The beautiful Kashmir valley is wooing tourists with the magnificent opportunity of a wildlife safari in Dachigam National Park, some 22 km from the state capital Srinagar. Once known as a place where gunfire between Kashmiri rebels and Indian troops was exchanged on a regular basis, the park has turned into a dream destination for any wildlife lover. The safari trips, through dense forest, are provided in battery-driven eco friendly cars and visitors are clearly told the 'do's' and 'don'ts' by wildlife officials, before boarding these cars.
At the start of Dachigam safari, wildlife officials said that a big drop in insurgency-related violence resulted in the start of these trips. The safari in Yamaha-made battery cars costs 500 rupees (10.50 dollars), for a maximum of four people at a time. The safaris were launched in June 2009 and were a part of a push by the state government, to revive tourism in the region. The valley, described as 'Switzerland of the East', is now working to regain the lost title.
Dachigam wildlife safari is completely safe, as the paramilitary force is there to provide security to the visitors. Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, which sprawls over an area of 140 square km, is home to endangered red deer, black and brown bears, musk deer, leopards and large bird species such as black partridge and pheasants. The park also houses a Trout fish farm.