14-Jun-2024  Srinagar booked.net

Explorer

Dachigam's Wild Abode In Srinagar

"As I departed the enchanting terrain, a river flowing through the heart of the forest, frilled by earthen rocks, bid adieu, yet the reluctance to leave lingered within me.”

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Photograph By Zubair Hameed


The mesmerizing Dal Lake on the left and the wide Zabarban mountain range on the right pave the way to the Dachigam National Park, located 22 kilometres from Srinagar city and home to Kashmir’s national animal, Hangul. 

Apart from Hangul, Dachigam houses the thriving habitat for an array of wildlife, including musk deer, leopard, Himalayan Grey Langur, leopard cat, Himalayan Black Bear, yellow-throated marten, Himalayan monal, golden oriole, pygmy owlet, koklass pheasant, Kashmir flycatcher, Tytler’s leaf warbler, streaked laughingthrush, Himalayan rubythroat and over 500 species of herbs, 50 species of trees and about 20 species of shrubs.

 Photograpgh By Zubair Hameed

The gateway to this wildlife utopia welcomes you with bold letters intricately declaring the park's name, two majestic brown-coated Hanguls stand on each side of the imposing black gate, adorned with a light rump patch and framed by a blue halo, seem to wear welcoming smiles.

Upon treading into the park, the crisp sound of autumn leaves guides you to a long bridge, girded with a natural tunnel created by overarching trees. Along the path, caretakers take respite, sipping tea, and immersing themselves in the profound beauty of nature.

Local Caretaker Offering Prayers... Photo By Zubair Hammed

As I ascended the stairs, two leopards were encircling their rectangular green cage, their sleek forms moving with a sinuous elegance as I descended down the stairs, three black bears with fluffy fur were boastfully playing with each other and eagerly awaiting their food, a palpable anticipation underscored by the watchful eye of their guardian.

Besides the enchanting wild animals, the national park also breeds two kinds of Trout fishes, the mighty brown and rainbow trout’s, specifically found only in Kashmir valley.

Etymologically, there were ten villages which were relocated for its formation. Dachigam was initially established to ensure the supply of clean drinking water to Srinagar city. It was declared as a national park in 1981.

The stretch of the park is such that fatigue sets in while traversing its entirety. As I departed the enchanting terrain, a river flowing through the heart of the forest, frilled by earthen rocks, bid adieu, yet the reluctance to leave lingered within me.