Hemis National Park or Hemis High Altitude National Park is the biggest national park in the country, with an approximate area of 4400 square kilometres. It is situated in the northernmost district of Ladakh and on the banks of the Indus river.
Established in the year of 1981 for the protection of the Snow Leopards by the Rumbak and Markha catchments, it is one of the most picturesque national parks that India has. This place has the highest number of Snow Leopards in any protected zone. Hemis is the only national park situated on the north of the Himalayas.
The name ‘Hemis’ is derived from the ‘Hemis Gompa’ which is a 400 years old monastery located at a distance of 40kms south of the Leh city. ‘Hemis Gompa’ is the largest monastic institution in Ladakh, comprising of 200 branches and 1000 monks.
The most interesting part of high altitude park is that there are numerous options for trekking due to the rocky terrain and there are so many beautiful deep valleys covered by huge uneven rocks. Inside the park there are 6 villages situated named Chilling, Urutse, Sku, Shingo, Kaya and Rumbak where around 1600 people reside.
Inside the park the‘Zanskar’ river flows but during the time of the winter it is frozen – you could literally walk on it! The national park is rich in its flora and fauna which includes the Tibetan Wolf, Red Fox, Eurasian Brown Bear, mammals like Himalayan Marmot, mountain weasel, birds like Himalayan Griffon Vulture etc. It is a home to many endangered species. The winter season is the best to spot the ‘Snow Leopard’.
The most accessible route to reach the national park is to reach the city of Leh which is just 10 km north to the national park and to then take the Leh Manali highway or the National Highway 1D.
It is a marvel that in a state that is often the victim of terror attacks such beautiful spaces exist amongst the mountains which are so serene and unique, offering complete peace and serenity.
Preview Photo: thrillophilia.com