Hemis National Park is a high altitude protected area created in 1981 in the eastern part of the cold desert of Ladakh for the conservation and protection of its unique flora and fauna.
It covers an area of 600 sq. kms in the Markha and Rumbak valleys.
The terrain surrounding the park is rocky and the thin soil cover supports a poor vegetative growth.
Dry alpine pastures are present in sheltered locations and the grass growth is relatively rapid during the summer season after the snow melts from the region.
There are many U-shaped valleys, carved by the glacial actions that occurred in the past.
Rivers and streams have laid a thick deposit of sand along their banks. The general elevation of the parks exact location is over 3,000 meters.
The climatic conditions vary from sub-arctic to arctic.
Rainfall is low and the bulk of the total annual precipitation is in the form of snow.
In winter the mercury drops to far below the freezing point and this tract receives very heavy snowfall, which remains on the ground for several months at a stretch. Summers are short and mild, while there is no marked rainy season.
Dry forests of juniper, birch and fir are found in the region. Also present are the alpine grasslands and scrublands.
There are many rare and endangered animal species found in the cold desert area that are also found in the hemis national park, known to be the home of an interesting assemblage of cold desert fauna.
Amongst these are the snow leopard, Tibetan wild or kiang, ibex, serow and Tibetan antelope.
Amongst the avi fauna population found in the hemis national park are the snow, snow partridge and golden oriole.