The Dachigam National Park
The pristine and mesmerizing forests of the Dachigam National Park. Thankfully they're are still places in the mountains which still maintain primeval forests like they used to exist.
The Park is named so as 10 villages were moved from inside the present boundaries of the Park to establish this as a Nature Reserve by the Maharaja. Hence the Dach or 10 and Gam or Village.
The Park also served as the rain catchment area for the City. The Dagwan Nallah flowing through the Park originates from the Marsar Lake and supplies water to the Sarband Lake which used to supply all the drinking water to Srinagar.
The Dagwan Nallah is the main source of water for the Harwan Reservoir, which in turn supplied the water to Srinagar supply. The Dagwan flows down from the Marsar Lake through the pristine environs of Upper Dachigam.
The altitude varies from 5500 ft to 14000 ft and the Park is spread over 140 sq kms. It is the last stronghold of the Kashmiri Hangul and in spite of hiking around the Park for almost 15 kms we were unable to spot any. The Park is also home to Leopards, Himalayan Black and Brown Bear and even possibly Snow Leopards in the higher reaches.
Entry to the Park is restricted and permission is required from the Regional Wild Life Warden to get entry to the Park. We got into the Park on a rainy cold April Day. We were unlucky not to have any siting of the Himalayan Black Bear or the Kashmiri Hangul but the 20 odd kms that we hiked in the Park were totally worth. It was like being back in time.