The Kishtwar National Park was declared as a National Park in 1981, is covering a 400 square kilometer area at altitudes ranging between 1700 meters to 4800 meters above mean sea level in the Doda District of Jammu & Kashmir. Located 248 kilometers to the north-east of Jammu City, this Park is an upland valley although a very important part of the sub-Himalayan eco-system, is lacking in infrastructure and the basic tourist facilities.
Lying ensconced amidst the picturesque folds of the Pir Panjal and the Great Himalayan Ranges, these valleys contain some of the most adventurous and breath-taking treks of this region. The Kishtwar National Park encompasses the catchment area of the Kiar, Nath and Kibar Nalas, all of which leaving a trail drain south-west into the Marwa River, and which in turn joins the Chenab River to the north of Kishtwar Town. This terrain is generally rugged and steep with narrow valleys sandwiched between high ridges opening in their upper glacial areas.
This Park is the natural habitat of 15 species of mammals including the endangered Snow Leopard, the Musk Deer, Himalayan Black & Brown Bear, the Hangul, Markhol, Goral and Langur. The variations in topography, climate and altitude contribute to a presence of different types of vegetation consisting of trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. A thriving 50 species of birdlife exists within these woods which mostly consists of the Himalayan Jungle Crow, Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Paradise Fly-Catcher, Golden Oriole, White-Cheeked Bulbul and the Indian Myna.
The best season for viewing these birds is from March to May every year, and the mammals are most often sighted between September and March. Jammu is the nearest Airport and Rail-Head from where one needs to take the road-route to Kishtwar Town to visit this National park.
Himalayan Snowcock: It is large grey partridge-like bird almost 54-72 centimeters in size, and belonging to the pheasant family. It is found across the Himalayan ranges and in parts of the adjoining Pamir range of Asia, and are seen to be frequenting the alpine pastures and steep ridges of mountains above the tree lines near to the snowline. Generally found between 4000-5000 meter elevations during summers, they however travel down to 2400 meters elevation during severe winters. It has a large distribution range with no visible decline in population is for the present considered safe and of “least concern”.