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WILD KASHMIR & LADAKH

Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

Location:Ladakh and the Tibet (China) border

Area:4,000 sq km

Uniqueness:It is important as one of the few places in India with a population of the Kiang or Tibetan Wild Ass, as well as the rare Black-necked Crane.

Fauna:Himalayan Marmot, Brahminy Ducks, Brown-headed Gulls, black-necked Crane, Chukar ETC

Accessibility:There are two roads in to Leh, one from Manali in Himachal Pradesh in the south, and one from Srinagar in the west. Both routes are equally spectacular in different ways, and both are time consuming with winding, narrow roads, and numerous military checkpoints. State buses run from Srinagar and both privately operated deluxe buses, and state-run deluxe and ordinary buses run from Manali.

Season: May to December

Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve

Location:Baramula District

Area:180 sq.kms

Uniqueness:It is famous for retaining several rare and endangered species like the musk deer, and a rich and varied avifauna.

Flora:The area holds a rich cover of vegetation, the dominant forest consisting of conifers which account for over 90%. The principal species are Cedrus deodara, Pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, Aesculus indica etc. The major shrubs are Indigofera heterantha, Viburnum spp., Sorbaria tomentosa etc. the ground cover is very rich and dicotyledonus herbs dominate, comprising of Rumex patientia, Primula spp., anemone spp., etc.

Fauna:Nature has gifted this Biosphere Reserve with multiple species of rare, endangered and protected species. The main species are Kashmir Stag (Hangul), Musk deer, Serow, brown bear, Leopard, black bear and red fox etc.

Accessibility:Airport: Srinagar (57 kms.), Railhead: Jammu (342 kms.), Road: Srinagar (48 kms.)

Season: Mammal viewing: September to March (in lower areas). Bird viewing: March to May (in lower areas)

Dachigam National Park

Location: Badgam Distt

Area:141 sq. kms

Uniqueness:DACHIGAM is a wildlife sanctuary which is home to the endangered HANGUL species of the Deer in the country. There is a Trout fish farm also in Dachigam. It is big natural reserve which requires permissions from the Wildlife Authorities for exploration. The dense forests of Dachigam offer a brilliant view along with a Glacier fed rivulet flowing right through the middle.

Flora:There are over fifty species of trees, twenty of shrubs and five hundred species of herbs. The principal tree species are Pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, Juglans regia, Morus alba, Betula utilis, Salix spp.,Populus spp., Prunus armeniaca, Corylus colurna, Quercus robur, Ulmus wallichiana, Aesculus indica, etc. Shrubs include Berberis spp., Desmodium tiliaefolium, Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana, Indigofera heterantha etc

Fauna:There are twenty mammal species which include Kashmir Stag (Hangul), Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan black bear, langur, Himalayan marmot, leopard etc.

Accessibility:Airport: Srinagar (32 kms.), Railhead: Jammu (315 kms.), Road: Srinagar (21 kms.)

Season: Upper Dachigam Mammal / Bird viewing: May to August. Lower Dachigam Mammal viewing: September to March. Bird viewing: March to May.

Hemis High Altitude National Park

Location: Ladakh, J & K

Area: 600 sq. Km

Uniqueness:The Park known as the Snow leopard capital of India has an altitudinal range of 3,300 to 6,000 m, and hosts a remarkable variety of wildlife. The park has been earmarked as one of the snow leopard reserves under a central government project to conserve the species.

Flora:These areas consists of trees and plants like Junipers, Myricaria, Poplar, Salix, Birch, Astragalus, Taraxacum, Leortopodium, Ephedra and many sparse grasslands

Fauna:The National park is famous for its population of the rare Snow Leopards and the Ibex. The other main species recorded in the National park are Palla's cat, srapu, Bharal, red fox, rhesus macaque, Hanuman languor, wolf, marmot, Tibetan argali and Ladakh Urial etc. The Bharal and Urial are seen in large numbers.

Accessibility: Air: Indian Airlines and Jet airways operates direct flights from Delhi to Leh (1047 km) regularly. Indian Airlines operates flights at regular intervals from Srinagar, Jammu and Chandigarh. Rail: The nearest railway station is Jammu-Tawi in Jammu Road: Leh is well connected with all the major cities within the state.

Season: June to October

Overa - Aru Biosphere Reserve

Location: Pahalgam District

Area: 400 sq.kms

Uniqueness: It is famous for retaining several rare and endangered species like the hangul, musk deer, brown bear, leopard, koklas, monal and snow cock.

Flora:The area holds a rich cover of vegetation, the dominant forest consisting of conifers which account for over 90%. The principal species are Cedrus deodara, Pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, Aesculus indica etc. The major shrubs are Indigofera heterantha, Viburnum spp., Sorbaria tomentosa etc. the ground cover is very rich and dicotyledonus herbs dominate, comprising of Rumex patientia, Primula spp., anemone spp., etc

Fauna:Nature has gifted this Biosphere Reserve with multiple species of rare, endangered and protected species. The main species are hangul, musk deer, serow, brown bear, Leopard, rhesus macaque, grey langur, Himalayan mouse hare, etc

Accessibility: Airport: Srinagar (87 kms.). Railhead: Jammu (280 kms.), Road: Srinagar (76 kms.) Anantnagh (40 kms.)

Season: Mammal viewing: September to March (in lower areas). Bird viewing: March to May (in lower areas). Mammal/Bird viewing: May to August (in upper areas.)