Hemis National Park or Hemis High Altitude National Park is high altitutde national park in the eastern Ladakh region and covers an area of 600 sq. kms and is famous for Snow Leopard, Asiatic ibex, Argali (Great Tibetian Sheep).
The park was founded in 1981 by protecting the Rumbak and Markha catchments, an area of about 600 km2 (230 sq mi). It grew in 1988 to around 3,350 km2 (1,290 sq mi), by incorporating neighboring lands. It increased again in 1990 to 4,400 km2 (1,700 sq mi), and is the largest national park in South Asia.
The park houses numerous Tibetan gompas and holy chortens within its boundaries. These include the famous 400-year-old Hemis Monastery. Hemis was a destination and via point on the silk routes of Tibet. Over 1,600 people live inside the park presently, with a large number of tourists and pilgrims visiting during the Hemis Tsechu festival.
The park is home to a viable breeding population of about 200 snow leopards, especially in the Rumbak catchment area. The prey base for the apex predator in the Central Asian Highlands is primarily supported in Hemis by Argali (Great Tibetan Sheep), Bharal (Blue Sheep), Shapu (Ladakhi Urial), and livestock. A small population of the Asiatic Ibex is also present in Hemis. Hemis is the only refuge in India containing the Shapu.
This region is in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, and does not receive much precipitation. Hence, dry forests of juniper, Populus – Salix forests, subalpine dry birch – fir are present at lower altitudes. You will find alpine and steppe trees predominantly at Hemis High National Park. These trees and shrubs are spread across the valley bottoms. Since the upper mountain slopes are moist, this area is characterized by alpine vegetation including: Anemone, Gentiana, Thallctrwn, Lloydia, Veronica, Delphinum, Care.x and Kobresia. The other parts of the park support steppe vegetation which is dominated by Caragana, Artemisia, Stachys, and Ephedra, present along the lower river courses.
Kishtwar High Altitude National Park is a National Park located in the Kishtawar district and covers the area of about 400 sq. kms. The park is famous for Himalayan Snow Cock and brown bear..
The National Park encompasses the catchments of Kiar, Nath and Kibar Nalas, all of which drain south-west into Marwa River which joins the Chenab River just above Kishtwar Town. The terrain is generally rugged and steep, with narrow valleys bounded by high ridges opening in their upper glacial parts. The area lies in the Central Crystalline belt of the Great Himalayas. Rocks are strongly folded in places and composed mainly of granite, gneiss and schist, with the occasional bed of marble. The shallow, slightly alkaline soils are mostly alluvial with gravel deposits (Kurt,1976;Bacha, 1986
The influence of the monsoon is weak. Mean annual rainfall at palmar and Sirshi (1,761 m), located near the periphery of the national park, is 827 mm and 741 mm, respectively, precipitation is maximal and in excess of 100 mm per month in March and April, and again in July and August.Most snow fall in December and January when the whole area becomes snowbound. Mean maximum and minimum temperatures recorded at Sirshi are 130 and -70 in January and 350c and 110c in July respectively (Kurt, 1976;Bacha,1986).
Kazinag National Park is situate in North bank of Jhelum close to Line of Control in Baramulla district about 70 kms away from capital city Srinagar. The National Park is famous for Markhor (Capra falconeri), Himalayan Musk Deer (Maschus crysogater) besides home of 120 species of birds and 20 species of mammals.
Kazinag is a temperate system, with warm summers and cold winters, and a temperature range of -20 to +30 °C. Precipitation is mainly in the form of snow in winter and rains in early spring with occasional showers during summer. There are four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Vegetation in Kazinag is dominated by coniferous forests with deodar (Cedrus deodara) at lower altitudes, fir (Abies pindrow), spruce (Picea smithiana) at middle to upper elevations and kail (Pinus wallichiana) is widely distributed from lower to upper elevations. Birch (Betula utilis) occur mainly in the subalpine zone whereas the other broad leaved forests including Prunus and Acer which occur in middle elevations and the horse chestnut (Aesculus indica) strands are distributed in lower elevations mainly along streams. The temperate scrub occurs at middle and lower elevations and is dominated by Indigofera, Spirea and Rosa. The sub-alpine and alpine scrub occurs at higher elevations and is dominated by Juniperus, Lonicera and Salix. Alpine meadows occupy the highest elevations. Other shrub species include Rosa macrofolia and Viburnum grandiflorum that are dominant along nallas[clarification needed] in lower elevations.
Around 20 species of mammals, including some which are rare, threatened or endangered are found in within Kazinag National park. Key animal species sighted are markhor (Capra falconeri), Himalayan musk deer (Moschus leucogaster), Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos), Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus), common leopard (Panthera pardus), Himalayan marmot (Marmota caudata) and small Kashmir flying squirrel (Eoglaucomys fimbriatus).
Famous for the Kashmiri stag Hangul, the Dachigam National Park is located 22 kilometers from Srinagar city centre, covering an area of 141 square kilometers. Set in the lap of Zabarwan Range of the western Himalayas, the variation in altitude ranges from 5500 ft to 14000 ft, as such the park is demarcated into an uneven region from gently sloping grasslands to sharp rocky outcrops and cliffs. Bare rock mountains and crevices above the tree line present a mesmerizing spectacle of the park from quite afar. There are alpine pastures, meadows, waterfalls and scrub vegetation with deep gullies in Dachigam National Park that help its luxuriant flora and diverse fauna flourish at the intended pace.
The park was initially created to ensure clean drinking water supply for the city of Srinagar by building a huge lake in the foothills of Zabarwan range. However, finding the area replete with exquisite flora and fauna, the Park was upgraded and declared a National Park in 1981. Marsar lake, origin of Dagwan river, lies high in its interiors. Dagwan river has its own significance for being the main water source throughout the Park and also being famous for its trout fish population. The park boasts of over 500 species of herbs, 50 species of trees and about 20 species of shrubs.
In its fauna, Dachigam is famous for its populations of Kashmiri stag Hangul (numbering 400 currently), musk deer, leopard, Himalayan grey langur, leopard cat, Himalayan black bear and yellow-throated marten. It is a paradise for bird watchers. Himalayan monal, golden oriole, pygmy owlet, koklass pheasant, Kashmir flycatcher, Tytler’s leaf warbler, streaked laughing thrush and Himalayan ruby-throat can be found at Dachigam.The best time to visit is between April and August when the Park is at its scenic best and approachable to its remotest corners. Even during the trekking over to the upper reaches, the spectacular vistas make perfect camping hideout. Entry permit is needed to enter the national park. It can be obtained from the check-post at the park’s entrance or Wildlife Warden’s office.
The best time to visit is between April and August