- Saturday, 5 March 2011

Pangong Tso: Ladakh

I went to Ladakh way back in August 2007. Now there are ways to travel to Ladakh. The fit, the rugged and the passionate bikers will choose tough terrains and weather conditions via Kargil (from Srinagar) or via Sarchu (from Manali). I chose the easy & lazy one. Direct flight from Delhi which also turned out very beautiful.

With only four days in hand, i didnt have any time to acclimatize. Now rule # 1 when u get to Leh- ACCLIMATIZE. I didn't and next day got breathless and fell sick. Leh was obvious part of our plan. But apart from that we wanted to travel a bit around Ladakh. We zeroed on Pangong Lake.

Pangong lake is approximately 5 hours drive from Leh passing through various monastries, dry cold mountains, river, Changla pass and really really dramatic terrains. An Inner Line Permit is required to visit the lake as it lies on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control.

We are advised by travel operators to stay in some guesthouse in a village just before the Lake in the night or else the weather can get really severe out there. We chose otherwise and decided to tent up on the Lake itself. The moment we reached, we were in awe of the place. It was magnificent and enormous – and in complete peace. Not a car, not a bike, no eletricity, one family, one home run mobile resturant, one toilet and a few compact tents with space for maximum 2 people to just slip in and sleep. One cant even sit up properly inside it- its that small.

It was me, my laziness partner Shivali who joined from Bangalore & the very tall, strong and fit Rahel from Switzerland. After spending the evening by the lake freezing and loving every moment we were invited into the house for dinner. We were the only guests that night. On a given day about 7-8 people can only be accomodated, not more. Sitting inside the candle lit cozy home we had ur dinner and spoke to our hosts about their lives and how on earth do they manage supplies for their very beautiful, cozy and lovely family resturant. They were very lovely.

Later in the night it got really really windy and for first time in my life i heard the whistling wind- all night long....you know what i mean?? It was fierce. We chose it. We wanted to wake up to sunshine at the lake. And we did.

Some clicks of Pangong below (the battery died in evening so dont have any picture of our beautiful hosts, or their lovely home)

Some facts about Pangong Lake:
source: wikipedia

-> Pangong Tso (or Pangong Lake; Tso: Ladakhi for lake) is an endorheic lake situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft).

-> It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in Tibet, which is today under China's rule. The lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point.

-> During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.

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