Hemis High Altitude National Park
: Jammu & Kashmir
: Snow Leopard reserve
: Jammu Tawi.
Air Port : Leh
Bus Service Leh (30 Km.)
Near Leh, Ladakh Region, J&K
Shapu, Bharal, Snow Leopard
Best Time To Visit
- September To March
- March To May & September to December
The Hemis National Park is located in the Ladakh division of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Situated at a distance of around 40 km southeast of Leh, it takes its name from the world famous Buddhist Gompa situated here. The National Park is situated at the bank of river Indus and includes the catchments areas of Markha, Sumdah, and Rumbak streams.
Hemis High-Altitude National Park is the largest high-altitude reserve of India. Very close to Leh, in the area of Markha and Rumbak Valleys, the area in general is rocky and sparsely covered. The park comes under the district of Ladakh and represents the Trans-Himalayan ecosystem. The park was established in the year 1981 to preserve the dwindling population of wildlife in Ladakh region with an area of 600 sq km. The park has been earmarked as one of the snow leopard reserves under a central government project to conserve the species, its prey population, and fragile mountain habitat.
The Park Ecosystem
The Animal Beings
Most of the endangered species of Ladakh have their home in Hemis. Some 11 species have been recorded, including wolf (Canis lupus), Pallas' cat (Felis manul), snow leopard (Panthera uncia), ibex (Capra ibex), bharal (Pseudois nayaur), Tibetan argali (Ovis ammon hodgsoni) and Ladakh urial (Orientalis vignei). Some snow leopards have also been recorded in the national park. There is a good population of bharal and urial in the park, as well as some ibex west of the Zanskar River.
The vegetation in the Hemis High-Altitude National Park can be characterized as high-altitude desert with sparse grasslands and herbaceous vegetation on mountain slopes and in harmony with rest of Ladakh. In the lower valley of the park, one can find scrublands and patchy forests. The dominant species include woundwort (Stachys tibetica), cinquefoils (Potentilla spp.), worm weeds (Artemesia spp.), Bistorta spp. and Agrostis spp. The meadows on valley bottoms are dominated by sedges, namely Carex spp. and Koresia spp.
The Winged Beings
Around 30 species of avifauna have been identified in the park, including Himalayan snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis) and chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar).
Flora & Fauna
The area is barren and rocky, covered only sparsely with vegetation. Most of the ten species of mammal here are extremely rare -- Shapu, Bharal, Great Tibetan Sheep, Ibex and Snow Leopard. The avifauna too comprises species, which are not seen at lower altitudes, Himalayan Snow Cock, Snow Patridge and golden oriole.
The best season for mammal viewing is September to May and for bird viewing March to May and September to December. Approachable by road from Leh , this national park contains several camping sites too.
Arriving At Hemis High-Altitude National Park
The nearest airport is Leh, which is connected by Indian Airlines to Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar, and Jammu.
Rail : The nearest railhead is Jammu, situated at a distance of around 690 km. Jammu is connected to all parts of India.
: The Leh - Srinagar National Highway officially opens from May 15 to November 15 every year (depending on weather condition). The distances of some important destinations from Leh by road are : Srinagar, 434 km; Kargil, 230 km; Manali, 497 km; and Keylong, 380 km.
Wildlife Authority Divisional Forest Officer. :
Henzu N.P. Leh Ladakh (J & K)
- Chief Wild Life Warden Govt. of J & K., Srinagar (J & K)
Tourist Office, Leh, (Near Khagri Hotel) Ladakh, (J & K)