Route: Tangtse Valley – Pangong Lake – Chang La – Leh
The most awaited day of the trip… today we are going to visit the Pangong Lake. We started at 6.30 am, for an hour’s drive to Lake Pangong. The terrain was almost similar, but it was amazingly beautiful that morning with sun shining just above the Himalayas, the rocky sand was sparkling like diamonds! Man… that was truly awesome! The winding narrow roads went up and down the rocky mountains.
As we were passing through a green valley, I spotted something rolling over the green grass. I asked Sirjim to stop the car and got out quickly without making too much noise and asked Ruby and Sirjim to stay in the car. I walked carefully through the grass keeping a low profile with my camera ready-to-shoot anything that might come across. I saw them again, they were the Himalayan marmots. I really had a great time clicking them, Have a look!!! They were cute and very funny!!
Even Ruby had a wonderful time watching them play. They were too cute. After that brief photo shoot, we continued our journey to one of the world’s highest salt water lake.
Pangong Tso (‘Tso’ Means Lake in Ladakhi) is one of the highest salt water lake in the world, situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to China. 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point.
We reached there by 7.45 am. Even though the lake is under military surveillance, there was no military equipments seen that could ruin the beauty of the place. After we passed through the military check post, we drove along the lake for kilometers. The drive was bumpy but the view was beautiful.
Despite being saline water the lake freezes completely during winter. The water is crystal clear and the lake shore is of rough gravel, sand and pebbles. It is completely surrounded by bare brown, rocky, snow capped mountains! The sky is amazingly blue and the view is spectacularly clear because of the thin air. The water in the lake is freezing cold, which changes color/shade every now and then as the day progresses. It has deepest hues of blue when the sun is high, with a turquoise shade near the bank and deeper hues in the middle of the lake. It looses color later in the day and turns greenish as the sun moves towards the horizon. At times when there is no wind, the clear surface of the lake reflects the brown mountains surrounding it, just like a painted canvas.
The spectacular lakeside is open during the tourist season, from May to September. An Inner Line Permit is required to visit the lake as it lies on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control. We spent hours playing around, exploring and taking pictures of that amazing place. My camera couldn’t do any justice to the exotic beauty of that place.
I’ve been dreaming about being at this very spot, for ages. I call it as a ‘Life time experience’! The beauty of the nature, the purity of the air, the freshness of the wind, the clarity of the water…and the feel of being at the ‘Top of the World’, as the Master Card guys say ‘It’s priceless’. The whole trip was a complete package… adventure, tension, laughter, nature, people, wildlife. Truly a Life time experience for me and I know, Ruby felt the same way as I did!
After spending couple of hours in that exotic place; we decided to leave, as we had 5-6 hrs drive back to Leh and the road was very adventurous. We encountered rock slide, in fact a road slide and we narrowly escaped from an epic disaster; and a flat tyre on our way back gave a comprehensive end to the adventure side of the trip.
That was lovely evening back at the hotel Snow lion. The weather, the ginger tea and the view from the backyard garden complimented with the endless discussion about the gains and drops of the trip and the place was the perfect climax for a seven day life time adventure trip for us.
- The best time to visit Pangong lake is in the early morning, by afternoon it attracts a lot of crowd.
- You can stay there overnight in tents. Make sure you have everything to keep yourself warm and should be completely acclimatized to the rarefied air.
- Plastics are banned and area is under military control/surveillance. So please be careful not to litter.
- There are plenty of choices for trekking/hiking enthusiasts and pros in that region.
- Always watch out for some amazing wildlife.
- Make sure you have extra camera batteries and memory cards, coz they all gonna be working overtime and the cold temperature will drain your batteries twice as fast.
The Himalayan Road trip continues….