Pangong Tso, or simply Pangong Lake, makes one of the most memorable visits during your journey to Ladakh. This saline water lake has several interesting elements that make it unique and captivating. Amongst some of the interesting features of Pangong Lake is its attribute of varying shades which is openly visible. The lake is situated at the height of 4350 meters, one of the highest located lakes of the world. More than 130 kilometers long, the major portion of this lake lies in Tibet, which is controlled by China. By standing at the shore of the lake, one can see several hills and mountains at the other side of the lake that reside in China.
You have to make an early morning start for your visit to Pangong, as most of the tourists prefer returning back to Leh by nightfall. Thanks to the longer duration of days in Upper North of India during summers that you can comfortably make the ten hour journey, to and fro, excluding the time you will spend sightseeing. Once you start, the journey to Pangong Tso, like most of the travels in Ladakh, takes you through thrilling and interesting territories; the highlight being the Changla Pass. Debatably, it is the third highest motorable pass in the world. Depending upon the weather, you may or may not have to pass through snowfall, but heavily snow laden territories are a sure thing you will meet while crossing Chang La. The pass takes you from a height of 5360 meters, the elevation you should brave only after properly acclimatizing at Leh. Mostly occupied by the military, there is also a tea shop here that offers hot refreshments in the chilly surroundings.
The landscapes change time to time as you descend down the Chang La Pass and move further on your journey. You pass through a village settlement named Tangste, where it is suggested that you have your lunch. Though most tourists prefer bringing packed lunch from the hotel, eating at one of the home-run inns at Tangste, at the hands of warm and hospitable Ladakhi housewives, could be a good experience. If you are planning a day trip to Pangong, you can also have your lunch on the way back from the lake.
Right after Chang La you keep looking out of the window of your vehicle as the intriguing views of barren mountains, a rare village and finally the fabulous marshlands before Pangong keep you interested all the way. Wild horses grazing here at the backdrop of picturesque hills make wonderful frames. This is also a popular place to spot Ladakhi Marmots, the interesting rodent-like creatures large enough to match small dogs. If you keep an eye at the terrain passing by you may see marmots standing on their hind legs or peeping through their holes. Further up you witness some breathtaking views of the uniquely textured mountains in this region and the plains stretched before them.
You get the first glimpse of Pangong Tso from a pass between two high hills. As you arrive before the wide stretch of Pangong Lake, you gaze in wonder at this beautiful place nodding to all the praise you have heard before. Throngs of tourist mostly gather at a narrow ramp-like formation of land that runs into the lake. The view of high hills rising out of the multi-shaded Pangong at the other side is mesmerizing. Devoid of any pollution, the clear blue water of Pangong, in which you can see the land disappear several feet away, is a rare site these days. Though nearly 60% of Pangong lies in China, what’s in India is also a large portion. On a cloudy day, you may be stirred by a chilly breeze, but if it happens to be a sunny day, you will surely want to stay here a little longer.
Pangong being a salt water lake does not support vegetation or much of aquatic life. However, you may spot small fish at the shore as well as lots of water birds. Brahmni Ducks and Seagulls are commonly seen here. Apart from Marmots, the surrounding region is also known to house Kiangs, which, however, could be hard to spot.
There is a camping site on the shore of Pangong, but only the hardcore enthusiasts choose to stay here, as the weather gets harsh after nightfall. However, if you wish to see the sunset and the sunrise the next morning, staying is the only option you have. But ensure as well as you can that the weather will not play a spoilsport. The lone eatery or two near Pangong is also not very attractive and packed food is the best option if you want to enjoy a meal while enjoying the view of the lake.
Reaching Pangong requires a permit, which your travel agent will acquire for you. Littering is considered to be a serious offense in this naturally beautiful territory. The military camp several kilometers before the lake accepts the litter and garbage that you are supposed to save with you until the proper disposal.
This harsh but beautiful lake is a paradise for landscape photographers and an unforgettable place to visit for the general tourists. You may spend only an hour or half at Pangong before embarking on the five hour journey back to Leh, but you will surely cherish the experience for the rest of your life.
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Pangong Tso Lake is an extra ordinary lake that lies in both Tibet and India. The most interesting feature of this lake is the variation of the shades of its water. Situated at a height of 4350 meters, this lake is one of the highest located lakes in the world. A permit is required to reach Pangong Tso. On the way to Pangong, you need to go through the Chang La pass followed by a settlement called Tangste. Animals like wild horses, Ladakhi marmots can also be seen on the way to Pangong. Birds like Brahmni ducks and Seagulls are commonly seen here. The shore of Pangong has a camping site, a good option for hardcore enthusiasts. This lake is a treat for landscape photographers. Ladakh tour minus a Pangong Tso visit is incomplete.
||A (What is this?)
||Nearest railway station is at Jammu.
|Nearest Major City(s):
|How to reach:
You can hire a motorcycle or a taxi from Leh or take a bus run by J&K SRTC. Local taxis also can be hired
|Major Tourist Attraction:
||Chang La Pass, Monastery, Lake.
||Varying colors of the Lake
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