DAGCHIGAM NATIONAL PARK is located 23km from Srinagar. It covers an area of 141sq.km. The name of the park literally stands for “ten villages”, which cold be in memory of the ten villages that were relocated for its formation.
The park has been a protected area since 1910, first under the care of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and later under the observation of the concerned government authorities. It was initially created to ensure clean drinking water supply for the city of Srinagar. It was finally upgraded and declared a NATIONAL PARK in the year 1981.
The mountainsides below the tree line are heavily wooded. Most of this coniferous forest consists of broad leaf species. Interspersed between these are alpine pastures, meadows, waterfalls and scrub vegetation with deep gullies, locally known as NARS, running down the mountain face.
Most of the grasslands and meadows, except in the harsh winters, are covered with brightly coloured flowers. Located high among its interiors is the MARSAR LAKE from which flows the DAGWAN RIVER. This river flows all the way down to, and past, the lower region where it runs along the only proper road in the park and is also famous for its fish population ——- the trout.
The main animal species that Dagchigam is most famous for is the HANGUL (Kashmiri Stag), and the other species are musk deer, Himalayan grey langur, jackal, hill fox, Himalayan black bear, long-tailed marmot, Himalayan brown bear, yellow-throated marten, weasel and otter.
The birds here are cinnamon sparrow, black bulbul, Himalayan Monal, golden oriole Minivet, woodpecker, babbler, redstart, wagtail, chough, orange bullfinch, Kashmiri flycatcher, streaked laughing thrush, Himalayan ruby-throat, black-and-yellow grosbeak, bearded vulture, Himalayan griffin vulture, red-billed blue magpie and titmouse.
Many precautions have been taken to protect the flora and flora in DAGCHIGAM National Park. The Wildlife Institute of India and Jammu and Kashmir have a proposal about GPS tracking system to be implemented on HANGUL for its protection.