Pangong Lake Ladakh – The very thought of a pristine blue lake nestled amidst the barren mountain ranges pumped up the adrenaline in us and we were raring to go. After a stupendous trip of the Nubra valley we were all set for the next destination on our itinerary – the Pangong Tso lake Ladakh.
Even months before the Ladakh trip, Pangong and Tso Mirori lake had been the x-factor in all our travel discussions and planning. A destination I had yearned to visit for a very long time.
About Pangong Lake Ladakh
Pangong lake Ladakh is a picturesque salt water lake tucked in the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh at an altitude of 14270 feet, starting from eastern Ladakh and stretching all the way to Tibet.
Considered as one of highest salt water lakes in the world the Pangong Tso measures a dimension of 134Km in length and 5Km in width encompassing a total area of 604 square kilometers. Almost two thirds of the lake falls within China while India gets the share of the remaining one third.
Now of Pangong Lake Ladakh features as a major tourist attraction in the country after all the hype it received from Amir Khan’s Bollywood movie the three idiots.
The increased footfall does diminish the serenity of the place a wee bit, none the less Pangong Tso lake flaunts beauty at its very best.
Pangong Lake Ladakh – A memorable journey
Having thoroughly relished and enjoyed Nubra valley to our heart’s content we were all set for our journey to the Pangong lake. Our tour manager insisted us on taking the Shyok river route which would get us to Pangong four hours earlier than the Wari La Pass route.
We learnt that the Shyok river route would take us a tat more than seven hours, but the conditions of the roads are bad. However when we actually took to the roads we realized that the phrase “bad roads” was quite an understatement. It was simply horrific, hazardous and horrendous one can possibly imagine. The major part of the 273 Km road trip was a creepy nightmare.
However for tourists traveling to Pangong from Leh via Chang La Pass (the third highest motorable road in the world) has a much better experience and a lesser distance to travel. Not only do you get better roads initially but also get to cover the Thicksey, Hemis and Shey monasteries along the way.
However for us it was a different story. Now that we spent over three days in Ladakh, the topographical charm of barren mountain ranges, deep gorges and ravines had settled in our eyes and the arduous road trip consumed all our attention. The notable places we crossed on the way were Diskit, Khalsar, Agham, Shyok village, Durbuk, Tangste, Lukung and Spangmik.
However at certain places along the way the scenic beauty was compelling enough to stop the car and click photographs. Finally we reached Pangong lake at around 3pm. Even the sight of the lake from a distance looked so mesmerizingly beautiful that it bought a huge round of cheer and applaud from all of us inside the car.
At first I was a bit disappointed to see the total number of cars and tourists gathered around the lake. But after alighting from the car and moving closer to the lake I was simply dumbstruck in admiration to nature’s supreme opulence. Never ever in my life have I seen a place more beautiful than this.
The waters of the lake were Prussian blue in color with gentle ripples stretching across the horizon, surrounded with barren mountain ranges of kaleidoscopic shades. The view of the blue sky with dramatic cloudscapes reflecting its hue on the crystal clear waters below is a sight so enthralling that all a man could do is bow down and feel blessed at having witnessed it.
Life form at Pangong Tso
Due to the saline nature of the lake, fish and other aquatic life forms are virtually non existent except for some small crustaceans. Even vegetation around the lake is extremely scanty with hardly any trees shrubs and bushes giving it a barren deserted look that adds to the charm.
During summers the lake serves as a nesting ground for varied species of migratory birds including the bar-headed goose and the Brahmini ducks. A number of species of wildlife including the kiang and the Marmot can also be spotted here.
Our Stay at Pangong Lake Ladakh
Although home-stay was available close to the lake we preferred to put up for the night in hired tents just beside the lake to get the real feel of the place.
Accommodation in tents can cost you between 2000-4000 INR per night and home-stay at around 3000 INR. Being the month of November it was quite windy and chilly and high bonfires were lit up in front of the tents which gave a real exotic feel.
The night sky was studded with a million stars shinning endlessly illuminating the lake and surrounding mountain ranges in a soft shimmering glow. Every moment we spent at Pangong lake from the eight hours of arduous journey to the vivid scenery that unfurled along the way.
The mesmerizing beauty, vastness and serenity of the lake in perfect harmony with the surrounding ambiance and the night we spend there would all be embedded in our minds and hearts forever.
“Take every chance you get in life,
Because some things in life…..
Only happen ONCE.”
Do please let me know in the comment section below the most memorable trip you had in your life.
Checkout the Ladakh image gallery.