|National Park||Fact Sheet|
Named after the famous Hemis Monastery on its boundary, the Hemis National Park is as wild as wilderness can get. Situated in a rugged high altitude terrain, it is one of the most difficult places to inhabit and prides itself in providing a habitat for the elusive and endangered snow leopard. Spell binding landscapes of the park attract and challenge both trekkers and wildlife lovers to taste a unique experience like no other.
Hemis is a high altitude National Park situated at the bank of river Indus and includes the catchments areas of Markha, Sumdah, and Rumbak streams. It covers an area of 3500km2, in the eastern part of the cold desert of Ladakh and has an altitudinal range of 3300-6000m.
It was created for the conservation and protection of its unique high altitude ecological system’s flora and fauna. Hemis offers incredibly exclusive peeks and some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world. This is fascinating trekking country and the visuals surrounding the park are absolutely stunning against the backdrop of peaks exceeding 5000m.
The vegetation in Hemis National Park can be characterized as high-altitude desert, with sparse grasslands and herbaceous vegetation on mountain slopes and in the lower valley of the park, scrublands and patchy forests. This landscape helps the snow leopards to camouflage and become almost invisible to humans.
The climate is one of extremes, with considerable daily and seasonal fluctuations. Snowfall is known to occur at any time of the year.
Known as the “Snow Leopard country”, Hemis National Park is one of the most difficult places to inhabit and one of the highest national parks in the world. Yet the park has a local population of 800 people residing in the villages inside the park. Most of the inhabitants in the park villages are Buddhist and make their livelihood by shepherding during the summer when the snow melts.
There are higher chances of spotting a snow leopard during the winter season, during which it descends to lower altitudes of the valley. The park is home to a viable breeding population of about 200 snow leopards.
Park Open : Throughout the year
Best Season : December - February for Snow Leopards
Main Attraction : Besides the elusive Snow Leopard, there are many wild animals which are unique to the high mountainous climate. These include Ibex, lynx, wild dog, wolf, Bharal (the blue sheep) and Tibetan Argali. As well as small mammals like Marmot, Weasel
Avifauna : bird species that are found mostly in the upper reaches of the park, rather than the lower reaches. Almost 30 species of birds have been recorded inside the park, with the most famous ones being the Snowcock Tetraogallus, Himalayan Vulture, and the Chukar partridge.
Shortest Route : Fly to Leh and drive to Hemis
State : Ladakh
Area : 4,400sq. km
Altitude: 3,000 - 6,000 m
Vegetation : Thin high-alpine desert
Major City: Leh (45 km)
Airport : Leh (50 km)
Railway Station : NA
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