Hemis National Park, Ladakh, Jammu &kashmir ,india- Snow Leopard Country
The feeling of being in snow leopard country was amazing. We were in the land of Buddha in High altitude Hemis National Park in Ladakh area of J&K State. Two hours back we sought the blessings of god at Hemis monastery for our successful journey. Since then we were trekking in the cold virgin territory of National park. Hemis is one of few protected forests where trekking is allowed, Our guide assured me of bharal, Ibex sightings and said if luck helps us, snow leopard sighting may be possible.But it is difficult in summers. I spotted a herd of bharal hanging precariously on a cliff. Though at a distan,I zoomed on the animals & caught them in my camera satisfactorily. The overall milieu was soothing and the ambience was heavenly.
We started walking towards our proposed campsite & pitched our tents.The muscles of our bodies were over-stressed and we tried to relax our body & mind.Our guide cooked our supper & soon afterwards we were in deep sleep.
Hemis NP was established in 1981 & covers an area of 3350 Sq Kms. Its area is dotted with villages with total population of about 780 people. Its territory is a difficult place to live.It lies in trans-Himalayan part of India & three astonishingly beautiful lakes of Ladakh-Tsomoriri, Pangong tso, Tso Kar lie near to this park. These lakes are inhabited by numerous rare bird species. One can visit these lakes while on a visit to Hemis.Hemis NP has four entry points namely- Martselang, Chilling, Stok & Zingchan. Trekking is the only way to visit this park. One can trek in this park to markha valley, spituk, Rumbak. These valleys are tough ones as one has to cross high altitude passes. Places worth visit near park is Hemis Gompa. A two days Hemis festivals is held in summers. Concept of home stay was introduced in the park area so one can stay in a village house & can feel the socio-cultural life of local people. The cost of stay is fairly reasonable. This park can be visited for snow leopards, great Tibetan sheep,Tibetan antelope,serow & rare high altitude birds.
Best time to visit the park is mid- June to Mid- October but best wildlife sightings are in winter.
How to Reach
By Air:- Delhi-Leh. Hemis is 45 kms from Leh
By Rail :- Nearest is Jammu & route is via Srinager & Journey from Jammu takes 3 days
By Road:- Delhi-Manali-Keylong-Leh or Delhi-Pathankot Jammu-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh.