In the winters, when Himalayan peaks are covered with snow, the elusive snow leopard descends to lower and more approachable altitudes in and around the Hemis National Park; it’s your best chance to spot this big cat in Ladakh.
A snow leopard on the prowl
This March, trek around Hemis National Park to track the snow leopard and its wildlife prey. Hemis National Park is home to blue sheep, argali (a large horned sheep), numerous mountain and migratory birds, as well as the occasional Tibetan wolf, one of the most prolific hunters of the region. Chances of spotting the snow leopard are high as winter is when they descend to lower elevations.
Snow leopards naturally predate on wild bharal (blue sheep) or ibex (mountain goat); however they have been known to kill domestic animals like local farmers’ goat and sheep. They are able to kill and carry up to three times their body weight and are generally opportunist hunters.
While in Ladakh, also experience the famed two-day Stok Monastery Festival celebrated by Ladakhis. The event features mask dances by monks from the monastery who don colourful silk brocaded robes and masks to depict different forms of gods and goddesses.
From March 8 to 17
Log on to: www.junglelore.net
Cost: Rs 8,500 per head