guest houses.
There is no entry fee to the park and jeeps can be hired at the very entrance.
Useful Contacts for Bookings and Accommodation
The Chief Wildlife Warden
Tourist Reception Centre
Srinagar – 190006
Indian Society for Himalayan Studies, Rengco Campus
Hazratbal, Srinagar – 190006
Jammu and Kashmir Environment and Wasteland Development Society
14, Ranbir Market, Indira Chowk
Jammu – 180 001