The Trip is mainly focused in search of the Ghost of Himalayas, an elusive Snow Leopard. This beautiful elusive cat species is mainly inhabit in the region if Hemis National Park.it’s situated in the eastern part of Ladakh with a general between 3000 to 500o meters above the sea level. This high altitude protected area was created in 1981 for the conservation and protection of its unique flora and fauna. The climate of the area is sub-arctic to arctic with less rainfall during summers and heavy snowfall during winters and temperature dropping much below freezing point. Besides the Snow Leopard there are other rare and endangered animal species found in this cold desert are Ibex, Tibetan Antelope, Blue Sheep, Marmot, Tibetan Hare etc. Among the avifauna population found are the Snow Patridge, Golden Oriole, Snow Cock, Tibetan Partridge, Tibetan Sandgrouse, common Rosefinch, Golden Eagle, Horned Lark, Black-billed magpie etc.
As like some other cat families Snow Leopard is a territorial and ambush their prey. typical targets are the blue sheep, ibex and other mountain goats. Although if the opportunity arises, the leopard goes after the wooly hares, birds, marmots, domestic goats and other small mammal prey.they prefer steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrop and ravines. this type of habitat provides excellent camouflage good cover and clear view to help them sneak up on their prey.
It’s a challenge to Track & photograph this magnificent mammal, considering its elusive behavior, the weather condition, the rugged terrain and the vast area. Every morning we along with our experienced staff / spotters go out looking for special signs to track them. Our guides / spotters take help of wireless walkies & binoculars to spot any signs and communicate the same among each other. They also keep a close look on if there is any herd of Baral (Himalayan Blue Sheep), snow leopard’s primary prey and he descends down from an altitude like 17000ft to 13000ft in search of food. The trip is also very popular in the name of Snow Leopard photography Tour in India and relish the wildlife photographers at its best.
From January & February
Day 01: Fly to Leh (11,500) Explore Leh and acclimatize
Early morning flight from Delhi to Leh, the capital of Ladakh situated at an altitude of 11,500 ft, over the Himalayan range, witnessing stunning views of snow capped peaks. On arrival transfer to your hotel and Rest of the day is free to acclimatize. It is important to rest on these first few days at high altitude. In the evening we will give you briefing about the tour and may take you for a short walk into the Leh local market. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Leh, visit the famous monasteries of Thiksey, Matho & Stok Palace.
After breakfast we leave for half-day sightseeing of some of the popular Buddhist Monasteries around leh and visit Thiksey monestary, stock place, Matho monestary. We reach back to Leh for lunch. Afternoon is free to walk around. Overnight at leh.
Day 03:Leh to Ulley (approx 13000 feet)
After breakfast drive to Ulley. This road journey takes approximately three hours on mainly well maintained, sealed roads, driving west on the road to Kargil and Srinagar, generally following the Indus River & one of the most important in Ladakh where the Zanskar river meets the Indus. This is all snow leopard country. The landscape here is big, expansive and open until you turn off onto a dirt road winding up a narrow valley,
Following a stream called the Ulley Chhu.
Ulley village, west of Leh is an area that is only recently being developed for Snow Leopard watching but is in the centre of three interlocking valleys that support approximately 12 snow leopards according to the last census. On arrival at your homestay, meet your hosts, settle in and take time to acclimatize to the higher altitude of Ulley (3,850 mts). At evening time, take evening walk around village. Overnight stay at Homestay in Ulley
Day 04: Full day explore Ulley village for tracking Snow leopard
Explore the area by walking with your guides tracking for snow leopard, wolf, Urial, Ibex, fox and the array of birds that surprisingly still survive in this harsh winter landscape, late evening back to homestay & overnight stay at Homestay in Ulley
Day 05: Ulley, drive to Zinchen & trek to Rumbak (13850 feet) 4 – 5 hrs trek
After breakfast drive to Zinchen (02 hrs) & start treks to reach at Homestay at Rumbak village in the Hemis National Park, the home of snow leopard. Keep your senses sharp and look out amidst the cliffs and at the base of rocks where they mark their turf. we spend our night in the Rumbak homestay.
Day 06: Explore Rumbak valley in search of Snow Leopard
Over the next 3 days we trek around Hemis National Park tracking the Snow Leopard and its wildlife prey. Besides the Snow Leopard Hemis National Park is also home to blue sheep, Tibetan Argali (a large horned sheep), Red Fox, Ibex, Wooly Hare as well as an occasional Tibetan wolf, one of the most prolific hunters of the region.
We are likely to see signs of Snow Leopard, as winter is the time when they descend to lower elevations. If lucky, you’ll actually see one perched high in the rocks or balanced on a near vertical ridge. Return to camp / home stay for some hot servings and warming tea and share tales of the day. Overnight in Rumbak home stay.
Snow Leopards naturally predate on wild bharal (blue sheep) or ibex (mountain goat) however they have been known to kill domestic animals such as local farmers’ goat and sheep. They are able to kill and carry up to 3 times their body weight and are generally opportunist hunters.
Day 07: Full day to Explore Rumbak valley in search of Snow Leopard
Day 08: Rumbak – Yurutse (5 kms trek) (14000 feet)
The trekstarts with gradual ascend along the frozen stream. There is a short patch of steep uphill in between to reach Yurutse Junction. As we trek up we keep looking for Snow leopard in the near by surroundings. Overnight stay at Homestay inYurutse
Day 09: Yurutse, trek to Zinchen & transfer to Leh. (5 hrs Trek)
Trek down to Zinchen, pass familiar snow leopard hunts and piles of carved Tibetan prayer flags & mani walls with prayers engraved on the stones. we take it slow exploring the familiar hunts of the snow leopards with pack lunch so that we make it to zingchen by late afternoon post our arrival in zinchen and transferred to civilization of leh.
Day 10: Departure to Delhi
Morning after an early breakfast transfer to Leh airport to catch flight back to Delhi with great memories of lifetime.
Internal Flights/Trains can be booked on request