Hemis National Park

Hemis National Park (4400 sq kms) is situated in the northern most district of Ladakh and on the west bank of the river Indus. It was established in the year of 1981 for safeguarding the Snow Leopards in India. This ‘high altitude’ park gets its name from the Hemis Gompa, a well known Buddhist monastery positioned at a distance of 40 kms south east of Leh. The monastery has around 200 branches with almost 1000 monks in the Himalayan region. Tagged as the largest monastic institution in Ladakh, a trip to this monastery adds thrills to the trip. Additionally, camping and trekking are other recreational activities to indulge in. The rocky terrain of this high altitude desert holds rugged valleys, often surrounded by big uneven rocks.

Within the confines of the park, there are six villages, namely, Rumbak, Kaya, Sku, Shingo, Urutse and Chilling. Collectively, these are inhabited by about 1600 people. You can also find several gompas and chortens inside the park.




Area of the park:

In 1981, the park was initially founded by saving the Rumbak and Markha Catchments which covered an area of about 600 sq km. By 1988, the area of the park has increased to around 3350 sq km by including areas of near by neighboring lands. Thereafter, it again grew in 1990 and finally became 4400 sq kms. Now, Hemis National Park is the largest national park of South Asia.



The climate of the park is one the extremes. It offers an experience of daily and seasonal fluctuations, with significant variations in their levels. You should be ready to get surprised by a snowfall at any time of the year, as it is too uncertain to predict. During the winter phase, the Zanskar river and its tributaries remain frozen.



The foliage of the park is quintessentially alpine and steppe combined with patchy woods and shrub species at the base point of the valleys. The soggy top mountain slopes and open hillsides are opposite to the above all steppe vegetation. The valleys significantly showcase the  high altitude desert featured by thin grasslands and verdant vegetation on mountain slopes.



The national park is nothing less than a visionary treat to the visitors. The scenic beauty and landscapes will leave you spell bound and give you reasons to capture the nature in your digital lens. Magnificent mountains and alpine forests of juniper and subalpine dry birch are spectacular views. The stok kangri peak is located within the park. The confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers acts like the boundary of the park, which is again a pleasure to the eyes. It also includes the catchment area of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak and some portions of the Zanskar Range.