We had already explored a wide range of exquisitely beautiful and diverse places in the state and were coming to the end of the trip, which made us a bit sad. Nonetheless, we had enough time to sign off with our last destination, which was the Hemis National Park. Being located at a high altitude, it is also known as Hemis High Altitude National Park and is located close to the eastern part of Ladakh. We knew that it is famous throughout the world for being the ideal place to spot a snow leopard and that too inside the wild.
Experts say that it holds the first rank in the list of protected areas having snow leopards in high density. It also holds the credit for being the country’s only national park to be located above the Himalayas. We could clearly spot a number of snow leopards roaming freely in the wild and felt really lucky to have the opportunity to capture them with our DSLRs. The best thing about the park is that the picturesque location is surrounded by the Indus River on the north and parts of Zanskar Range, Rumbak, Sumdah and Markah on different sides.
My friend, who was a big fan of facts and dates, told me that the park was established in the year 1981. The Hemis National Park in Jammu & Kashmir currently holds the record for being the largest national park in the southern part of the continent. We knew that there were numerous holy chortens and Tibetan gompas, who resided inside the park. The locals informed that more than 1,600 people reside inside the boundaries of the park.
The Hemis National Park receives the maximum number of pilgrims and tourists during a festival known as Hemis Tsechu. The park is abounded with alpine shrub meadows and lands, alpine tundra and pine forests. Some of the most popular animals found inside the park include the snow leopards, Tibetan wolf, Eurasian brown bear, red fox, mountain weasel, Himalayan mouse hare, Himalayan marmot, etc.
We also did some bird watching and found some extremely unique species of birds in India. We left the park with a heavy heart to be back to our scheduled life the very next day.