Hemis High-Altitude National Park
Location: Jammu & Kashmir, India
Area: 3350 sq. km.
Major Wildlife Attractions: Snow Leopard, Bharal, Ibex
Best time to visit: Mid-June to Mid-October
Places to Stay: Homestays at Rumbak, Kaya, Sku and Chilling
About Hemis High-Altitude National Park
Situated among the serene environs
of Jammu and Kashmir, Hemis National Park has the unique distinction
of being the first national park to be established north of the main
Himalayan range. The place was declared a high altitude national park
in 1981 and since has been a major attraction for wildlife enthusiasts
and nature lovers from around the globe.
While the park remains open throughout the year, the best time to
visit are the months from mid-June to mid-October, which is the ideal
time for trekking and forest walks. The best chances of spotting some
rare animals is in the winter months when animals like the snow
leopard come down to the valleys.
Hemis is full of diverse options for the visitors which include
visiting monasteries and trekking. Cycling is another exciting way to
explore the area. The temperature remains ideal during the day in
summers while it can get cold in the evenings. During winters, the
area in virtually inaccessible and the temperatures plummet to as low
as minus 30 degrees.
Trekking is the best way to explore the area and get up close with
the wild residents of the park. Some of the popular trekking routes in
the park include Martselang to Shang, Skyu-Kaya to Markha Valley and
the trek from Spituk to Markha. The treks range from the easy to
difficult ones and requires some acclimatisation to the climate.
Wildlife Attractions in
Hemis High-Altitude National Park
Hemis national park is home to a number of exotic animal and bird
species. Over 16 mammal and 73 bird species have been recorded in the
park so far, many of those are only found in the Himalayan region and
considered to be highly endangered.
Prominent among the animals found in the park include the Snow
Leopard, Himalayan Wolf, Wild Dog, Pallas's Cat, Red Fox, Bharal (Blue
Sheep), Ibex, Ladakh Urial, Tibetan Argali, Long-tailed Marmot and
Himalayan Mouse Hare.
Besides these rare animals, nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts
are also presented with a life time opportunity of spotting birds that
are unique to the area and are not spotted anywhere in the lower
altitudinal regions. The avifauna includes the Golden Eagle, Himalayan
Griffon, Lammergeier, Little Owl and Common Kestrel among other
variety of birds.
Best Time to Visit Hemis High-Altitude National Park
The best visiting season of Hemis High-Altitude National Park is from
Mid-Jun to Mid-October. The park remains open round the year for all
How to Get there
Air: Leh is the nearest airport. Indian Airlines flies to Leh
from Delhi (6:45, except Monday). Jet Airways flies from Delhi to Leh
(5:54, except Sat).
Rail: Jammu is the nearest railhead. Jammu is well connected
to other cities in India by daily trains from Delhi which include the
JP Jat Exp. (22:35), Jammu Mail (21:15), Shalimar Exp. (16:05), Jhelum
Exp. (20:49), Malwa Exp. (7:10) & the Tata Jat Exp. (20:40).
Trains running Mumbai-Jammu are Jammu Tawi Exp. (23:15, Sat) &
Swaraj Exp. (6:45, Mon, Thu, Fri, Sun) while Kolkata is connected
through the Jammu Tawi Exp. (11:45, daily) and Chennai through the
Andaman Exp. (5:15, Wed, Thu, Sun).
Road: To reach by road from Leh, take the state highway to
Hemis via Choglamsar, Thiksey, Karu and Martselang. Buses are
available but be sure to plan your schedule accordingly. It is better,
however, to hire a private taxi, preferably a four wheel drive.