Kishtwar National Park

Located in the Kishtwar district of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, Kishtwar National Park is a beautiful landscape endowed with vibrant and diverse flora and fauna. The national park incorporates the catchments of Kiar, Nath, and Kibar Nalas, all of which channel South-West into Marwa River and later on joins the Chenab River just above Kishtwar Town. The park was declared a National Park on 4th February 1981 and covers an expanse of 425sq. kilometers.

The terrain following the national park is rough, steep, and rugged with narrow valleys circumscribed by high elevations opening in their upper glacial parts. The area of the park is nestled in the Central Crystalline belt of the Great Himalayas with solid folded rocks mainly comprising of granite, gneiss, and schist, with sporadic marble beds. The park was mainly established in order to protect the endangered Snow Leopard that is left in very limited quantity in nature, but it also inhabits many other species of wild animals which mostly hail from the Himalayan region. The park is renowned for its rich and enchanting variety of wildlife and bird species along with a contrasting flora which mainly consists of coniferous, alpine, meadows, and scrubs forests.

Apart from the flora and fauna, the park experiences a plethora of visitors who come to witness the exquisite beauty of the lush green plateau enveloped by the snow-capped mountain peaks. Several small streams and cascading waterfalls enhance the beauty of Kishtwar National Park. Other highlights of the park are the trekking trails and the Saphire Mines of Paddar which must be explored when you visit the National Park. The altitude ranges from 1700m to 4800m above sea level with chilly weather during winters and moderate to cold weather during summers.

Dominant Flora

The dominant flora here comprises of Coniferous, Alpine, Meadows, and Scrub forests. Some other floral species found here are Pinus gerardiana, Cedrus deodara, Pinus wallichiana, Juglans regia, ParrotiopsisJacquemontiana, DesmodiumTiliaefolium, Dipsacus Mitis, Arteisia Vulgaris Ulmus spp., Brachypodium spp., Anemone spp., Artemisia vlugaris, Primula spp., Quercus spp., Rosa spp., etc.

Dominant Fauna

Mammals: Brown Bear, Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Ibex, Serow, Bharal, Hangul or Kashmiri Stag, Wild Boar, Indian Muntjac, Markhor, Rhesus Macaque

Birds: Himalayan Monal, Himalayan Snowcock, Koklass, Bearded Vulture, Western Tragopan Himalayan Jungle Crow, Griffon Vulture, Paradise Flycatcher, Golden Oriole, White Cheeked Bulbul, Indian Mynah.

Climatic Conditions

December to January happens to be the winter phase and the entire region gets covered with snow. The summer temperature ranges between 30 degrees to 10 degrees Celsius and the winter temperature varies between -7 degrees Celsius and 13 degrees Celsius.

The best time to visit the Kishtwar National Park is between the months of March and October when the weather is not too harsh and cold and you can witness the wildlife along with the blossoming trees and flowers during the spring season.

How to Reach

Nearest Train Station: The nearest railhead is at Jammu which is located 248km away.

Nearest Airport: The closest airport is Jammu airport situated 250km away from the park. Buses and taxis are available from the airport to take you to the national park.

Road Accessibility : A road is constructed up to Ikhala and bus services are available till Plamer, which is 20km away. You will have to carry on by foot or on horseback.

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