Sunday 1 January 2023

Places to visit in Ladakh - Pangong Tso

Pangong Tso, Ladakh

It is said that sometimes the journey is equally important, if not more, than the final destination. The same can be said for most of the journeys & destinations in Ladakh, an erstwhile province of Jammu & Kashmir and now a Union Territory. 

On way to Pangong Tso, Ladakh

My journey from Nubra region to Pangong Tso (or Pangong Lake), though long, was mesmerizing what with the clear green waters of the Shyok river and rivulets on the way as well as the moonscape mountains having different hues at every turn.

Shyok River, Ladakh

Changthangi, Ladakh

On the way I saw the Pashmina goats, also known as Changthangi (for the region they come from) grazing at high altitudes.


Yaks grazing, Ladakh

Then there were the Yaks feeling at home and grazing in the frozen pond and grass landscape. Yaks are at home in extremely low temperatures at these high altitudes. Yaks are sturdy beasts of the region providing not only milk and cheese but also as beasts of burden to the locals especially in winters when all motorised transport may cease in remote areas.

Pangong Tso, Ladakh

The lake at 14270 feet is 134 km long though only 1/3 is in Ladakh & the remaining is in Tibet. The lake has an endorheic basin, which means that it retains water and has no outflow. The lake completely freezes over in winters. Due to being endorheic, the water is salty and the Pangong is considered the world’s highest salt-water lake.

Pangong Tso with mountains on the eastern side

The photo does not justify the beauty of the place with the lake having multiple colours of blue, which is mesmerizing. One can just sit here and watch the lake changing colours – i.e. various shades of blue.

At the Pangong Tso, Ladakh

The hills, some bare and others snow clad add to the aura of the place. In summers, there is accommodation available here but after end-October most of them close it for winters though few eateries are still open in November.

Shades of Blue, Pangong Tso, Ladakh

You can reach Leh, capital of Ladakh by air or by road (long journey). From Leh you can book cabs/bikes. Travel in Ladakh is expensive because of long distances between destinations. Best time to visit Pangong Tso is summers but then be prepared to see lots of tourists trying to be ‘three idiots’. From Nubra to Pangong Tso the drive is about 270 kms and takes about seven hours. If one goes from Leh via the Chang La (at 17688 feet) then the distance is about 225 kms and take about five and a half hours.