The rarest and most elusive of all India’s ‘Big Six’ species, the snow leopard is a creature of almost mythic beauty. Film crews have spent months looking for them and many return without success. Only at the height of winter in Ladakh, India’s most remote Himalayan region, do you stand a reasonable chance of seeing one.

Even then, you’ll need luck on your side as the population is thought to be somewhere between 100 and 300, spread across an area the size of Scotland. Ibex and blue sheep are the snow leopard’s preferred prey, but from December to March the cats are occasionally forced by extreme cold or snowfall to villages in search of a stray sheep or goat.

Where to stay: Snow Leopard Lodge

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