With Indus and Zaskar Rivers flowing at its boundaries, Hemis National Park is a picturesque holiday destination, which is flanked by five villages namely Shingo, Chillinga, Yurutse, Rumbak, and Sku-Kaya. Given its unspoilt and exotic landscape, we bet you simply cannot resist the temptation of capturing it all. Brush up your photography skills before you hit this natural wonderunspoilt and exotic landscape!
Why Should You Go?
Tucked in the lap of pristine valleys in Ladakh, Hemis National Park is one of Asia’s most well-known natural habitats of the Snow Leopard. Named after the 400-year-old monastery, Hemis Gompa, the altitude of Hemis National Park ranges between 3000-6000 meters, the highest in the country.
Established in 1981, the park is flanked by five villages namely Shingo, Chillinga, Yurutse, Rumbak and Sku-Kaya, and is home to a variety of birds and animals including leopards, Tibetan Wolf, Eurasian Brown Bear and Red fox, amongst others.
What’s the Best Time to Visit?
If you want to enjoy a hassle-free and pleasant trip, plan one between the months of May and early October. The Jeep Safaris and most trekking routes are stalled post November due to heavy snowfall. If you are visiting Hemis between June and July, sync your dates with the Hemis Festival and book yourself for and artistic and cultural extravaganza. Make sure you plan at least a 4-night trip with enough room to settle, acclimatise and relax.
How to Get There?
You can fly Indian Airlines from Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar or Chandigarh to Leh, the base station to reach Hemis. Once at Leh, the park can be reached via road through a rented conveyance or bus, which plies daily from Leh to Hemis. If you are feeling adventurous, trek your way up from Spituk Village below Leh and pass through Zingchen and Markha Valleys to reach the national park. You will also come across Gandu La and Kongmaru La during the trail.
Where to Stay?
Lodge yourself in a homestay at one of the six villages enroute the National Park as there are no hotels in the vicinity. While the local food is edible, do carry some packaged stuff of your own for untimely hunger pangs. Same goes for medication and first aid supplies.
Places to Visit Around Hemis National Park
Even if you haven’t had a lucky run with wildlife spotting, don’t worry. The rich landscape, confluence of varied hills and manmade architectural wonders won’t let you down. Some must-visit places and things to do around Hemis National Park include:
Read more: 5 Treks In Leh That You Must Plan
Almost 45 kilometres from Leh, standing tall at the foothills of Indus River, is the biggest monastery of Northern India – Hemis Monastery. An epitome of belief and rich cultural heritage (which dates back to 1672 AD), it is home to over 1000 monks. Once inside the monastery, you will come across a vast collection of artefacts, stupas made in gold and silver, thankas and Buddha statues, which resonate its intrinsic richness. Stop by the Hemis Museum shop to pick souvenirs, local jewellery, paintings, statues and curios.
Read more: Leh Hemis Festival: Of Magic and Masked Dances
A short trek from Hemis Monastery, Gotsang Gompa will leave you with the feeling of winning a treasure hunt. One of the most popular tourist spots, it is known for its meditative appeal. You can avail its accommodation facilities and unwind before you gear up for further trekking. The monks here will allow you to lodge even if you have a longer stay planned.
Stanka Gompa draws its name from its base hill, which resembles a tiger’s nose. The rather geometrical structure of Stanka Gompa may not stand true to your assumption of a colourful and vibrant monastery, but the myriad hues of its beautiful surroundings surely paint a pretty picture. Located near Indus, the panoramic views it offers are beyond imagination.
Shang Gompa is synonymous with solace and intricacy, especially because of the creative works housed in its recesses. It is located amidst snow-clad mountains, and the distant chants by Monks almost cast a soulful spell on people trekking through it.
Read more: Monastery Circuit in Leh
If your idea of a vacation is that of one packed with adventure, excitement and tranquillity – then Hemis National Park is the place to be. Rest assured, this is going to be one trip out of the ordinary.
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