Dachigam National Park, sprawling over an area of around 141 sq. km, is located at a distance of 22 km from Srinagar. This park is famous for the endangered Hangul, which is the only species of red deer to be found in the country. The park is nestled in the deep valleys, steep wooded slopes, rolling alpine pastures and rocky outcrops. This national park has a variation in altitude that ranges between 1,600 m and 4,200 m, owing to its location in the mountainous area. This variation in altitude divides the entire park in to two regions, the upper region and the lower region.
Initially, the park was constructed so as to supply clean drinking water to Srinagar. However, later in 1910, the park was converted to a protected area. As the name suggests, Dachigam literally means Ten Villages. Declared as a National Park in 1981, the park since then is abode to several rare species of animals.
Hangul can be spotted in winters, when they roam around in the lower valley of this park. Some other inhabitants of this park include musk deer, jungle cats, brown bear and many more.
Tourists visiting the park can also spot several rare birds like black bulbuls, cinnamon sparrows, Himalayan monals and Kashmir flycatcher. In addition, bird lovers can also see colourful pheasants including the koklass pheasant, crimson tragopan and others. . Besides, golden eagle and bearded vulture or lammergeier can also be spotted flying higher in the sky.
The flora that tourists can find in this national park includes wild cherry, pear, plum and many others. Other trees that can be seen lined in this park are oak, willow, poplar among many others.
The best time to visit the upper region of this national park extends from the month of May to August. Lower Dachigam can be visited during the months of September to December.