Pangong Lake in Ladakh
Just about 160 km from Leh is a beautiful lake named the Pangong Lake in Ladakh. A drive to this lake will result in one of the most wonderful experiences. The journey begins at Thiksey village, which is famous for its huge monasteries covering an entire mountain range. And beyond this remote village there is nothing but the vast expanse of extreme mountain ranges for company. An interesting observation of the topography throughout this journey is that they throw off all calculations of distance somewhat like a mirage-effect, what looked to be a ten-minute crossing easily requires an hour or more!
At Darbuk village near Tangste Valley stands a chain of war memorials in commemoration of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Indo-Chinese war of 1962. Some of the historic army bunkers and trenches present here, are still in use. Villagers along with their large herds of Pashima sheep and long tailes yaks can be seen in these villages.
A tourist spot and more:
It is one of the most beautiful places in India but the serene tranquil Pangong Lake is not just a tourist’s paradise. It is also a geologist’s domain. And also, from the political perspective, this place is a melting pot of confusion and for sure it in no fun for the army in the biting cold to take care of the strategic landscape.
Vegetation and wildlife near the lake:
Due to the saltiness in the water of the lake, there is very less micro-vegetation. There are no fish or other aquatic life in the lake, except for some small crustaceans. However, numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface can be spotted in plenty. There are some species of scrub and perennial herbs that grow in the marshes around the lake.
[Don't forget to read our post on 100 things to do in Leh Ladakh]
The lake serves as an important breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. During summer, the Bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks are commonly spotted around this region. A number of species of wildlife including the kiang and the Marmot can also be seen here.
How to get here:
Pangong Tso can be reached in a five-hour drive from Leh. Most of the journey is through a rough and dramatically scenic mountain road. The road crosses the villages of Shey and Gya and traverses the Changla pass. Road down from Changla Pass leads through Tangste and other smaller villages, crossing river called Pagal Naala also known as “The Crazy Stream”. Another lake to visit in Ladakh, is the beautiful Tsomoriri Lake.
When to visit:
This spectacular lakeside is open during the tourist season, which lasts from May to September.
The beautiful Pangong Tso Lake was featured in the last scene of the blockbuster movie ‘3 Idiots’ in the year 2010. After the success of the movie, this beautiful natural location has been a major attraction for tourists from all over the globe.