Amidst the rocky terrain and sweeping valley, Hemis National Park is named after Hemis Monastery, one of the famous monasteries of Ladakh is a must place for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is renowned as the home to the majestic snow leopard. With the mighty Indus River flowing at its boundary, the park spread over 3,350 sq. includes catchments of Markha, Rumbak, Chang chu Alam and Shan Sadi. Under Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act, 1978, the park was officially declared National Park on March 19, 1987.
The vegetation of the area can be divided into three biotopes including, Riverian usually found along river beds at a lower elevation, Ephedra shrub, which occupies the low lying mountain slopes and Alpine pastures covering the mountain slopes at a higher elevation.
What’s more? The park has various trekking routes and in the wilderness, the best part to experience nature is staying at a traditional homestay. You can find a number of homestay facilities in the catchment area to make your visit more adventurous and pleasant. The hospitable nature of the villagers will surely make you feel at home.
Ideally, the best time to do the trek is in the month of May mid to early October and when the winter sets in the life of Hemis National Park come alive because of the famous snow leopard spotting. The best time for snow leopard spotting starts from mid-November to Mid March.
As the national park is nestled in the rain shadow area of the Himalayas, it receives little to no rainfall which means the national park has dry forests. The most common trees one could spot here are alpine and steppe. The lower areas of the national park are dotted with plants that require very less moisture including dry birch, juniper, and fir. Besides, this national park in Ladakh is even home to a variety of rare and endangered medicinal plants.
Hemis National Park is noted for its rich wildlife (birds and animals), including animals that are endangered and found exclusively at high altitude areas. The park is home to 16 mammals including Ibex, Blue Sheep, Tibetan Wolf, Ladakh Urial, Red Fox, Himalayan Brown Bear, Tibetan Argali, Eurasian Otter, Lynx, Himalayan Marmot, Woolly hare, Large eared Pika and many more. You can also spot birds such as Golden Eagle, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Tibetan Snow Finch, Red-billed Chough, Tibetan Snow cock, Himalayan Snow cock and many more. So, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture some good shots of the Hemis National Park animals.
The majestic snow leopard is not easily visible in Hemis national park. It’s up to the luck game. as it is camouflaged in the surroundings. The Khurnak Village is the prime location for snow leopard and bharal habitat. The ibex is also not usually found in the Markha Village but there may be a chance to see it in the west of the Zanskar River in the Chiling Nala. Argali is seen in the upper Rumbak Nala, having migrated there several years ago.
For the best time to visit the snow leopard tour, Go2Ladakh worked with local villagers specialists and mountain experts to cover the snow leopard trails and regular movement in mountains.
Other than this, the national park is home to a wide variety of birds, with some of the famous ones including golden eagle, robin accentor, fire-fronted serin, streaked rosefinch, lammergeier vulture, and red-billed chough.
Once you enter Hemis National Park, you will get confused about what to explore first. Every place that you visit or catch a glimpse of something fascinating in the National Park will leave you with unmatched experiences to cherish forever. Below are some of the things to do in Hemis National Park that you will absolutely love.
This Ladakh’s national park gives a wonderful opportunity to the photographers to capture some good shots of rare species of birds and animals.
By this, we mean you have to walk on the wild trail on your feet. Yes, because vehicles inside the park premises are not allowed to keep the park pollution-free. If you opt for Hemis National Park jeep safari, unfortunately, you will only see places that are outside the park.
Hemis Monastery is one of the richest monasteries in Ladakh. Situated at a distance of approx 81 km from Hemis National park, the monastery has an age-old statue of Lord Buddha. As you take a walk inside the monastery, you will feel divine. There is also a Hemis Museum from where you can buy souvenirs or handicrafts to take back home.
For tourists up for a little more adventure, Gotsang Gompa is the epitome of serenity. It is situated at a 45-min distance from Hemis Monastery and you can trek and reach there. The place offers a therapeutic vibe and feels no less than like a meditation. The best part about a trek to Gotsang Gompa is the atmosphere that calms and ease the mind.
Hemis National Park can be visited at any time of the year but the best time to visit depends on what kind of experience you are looking for.
Accommodation: There are no hotels in Hemis National park, but there are homestays so you can choose to stay there. You can even stay at the Hemis monastery near Martselang gate. If you wish to carry your own tent, you can.
Entry Fee: INR 20 for Indian visitors and INR 100 for foreign visitors.
Opening & Closing Time: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
In case you are wondering where is Hemis National Park and how to reach there, you can board a flight to Leh and from there take a taxi to the Chilling north-west entry point of Hemis National Park which is approx 60 km from Leh. Other than this, there are three more entry points to Hemis National Park: Stok (13 km from Leh), Zingchen (25 km from Leh) and Martselang (41 km from Leh) )entry points.
No hotel, restaurant or cafes facilities are there at Hemis National park. You will find a small eatery near Hemis Monastery. Food is provided to the guests at the homestays.
A permit is needed from the wildlife office in Leh for different purposes such as tourism, photography, scientific research, investigation or study of wildlife, transaction of lawful business with a person residing therein and film shooting.
Go2adakh has been operating in Ladakh since 2010 and we have local wildlife and adventure expertise. We have well-crafted itineraries professionally operating snow leopard trails. If you have any queries regarding Hemis National Park or need information on any other thing, you can reach us at any time. We would be happy to assist you.
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