The high-altitude Hemis National Park, tucked into the eastern side of the Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir, is one of the largest contiguous protected zones in India, after the Nanda Devi Reserve. It is also the largest national park across South Asia, spread across 4,400 square kilometers. The national park is home to jagged mountain peaks and snow-capped summits, where only the toughest animals and birds survive. One of them is the elusive snow leapord, a grey ghost that is rarely seen in the rocky slopes. In fact, Hemis has the largest population of the endanged snow leopard, and photographs flock every day, braving the thin air and cold winds just to be blessed with a glimpse of the cat. ALSO READ: Photos of Binsar, a Quiet Haven in the Kumaon Himalayas Also Read - Hemis National Park is Home to Wildlife That Can't be Found Anywhere Else in India

The barren, cold Himalayan mountains in Hemis National Park

Himalayas of India, Hemis National Park Also Read - Experience The Best of Wildlife With These Summer Safari's in India



Another view of the Himalayan mountains in Hemis High Altitude National Park in Ladakh

UHimalayan mountains in Ladakh, India. Hemis High Altitude National Parkntitled design (6) Also Read - Snow Leopards in India: Here are 5 National Parks in India Where You Can Spot the Rare Mountain Cat

A Himalayan mountain top with the backdrop of the blue sky with clouds

Himalayan mountain top and blue sky with clouds in Ladakh, India. Hemis High Altitude National Park



Pair of snow leopard with a clear rock background, Hemis National Park, Kashmir

Pair of snow leopard with clear rock background, Hemis National Park, Kashmir

Bharal or blue sheep Pseudois nayaur in Rumbak Valley in Hemis

Bharal or blue sheep Pseudois nayaur in Rumbak Valley in Ladakh India. Hemis High Altitude National Park

A Bharal precariously atop a rock in Hemis

Bharal or blue sheep Pseudois nayaur in Rumbak Valley in Ladakh India. Hemis High Altitude National Park (2)

Chukar Partridge in snow, Hemis National Park, Himalayas

Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar, chukar, in snow, Hemis National Park, Himalayas

Bharal skulls on a wall of the cattle shelter in Rumbak village 

Bharal skulls on a wall of the cattle shelter in Rumbak village in Hemis High Altitude national park

A Robin accentor in Hemis High Altitude National Park in Ladakh

Robin accentor, Prunella rubeculoides in Hemis High Altitude National Park in Ladakh

Hemis is also home to other hardy animals that survive and thrive in the rocky wilderness, like the Asiatic ibex, the Eurasian brown bear, red fox and the Tibetan wolf. It is a paradise for those who want to catch a glimpse of the snow leopard and the rare birds seen here, like the Himalayan griffon vulture, Lammergeier vulture and the golden eagle. NOW READ: Photos of Bolivia’s Death Road, One of the Most Dangerous Roads in the World

Within this park, you’ll find six villages: Chilling, Urutse, Shingo, Sku, Kaya and Rumbak. There are also several Tibetan Gompas and Chortens within the park, including the famed Hemis Monastery that is more than four centuries old.