Also known as Overa-Aru Biosphere Reserve, the park is a small but beautiful habitat for several rare and endangered species such as the Hangul, Musk Deer, Brown Bear, Leopard, Koklas, Monal and Snow Cock. Close to Pahalgam, Overa is located 76 km from Srinagar and covers an area of 32.27 sq km. The altitude varies from 3000 to 5425 m above sea level. The natural beauty of the park is characterised by stunning mountain landscapes, grassy hills and deep valleys.
Despite being a small biosphere, Overa has a vast diversity of wildlife and magnificent species of pheasants like the Chukar, Koklas, Monal and Himalayan Snow Cock. There are 13 registered species of mammals and over 80 registered species of birds in the Overa National Park.
Flora And Fauna
Overa National Park retains a thick vegetation, about 90% of which belongs to the dense forests consisting of conifers. The major trees found in the area are Cedrus deodara, Pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, Aesculus indica etc. Besides, the area is rich in shrubs like Indigofera heterantha, Viburnum spp. and Sorbaria tomentosa, and Di-cotyledonus herbs like Rumex patientia, Primula spp., anemone spp., etc.
Among the wildlife varieties, the park has some of the rarest species of animals like musk deer, hangul, rhesus macaque, serow, langur, leopard, leopard cat, Himalayan mouse hare etc.
Out of the 80 species of birds found in the Overa National Park, the major ones are the Jungle Crow, Red Billed Chough, Griffon Vulture, Bearded Vulture, Himalayan Whistling Thrush, Rufous-backed Shrike, Indian Mynah, Monal, Snow Cock, Koklas, Blue Rock Pigeon, Kashmir Roller, European Hoopoe etc.
How To Get There
By air: Nearest airport is at Srinagar (87 km). By rail: Nearest railhead is at Jammu (280 km). By road: Frequent and smooth bus service from Pahalgam (11 km), Anantnag (40 km), and Srinagar (76 km).
The ideal time to visit the upper area of the Overa National Park is considered from May to August. Apart from this, in the lower areas, March to May is the perfect time for bird watching, and September to March for wildlife spotting. The park offers a few huts for accommodation, perfect for experiencing an adventurous stay at jungle.