The host: Gaurav has spent more than a decade exploring India's most enthralling eco-systems and trekking around the globe. A renowned photographer and naturalist, he is also an aspiring musician and a certified Rescue Diver. He looks after trip design and execution and is always looking for innovative and challenging designs for travelers and students.
The experience: Gurav once again brings to you, one of its most exciting travel opportunities featuring the Ghost of the Himalayas, the elusive Snow Leopard. During the winters when the peaks are covered with snow, the ghost descends to lower and more approachable altitudes in and around the Hemis National Park. Though a Snow Leopard sighting will be the highlight of the trip, Hemis hosts a lot more in terms of wildlife diversity. Ranging from Himalayan Blue Sheep, Red Fox, Tibetan Wolf and an exquisite variety of bird life.
Day 1: Arrive in Leh (Rest)
Take the early morning flight to Leh from New Delhi. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel located near Leh market.
Complete rest for the day is highly recommended as it eases the process of acclimatisation. Also sipping hot tea while stretching your legs in the lap of Himalayas is definitely not a bad way to start you trip, alternatively you can also choose to visit the local market in the evening.
Dinner and overnight stay in Leh.
Day 2: Drive to Ule.
Early morning we depart for Ule and reach by lunch time.
Today, we will be exploring the Ule landscape, which is known for its Leopard sightings as well. Apart from that keep a look out for Urial, Agrali and Tibetian Antelope here.
Dinner and overnight stay in Ule Homestay.
Day 3: Explore Ule. Late evening back to Leh
We shall explore more of Ule and late afternoon we head back to Leh.
A bonfire to keep you warm and dinner afterwards.
Overnight at Leh.
Day 4 : Leh to Zinchen. Trek to Rumbak
This is the part that we have been building up to.
Post breakfast we head to the Hemis National Park. From Phey Bridge onwards we start hiking along side Indus towards the Zingchen Gorge. We continue up the gorge and soon enough lay our eyes on the high altitude Hemis national park, the home of the 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 the night in Rumbak Homestays and it is our first night in the stunning Hemis wilderness.
Trekking time: 5-6 hrs. Elevation: 12,400 ft
Day 5 : Explore Rumbak
Over the next 3 days we trek around Hemis National Park tracking 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 an occasional Tibetan wolf, one of the most prolific hunters of the region. You 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 for some hot servings and warming tea and share tales of the day.
**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.
Overnight in camp/home stay.
Day 6 : Turhan Valley Today, we trek to the Turhan valley another great place to spot the elusive cat. Overnight in camp/home stay.
Day 7 : Rumbak - Urutse. Homestay at Urutse(13,500 ft).
Today, we will explore Yurutse (13,500 ft) and Gandala Pass base which is known for its Ibex sightings.
Overnight in camp/home stay at Yurutse.
Day 8 :Urutse to Zinchen. Back to Leh.
Trek down-valley past familiar Snow Leopard haunts and piles of carved Tibetan prayer stones to Zingchen; about 5 hrs. We take it slow exploring the familiar haunts of the Leopards with packed Lunch so that we make it to Zingchen by late afternoon.
Post our arrival in Zingchen, we head back to civilisation – Leh. After a much needed and deserved shower it is time to relax, grab a drink and enjoy the last of the gorgeous and peaceful Himalayan scenery.
Farewell dinner and overnight in Leh.
Day 9 :Depart for Delhi/Mumbai
Early morning depart back home with memories for a lifetime.
The duration: 9 days
Price: 1293.75 per person
What is included in the price:
-4 nights accommodation in deluxe property in Leh on twin sharing basis (heater facility)
-5 nights stay in homestay Ule/Rumbak&Urutse on twin sharing basis (bukhara local fire place )
-All meals during the trip
-Porter charges Zinchen to Rumbak& back
-Service of an expert naturalist & spotter
-Jungle Lore escort
-Surface transfers as per plan by tempo traveler
-Inner Liner permits, monastery fees and taxes
-Wildlife permit frees Rs 1600/- per day per head
-Local sightseeing/monastery festival/trek to Shang Shumdo for birding
When we can do this experience: bes time october to april