Hemis National Park
07 Days 06 Nights
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Hemis National Park

  • Location :  Near Leh, Ladakh Region, J&K 600-sq-kms

  • Coverage area : 4,400sq.km

  • Main attraction : Shapu, Bharal, Snow Leopard

  • Best time to visit : Mammal viewing - September to March / Bird viewing - March to May & September to December

  • Nearby excursions : Zingchen valley and Markha valley, Ganda La and Kongmaru La

  • Nearby cities : Leh


This National Park is rich in biodiversity, with the animals popping out in the snowy background. The Hemis is the largest sheltered area for snow leopards in South Asia. It is the only National Park which lies to the north of the Himalayas. Many endangered species of animal and plants are found in this high-altitude national park.


Location of hemis national park

It is positioned in the eastern Ladakh plateau of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The hilly regions of the park remain covered with snow mostly and don't support the growth of vegetation. Same goes for the animals. Flooding is also frequent in here. Most of the animals and plants are found in the rain shadow region, a perfect place for life and beauty.

After the foundation of the park in 1981, there has been a rapid increase in the total area under it, which has taken the park to the pinnacle of being called the largest. In the year 1990, by adding up areas of adjacent land, today it is stretched around 4,400sq.km of the city. The land elevation is nearly 3000 to 6000m.


Geographical landscape of the national park

From snow covered to vegetated, the overall scenery of the National park varies. The geographical location is 33⁰59’N and 77⁰26’E. It is the only park in India which lies in the Palaearctic zone. It is located at the bank of river Indus, and parts of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak streams are also included in its area. Since it falls under the Karakoram West Tibetan Plateau, the alpine vegetation is quite widespread, adding a quill to the park’s serene beauty. The park is surrounded by some tribal villages which have been set up for years now. The Stok Kangri peak is also confined within the park area.


Nearby wildlife sanctuary

The nearest wildlife sanctuary is Changthang, located to the northeast of Hemis. The Zanskar range lies close to the Hemis National Park.


The climatic conditions of the area

The area receives very less (160mm) or no rainfall in the monsoon season. It is mostly covered with snow, and generally, snowfall starts after November. The average summer temperature varies up to 15-degree centigrade whereas the average winter temperature is about -30-degree centigrade. The overall climatic condition is extreme cold. While the summer can be mildly warm, the winter is severe.


Ideal time to visit the national park

Since the most critical part of a visit to a national park, is the animals residing there, a trip must be planned accordingly. The animals sometimes may not show up due to the weather conditions prevailing at that time. So, the ideal time of visit varies from June to October. People looking primarily for the snow leopards must visit in the late winters, as it is the perfect time when they can be spotted easily.


Types of animals that inhabit the national park

The park is well known for the snow leopards that inhabit there. These creatures have been mentioned as endangered by IUCN. They usually wander in the late winter and prefer cold weather unlike the other members of the cat family. Most of the snow leopards are seen to be cramped in the Rumbak catchment area, with a count of nearly 200 individuals.

The Great Tibetan sheep, blue sheep and Ladakhi Urial are found in huge numbers and, are the primary source of food for the leopards. Endangered animals like Tibetan wolf, Eurasian brown bear, along with the least concerned species of red fox is found here. Mammals living here include the Asiatic Ibex, the Himalayan marmot, mountain weasel, Bharal and the Himalayan mouse hare.

About 73 species of birds are found, apart from the 16 species of mammals, consisting of some endangered species as well. The Himalayan griffon vulture, Tickell's and streaked leaf warbler, Tibetan Snow Finch, Eagle, Robin Accentor, Brown Accentor, Lammergeier vulture, Fork-tailed Swift, Fire fronter serin, chukar, the Himalayan snowcock and Red-billed Chough are some of the birds seen in abundance.


The natural vegetation or flora

The frolic ambience of Hemis National park includes the alpine-tundra covers, meadows and shrublands. Fifteen endangered medicinal species of Hyoscyamus, Bergenia and many more, is found. The moist slope of the peaks in the park consists of Veronica and Carex trees. The regions covered with snow usually don’t grow any vegetation and remains so throughout the year. The mountainous area supports steppe vegetation as well.


Distance from major cities

  • Ahmadabad , 1278km

  • Allahabad , 1080km

  • Bangalore , 2310km

  • Indore , 1234km

  • Kolkata , 1648km

  • Chennai, 2317km

  • Chandigarh , 339km

  • Delhi , 571km

  • Hyderabad , 1823km

  • Kanyakumari , 2895km

  • Leh , 10km

  • Ladakh , 102km

  • Mumbai , 1689km

  • Srinagar , 227km


How to reach the National park ?

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Nearest airport

Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is at a distance of about 10km from Hemis National Park. Buses regularly ply from Leh to the park.

Railways

Jammu Tavi railway station is the nearest railhead at about a distance of 20km. Stations in Haryana can also be an option.

Roads

Leh is the nearest city. The park is approachable from the city due to the daily bus services and the availability of taxis. Roadways are the best means of transport for the locals, and it is the safest mode during winter. Leh-Manali highway is the route for long distance travel.

Where to stay while touring hemis national park ?

There are several camps set up in and around the national park. This can be the preferable choice for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. The villages set up in the vicinity provide paid accommodation and food. As Leh is the nearest city, people can find many hotels and restaurants to sleep and dine, that suits their pockets. The National Park doesn't have any hotel within its borders, though; people can stay in Hemis monasteries.

All about the safari rides

The Hemis National Park hosts wildlife safari rides. The park is open all the seven days from morning nine until 5. People need to book in advance for the rides, and the charges for the safari varies for Indians and Foreigners.

Some fabulous places to visit near hemis national park

Visiting a park can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. So, missing out the rich landscape around the wild is not an option. Here are some of the places one can visit:

  • Zingchen valley and Markha valley: one can trek over these ranges and enjoy the breeze and beauty of nature.

  • Ganda La and Kongmaru La: these are mountain passes on the way down from the park. It provides the best picturesque for tourists from all around the world.

  • Hemis Monastery: This is the biggest monastery in northern India. The monastery is a hub of architectural beauty and has a thrilling history. People can stay here with prior permission and payment. It boasts a number of local talent and creativity.

  • Gotsang Gompa: Located in proximity to the Hemis Monastery, this is a place for spiritual replenishment and is known for the peace it provides to the souls of individuals.

  • Stanka Gompa: It is a vibrant monastery and is quite alluring for the visitors.

  • Shang Gompa: While trekking amongst the mountain ranges, people come across this place, which eventually turns out to be the site of immense amity.

Things to do in hemis national park

This high-altitude national park gives an excellent and adventurous chance for trekking in the snow-covered regions, within and around the park. People can accomplish their photographic hobbies without much expenditure. Since it is a national park, the border is reserved for research and study. The safari ride is just perfect for a tour around the serene, white and harmonious park, with the animals stomping from one place to another.

So, with no more delay, hope you are planning a visit to this beautiful and mystique land!


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