|Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary
|Location||Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir, India|
|Area||180 km2 (69 sq mi)|
|Max. elevation||4,300 metres (14,100 ft)|
|Min. elevation||2,400 metres (7,900 ft)|
|Visitors||3000 per day (Summer) (in 1979)|
|Governing body||Department of Wildlife Protection|
The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary spread over 180 square kilometres (69 sq mi) is a protected area in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The sanctuary lies on the north-eastern side of the Pir Panjal mountain range and falls under the northwest Biogeographic Zone 2A. It lies 50 kilometres (31 mi) south-west of Srinagar and 26 kilometres (16 mi) from Baramulla. The sanctuary was first declared as a game reserve in 1981 and later upgraded to a sanctuary in 1987.
The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the Pir Panjal Range of the Western Himalayas. The Gulmarg tourist resort including the Gulmarg Golf Club and the 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) long Gulmarg Gondola are surrounded by the sanctuary. The elevation of the sanctuary ranges from 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) to 4,300 metres (14,100 ft). It is surrounded by the forests of the Gulmarg basin and the upper catchment area of the Ferozpur stream. The sanctuary is bordered by the forest divisions of Jehlum Valley to the north and west, Poonch and Pir Panjal to the south and the Drang village to the east. The highly steep terrain of the upper reaches of Ferozpur gorge consists of Panjal volcanics, with exposed acidic lava flows. Limestone, shale, quartzite and slate occur throughout the sanctuary. The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary has a temperate climate. Snowfall during the winter amounts most part of the precipitation.
The vegetation of the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary mainly consists of sub-alpine forests of silver fir (Abies pindrow), silver birch (Betula utilis) and blue pine. Silver fir is restricted to moist aspects and is associated with Pinus griffithii , Taxus wallichiana and Picea smithiana at lower altitudes. Silver birch is spread out in the mountain ridges which borders the alpine pastures between 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) and 3,500 metres (11,500 ft). At lower altitudes, Pinus griffithi are predominant in the blue pine forests that surround the Gulmarg resort. They are mixed with spruce – Picea smithiana, maple – Acer cappadocicum and yew – Taxus wallichiana. The alpine meadows are dominated by the herbaceous flora of different species. These include Corydalis , Inula , Potentilla , Primula , Gentiana , Rumex and Iris . Daffodils and jonquils of the genus Narcissus , which were introduced have become naturalized. The sanctuary has also valuable resources of medicinal plants such as Saussurea costus (Jogi badshah), Picrorhiza kurroa and Jurinea dolomiaea .
The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary has a recorded 95 bird species of different families including Kashmir flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra), Himalayan snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis), Impeyan monal (Lophophorus impejanus) and Koklass pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha). There are 31 butterfly species reported from the sanctuary.
The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is noted for its wildlife. The mammals found in the sanctuary include Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Musk deer (Moschus crysogaster), Kashmir grey langur (Semnopithecus ajax), Snow leopard (Uncia), Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus), Red fox (Vulpes), Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), Jungle cat (Felis chaus) and Yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula).The sanctuary acts as a natural corridor in the movement of brown bear and markhor between Poonch and the Kashmir Valley forests.
Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The town is situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the Western Himalayas and lies within the boundaries of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Pir Panjal Range, also Panchaladeva in Hindu scriptures, is a group of mountains in the Lesser Himalayan region, running from east-southeast (ESE) to west-northwest (WNW) across the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, the Indian administrated Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistani administered territory of Azad Kashmir, where the average elevation varies from 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to 4,100 m (13,500 ft). The Himalayas show a gradual elevation towards the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. Pir Panjal is the largest range of the Lesser Himalayas. Near the bank of the Sutlej River, it dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between the Beas and Ravi rivers on one side and the Chenab on the other. The renowned Galyat mountains are also located in this range. The region is connected to the Valley of Kashmir via Mughal Road and used to be the historical connction of Kashmir with India.
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The Jammu–Baramulla line is a railway track being laid to connect the Kashmir Valley in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir with Jammu railway station and thence to the rest of the country. The 356 km railway track will start from Jammu and end at Baramulla. It comes under the jurisdiction of the Firozpur railway division of Indian Railways' Northern zone. The 359 m (1,178 ft) tall Chenab Bridge lies on this line, which once completed will be the tallest railway bridge in the world.
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