Attributed as one of the seven snow leopard reserves under a project launched by Central Government, the Kishtwar High Altitude National Park lies in Doda District, about 40km north-east of Kishtwar Town. The park was established to conserve the snow leopard species, its prey populations and its fragile mountain habitat. Spread over an area of 400 sq km., the park was declared a national park on 4 February 1981. With Rinnay River in the north, Kibar Nala catchment in the south, the Great Himalayas in the east and Marwa River in the west, the area lies in the Central Crystalline belt of the Great Himalayas. The altitude of the park ranges from 1700m to 4800m.
Kishtwar High Altitude National Park in Jammu draws thousands of tourists in the charm of distinctive topography and vegetation along with more than 50 species of birds and about 15 mammal species.
Flora And Fauna
Due to variations in topography, climate and altitude, the park offers a rich vegetation. Its lower altitude areas (1700-2400 m) are filled with cedar, blue pine, Aesculus indica, walnut Juglans regia, poplar Populus ciliata, hazel Corylus cornuta, bird cherry Padus cornuta, ash Fraxinus cornuta and yew Taxus wallichiana. Apart from this, the sub-alpine zone (3000-3700 m) has forest of silver fir and birch Betula utilis. The major trees found at Kishtwar National Park are Cedrus Deodara, Pinus Gerardiana, Pinus Wallichiana, and Juglans Regia. The higher area comprises of shrubs like Parrotiopsis Jacquemontiana and Desmodium Tiliaefolium, and herbs like Dipsacus Mitis, Artemisia Vulgaris, etc.
The park is a renowned snow leopard reserve. Besides, it provides a habitat for Brown bear Ursus arctos, Himalayan musk deer Moschus chrysogaster, Hangul Cervus, Ibex Capra, Wild boar, Indian muntjac, Serow Capricornis sumatraensis, Himalayan Tahr, Bharal etc.
Out of fifty, the major avifauna (bird) species are the Himalayan Jungle Crow, Griffon Vulture, Bearded Vulture, Golden Oriole, Paradise Flycatcher, White Cheeked Bulbul, and Indian Mynah.
How To Reach
By air: Nearest airport is situated at Jammu (250 km). By rail: Nearest railhead is Jammu (248 km). By road: Bus services are operated up to Plamer only, some 20 km north of Kishtwar.
Kishtwar High Altitude National Park offers wonderful opportunities and atmosphere to enjoy trekking or various other jungle activities. September to March is considered the best time for wildlife viewing, and March to May for bird watching. The climate is quite pleasant in summer as the temperature varies between 11 to 35 degree celcius. In winter, the temperature may drop to -7 degrees, but still the conditions are not harsh from the tourism point of view.