Hemis National Park
Established in 1981, to protect the decreasing population of wildlife, Hemis National Park is called the Snow Leopard Capital of India and is named after the famous monastery of Ladakh Hemis Gompa. This Park is situated at an altitudinal range of 3,300 to 6,000 meter and is the largest high attitude protected reserve of India. Indus River flows on the northern periphery, and the Park covers much of the catchments of the lower Zanskar valley. The catchments area is of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak, and parts of the Zanskar Range.

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The Hemis National Park offers nature lovers a varied landscape, the mountains of various shapes and sizes, vast flatlands, cold deserts, and more. The mostly barren habitat supports an amazing variety of Indian Wildlife, including some of the rarest and endangered species. There are around 11 species of fauna, and 30 species of avifauna found in the park. The area is thinly covered and is rocky. The biome of the park consists of dry Himalayan subtropical pine forests; Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows; and Himalayan Alpine tundra.

Area: 600 sq. km

Best time to Visit:
May To October

Location: In the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), the park is located in the eastern region of Ladakh, and is 30 km away from Leh

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01

Flora

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Flora
Hemis National Park is a place bursting with a variety of exotic floral species. Its high-altitude location in addition to its seclusion and its area makes it possible for many plant species to thrive there. A walk through Hemis National Park will reveal to you a vast range of plants which need different types of conditions to flourish.

Hence, the lower reaches of the national park have plant species that do not need a lot of moisture to thrive including juniper, dry birch, and fir. The upper mountain slopes of the national park boast of greater precipitation in the air, and as a result, alpine forestation like Anemone, Gentiana, Thallctrwn, Lloydia, Veronica, Delphinium, and Kobresia can be seen there.

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02

Fauna

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Fauna
A place which is so rich in forestation is sure to provide shelter to a variety of animal species. The high-altitude location makes it an ideal home for many animals who seek cooler temperatures. Apart from species like the Great Tibetan Sheep, Bharal (Blue Sheep), Shapu (Ladakhi Urial), and other livestock, you will also come across endangered species like Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear, and the red fox.

Hemis National Park is also a special national park because it gives a home to two animal species which are not to be seen anywhere else in the country- the Shapu sheep and the Snow Leopards.
There are approximately 200 snow leopards living on the premises of the national park Birds aplenty also inhabit the forests inside the park and you can easily sight mighty birds like the golden eagle, the lammergeyer vulture, and the Himalayan griffon vulture, apart from streaked rosefinch, black-winged snow finch, robin accentor, Tickell's leaf warbler and others.

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Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary In Ladakh

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03

Things to Carry

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Things to Carry

Hemis National Park is open to visitors all year round and people might pay visits to it depending upon the features that attract them. For example, if you wish to see Hemis National Park in its flourishing glory, summer is the best time to visit it while if you wish to sight the snow leopard, winter is the time to do so. Depending on your visiting season, the things you should carry may vary. But some essentials that are necessary to the Hemis National park trip are:

- Good pair of walking shoes

- Warm jackets

- Walking stick

- Water

- First Aid Kit which contains medicines for fever and high-altitude sickness

- UV sunglasses

- Energy providing snacks and beverages

- Portable charger

- Camera

- Loose money


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Other Major Attractions of Ladakh

04

Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake, also known as Pangong Tso, is one of the most spellbinding lakes in Ladakh. It is a glacial lake approximately 150 kilometres long, part of which lies in India and part of China. Only 5 hours of driving distance from Leh, this lake is an absolute must-visit in Ladakh.

Pangong Tso is nestled amidst the mountains at a height of 4350 metres but nevertheless stays in a liquid state year round owing to its saline content. Pangong Tso is a fairytale destination with its colour changing waters and its deep peace set against a magnificent backdrop of white mountains and blue skies.

It is when you visit Pangong Tso that you realize how beautiful and powerful nature’s creativity can be, and complete reverence is the natural response to this realization. Pangong Tso is also known for camping and star gazing. Visiting the Pangong Lake is an activity that you absolutely must undertake when in Ladakh.

05

Khardung La Pass

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Khardung La Pass
Khardung La, one of the most renowned passes in India, is a high-altitude motorable pass in Ladakh. According to the locals, it is the highest motorable pass in India though opinion is divided on the matter.  But no matter its rank, Khardung La is a majestic pass in Ladakh and experiencing it is a veritable blessing.

The sheer exhilaration that visiting this pass brings is worth the effort of reaching it and views visible from here because of the high altitude (scaling almost 18,500 feet) are awe-inspiring. It is always blowing here and the winds are sharp, cold, and paradoxically energising. A road trip is the best way to experience this surreal place. 

And since there is no better way to enjoy the cold in Ladakh by pairing it with a warm beverage, an army canteen near the pass provides tourists with the chance to enjoy a nice hot cup of tea and some snacks as they gaze endlessly upon the view.
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06

Tso Moriri Lake

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Tso Moriri Lake
Tso Moriri is a pretty lake in Ladakh which falls on the Ladakhi end of the Changthang Plateau and is fed by the trickling streams and melting snows of neighbouring mountains. Located approximately 250 kilometres away from Leh, it takes a drive of 8 to 10 hours to reach here. But once you are finally near Tso Moriri, you realize that all your efforts have paid off.

