Hemis National Park was established in 1981 with an aim to protect the decreasing wildlife population. This land of snow leopard stands at an altitude of 4600 meters and is also referred to as the largest protected region located in the cold desert in the eastern section of Ladakh.
Named after the famous Hemis monastery in the Leh Ladakh region, this park is a favorite among nature lovers for its variety of wildlife, which includes endangered and rarest animals and birds that prefer cooler habitats. Constructed to conserve flora and fauna, this park is spread across the beautiful Rumbak and Markha valley of Ladakh. Hemis National Park is considered as one of the top places to visit for wildlife lovers with the beautiful and picturesque Indus and Zanskar valleys at the boundaries. You will not be able to resist falling in love with this exotic and unexplored land of amazing wildlife.
One of the major reasons for wildlife enthusiasts to include this place in their Leh Ladakh packages is to get a glimpse of the exceptional snow leopards. It is one of the rarest animals not seen in any other country and found only in this region. This park is known to be Asia’s largest natural habitat for approximately 200 Snow leopards. Apart from that, watching the wild horse or a musk deer is also a rare sight to behold.
Tourists visiting this place may also spot many endangered species like Tibetan wolves, Red foxes, Eurasian Brown Bear, along with animals such as Stone martens, Great Tibetan Sheep, mouse hares, Bharal also known as Blue Sheep, Shapu – the Ladhaki Urial and many others. This place is also known as a paradise for bird watchers. It is home to the Himalayan Griffon vulture, Black Winged Snow Finch, lammergeyer vulture, Golden Eagle, Robin Accentor, and others. The variety of birds is a treat to bird watchers and photographers.
There are a lot of other things apart from wildlife to marvel in this park. One of the reasons being its varied alpine vegetation in the upper mountain slopes. The park mainly consists of Western Himalayan alpine shrubs and meadows, alpine tundra, and subtropical pine forests. There are several other plant species, which include the juniper, dry birch, and fir. Many botanists visit the Hemis National Park to study flora and fauna in such cold regions.
Ideally, the most preferable time to visit this park is between the months of May to October. You can also grab a chance to attend the popular Hemis Festival conducted in summers at the Hemis Monastery. Due to heavy rainfall, jeep safaris and trekking are generally closed for tourists who visit after the month of October.
You can also visit one of the six neighboring villages, namely Rumbak, Shingo, Chilling, Urutse, Sku, and Kaya, where homestay facilities are available to enjoy the warmth of the local hosts. The villagers are trained in hospitality, and they are also part of the conservation community in an effort to protect the endangered snow leopard. You can also experience the culture of the people during your stay with them.
The fastest way to reach the Hemis National Park is by flight from Delhi, Srinagar or Jammu. Leh is the nearest airport to the park. By road, you can drive from Manali en route Keylong or from Srinagar through Kargil.
Trekking from Spituk village below Leh is also one of the options to reach the Hemis National Park.
Depending on what suits your requirements, you can plan your travel accordingly. Hemis National Park is a place not to be missed if you want your Leh Ladakh trip to be fulfilling with adventure and excitement.