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 Hemis Gompa. This Park is situated at an attitudinal range of 3,300 to 6,000 m, 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 Zanksarvalley. The catchments area is of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak, and parts of the Zanskar Range.
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 most rare 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
Sparse grasslands, herbaceous vegetation, Junipers, Myricaria, Poplar, Salix, Birch, Astragalus, Taraxacum, Leortopodium, Ephedra and many sparse grasslands
Snow leopard, Tibetan wild or kiang, ibex, serow, Tibetan antelope, Palla's cat, srapu, bharal, red fox, rhesus macaque, Hanuman languor, wolf, marmot, Tibetan argali and Ladakh urial, and more.
Brown Accentor, Robin Accentor, Tickell's Leaf Warbler, Streaked Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowfinch, Chukar, Fork-tailed Swift, Red-billed Chough, Himalayan Snowcock, and the Fire-fronted Serin, and more.
Around 200 snow leopards have been recorded, especially in the Rumbak catchments area. The snow leopard cannot roar though it has an incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone. Watching this wild cat roam in this picturesque surrounding is an experience of a lifetime.
There are a number of Tibetan gumphas and holy chortens located inside the park. The famous 400-year old Hemis Monastery is nestled in the rocky terrains.
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.
600 sq. km
Buses regularly ply on the Leh-Hemis National Park route. Leh is accessible from all the major cities of J&K. There are buses daily from Srinagar that goes via Kargil to reach Leh. However, the Leh-Srinagar national highway (NH) officially opens from May 15 to November 15. Alternate route is Manali-Leh, which is open from mid-June to early October. From Manali, one can also hire a taxi to reach Leh.
Best time to Visit:
May To October.
Other Places to Visit:
This is the 17th century capital of the Namgyal Empire and the core of Ladakh. Leh is known for its beautiful monasteries, and captivating mountains and snow peaks backdrop. The place also offers you an opportunity to indulge in adventure like trekking and river rafting.
This picturesque city is famous for its lakes. Dal Lake and its houseboats are famous all over the world. Another well-known lake here is the Nagin Lake. There are number of gardens here, including Mughal Gardens, Chasma Shahi, Pari Mahal, Nishat Bagh, and more. Outside the city, there is the 1619 built Shalimar Gardens.
Things to keep in mind
Prior to entering the park, ensure that you have the required permit from the chief Wildlife Warden.
Keep in your Trek Bag:
Water, juices, snacks
A good compass
An extra pair of clothes