Hemis National Park, Hemis

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Hemis National Park, otherwise known as Hemis High Altitude National Park, is situated on the banks of Indus River at an elevation of 3300 to 6000 m above sea level. It has been named after the renowned Buddhist Monastery, the Hemis Monastery.The site, with the area of about 600 sq km, was declared as a national park in 1981. In 1988, the area was increased to approximately 3350 square km, and later in 1990, to 4400 square km. After all the additions, the Hemis National Park was declared as the largest national park in South Asia. It has also been announced as the 2nd largest contiguous protected area next to the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in the country.

Rare flora and fauna inhabit the national park. Animals like the marmots, langurs, red foxes, deer, wolves, the snow leopard; an endangered species, macaques as well as others inhabit this park.The region does not receive much rainfall which is why the vegetation here includes dry forests of sub-alpine birch-fir, juniper, and Populus-Salix. According to reports, the Hemis National Park has over 70 different species of birds along with 16 different species of mammals. The lammergeier vulture, the golden eagle, and the Himalayan griffon vulture are some of bird species found at this national park. Travellers can visit Hemis National Park at any time of the year but the duration from May to October is considered ideal.

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