The simplicity of the lake is its greatest charm- its still waters are undisturbed by the commotion and the towering mountains are reflected picturesquely in its shimmering surface. Tso Moriri is heart-rending in its beauty, and it is hard not to admire the designs of nature when you are standing on the shores of this lake. There are various camps around Tso Moriri which will give you a lifetime remembering experience once you stay there.
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07

Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley
When in Ladakh you absolutely plan on paying a visit to the iconic Nubra Valley. Nubra Valley is a vast landscape full of fantastic tourist attractions. As a tourist, you have a chance to enjoy the camel safaris in the sand dunes of Hunder and jeep safaris through Diskit. With camel safari, you can also go for camping in Nubra Valley and enjoy the beauty of this place.

Paying visits to the local villages of Hunder, Turtuk and Diskit, and to the monasteries is also a great idea. You can also choose to engage in a camel safari in Ladakh at Nubra Valley or even undertake a week-long trek around it.  There are many wonderful options to be enjoyed in the environs of Nubra Valley and hiring a local guide who can guide you to the best spots is a great idea.

08

Shanti Stupa

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Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa in Leh is a landmark site in the city and is an example of the Buddhist influence in the region. It is a white-domed chorten which stands tall on a hill in Leh and can be seen from a great distance. The stupa is famous for the relics of Buddha that are preserved at its base and which were enshrined there by the 14th Dalai Lama.

The height at which the stupa stands also makes it a great viewing spot since the city of Leh and the neighbouring mountain peaks can be seen in all their beauty from here. This stupa is a cultural landmark of the city and visiting it is a must-do activity in Leh.
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09

Alchi Monastery

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Alchi Monastery
There are many monasteries in Ladakh and Alchi Monastery is one of the oldest. An ancient Buddhist monastery complex in Ladakh which is home to many chortens and temples, Alchi Monastery includes three major shrines that are important to Buddhism- the Dukhang (Assembly hall), the Sum Tsek and the Temple of Manjushri.

These shrines harken back to the 12th century and are considered to be of great significance in the region. Additionally, there are also several wall paintings which decorate the monuments of the monastery and reflect both Buddhist and Hindu ideals. Wooden artefacts are also an important part of the monastery’s artistic output.

Alchi Monastery is not simply a monastery, it is also a monument to Ladakh’s past and as such plays an important role in the region. Its location on the banks of the Indus river only adds to the depth of the experience of visiting the monastery.

Following are some biking expeditions to ladakh:

Srinagar-to-Leh

Manali-to-Leh
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10

Royal Leh Palace

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Royal Leh Palace
The Royal Leh Palace is a 17th-century palace which stands to overlook the town of Leh. It is an important landmark in the city despite its dilapidated state. The location of the palace atop a hill makes it a wonderful place to look out upon a panoramic view made up of the Leh town with the Stok Kangri trek and Ladakh mountain ranges in the background.

Though the condition of the palace has deteriorated over the years, it is nevertheless an important landmark and tourist attraction in Ladakh. It houses a museum with artefacts dating back almost 450 years, and this museum is the chief attraction of the place. Visiting this museum is a great way to get some valuable insight into the history and culture of Ladakh. The palace complex is also a wonderful example of medieval Tibetan architecture and mirrors the Lhasa Palace in Tibet.

Check out: The best Hotels to stay in Leh
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11

Diskit Monastery

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Diskit Monastery
Diskit Monastery is one of the places you cannot miss visiting in Ladakh. There are many ancient monasteries in Ladakh, but this one tops all of them. Located in Nubra Valley, this monastery is the oldest and the largest monastery in the Ladakh region.

A majestic 100-foot statue of the Maitreya Buddha sits proudly at the entrance of the monastery and makes an imposing picture as you approach the monastery. A number of other shrines and temples are also located inside the monastery. Located on the plains above the Shylock River, visiting this monastery makes for a wonderful photogenic outing.

The monastery hosts a “Festival of the Scapegoat" during February- a festival which reflects the spirit of the culture of Ladakh. It is an enjoyable festival but is not well attended because of the snow blocking the valley from other regions.
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12

Hall of Fame

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Hall of Fame

Ladakh has seen numerous wars take place between India and Pakistan, and numerous soldiers have laid down their lives for the country fighting on its mountains. In order to honour the memory of these brave soldiers, the Indian army constructed the Hall of Fame in Leh. 

This is a museum dedicated to celebrating the courage of these war heroes and ensuring that their legacies do not die. There are two floors in the museum- the first floor features the lives of the soldiers and the second floor consists of a hall which contains several artefacts from the Indo-Pak wars, especially from the Kargil war of 1999. 

A souvenir shop is also a part of the museum. Since it is located right next to the Leh airfield, visiting the Hall of Fame is an easy matter and can be accomplished whenever you have a couple of free hours in Leh.

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