Snow Leopard exhibit perfect camouflage in their habitat @ Aditya Singh
Bharal or Blue Sheep is the main prey of the Snow Leopard @ Aditya Singh
Hemis in undoubtedly the best place to see Snow Leopards @ Dhritiman Mukherjee
Chukar @ Aditya Singh
Wolly Hare @ Dhritiman Mukherjee
Chukar @ Aditya Singh
The campsite at Rumbak @ Aditya Singh
Red Fox @ Aditya Singh
Hemis National Parkhemis national park, zinchen, ladakh
Hemis High Altitude National Park is situated in the northernmost district of Ladakh on the west bank of the Indus River, encompassing three main valleys of Markha, Rumbak and Sumdah. Constituted in 1981 as the best potential area for the protection of Snow Leopards in India, it is India’s first national park to be established north of the main Himalayan Range. The park derives its name from the Hemis Monastery situated 40 km south east of Leh.
The rocky terrain comprises rugged valleys littered with rocks and boulders, surrounded by several peaks ranging between 5,000 to 6,000 m, with Stok Kangri the highest at 6150 m. The valleys are typically representative of high altitude desert characterized by sparse vegetation, which includes Tibetan Buckthorn, wild roses and willows in the valley bottoms. The climate is one of extremes, with considerable daily and seasonal fluctuations.
Undoubtedly the finest place to sight the Snow Leopard anywhere in the world, the Rumbak valley has produced record sightings in recent years. The main prey base comprises wild sheep and goat that include the Blue Sheep or Bharal, the endemic Ladakhi Urial or Shapo, Argali or the Great Tibetan Sheep and the Asiatic Ibex. Other predators here include the extremely rare Eurasian Lynx & Pallas’s Cat, Tibetan Wolf, Red Fox, Tibetan Stone Marten and Mountain Weasel. Other lesser mammals are the Royle’s Pikka, Wolly Hare and Stoliczka’s Mountain Vole.
The birdlife is scarce in this harsh environment, particularly during the winter months. Golden Eagle, Lammergeier and Himalayan Vulture are the common raptors along with Northern Goshwak, Upland & Himalayan Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrohawk & Saker Falcon. Both Red and Alpine Choughs are common, along with White winged Redstarts, Chukars and Hill Pigeons. Some of the other species here are the Robin, Brown and occasionally Black throated Accentor, Eurasian Wren, White browed Tit Warbler, Snow Pigeon, Fire fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, Blue Rock Thrush, White throated and Brown Dipper, Horned Lark and Tibetan Snowfinch.
- State: Jammu & Kashmir
- Water resources: