Dedicating this post to unbelievable offerings by nature enroute Pangong from Leh and the innumerous amazing shades of blue-green-red(sometimes) of Pangong Tso. Words fall short to describe the beauty and serenity one experiences, it has be seen-felt and absorbed deep within.
Pangong Tso- Ladkah’s Enchanted Lake
Situated at an altitude of 14,270 ft, Pangong Tso, endorheic –world’s highest saltwater lake in Himalayas is shared between India and Tibet-China. Spread over an area of 604 sq.km, Pangong Lake does not boast of water species due to its saline nature but it plays host to rare species of birds’ family. The length of lake stretch in India is 130 km with almost two third falling in Tibet –China and Line of Actual control crossing through the river. There was an outlet to Shyok River but now it is closed due to natural damming. This does not deter tourist from basking in the beauty of shades of browns, blues, green and sometimes red too which cannot be imitated by us humans. Charm is accentuated by the reflection of Himalayas surrounding lake and an unbelievable marvel of fluctuating colors as the day progresses. The lake at any time is tranquil with waves coming and tenderly touching the shores without making any noise, the music of nature soothes senses. A perfect place to retrospect. This can be your next travel destination.
Mountains calling – We have to go to Pangong (Tibetan – Banggong)
One can reach the Lake via routes of Leh or Nubra valley. From Leh, the lake is at a distance of 160km and takes approximately 5 hours of drive on motorable road constructed and maintained by BRO(Border Roads Organization). The road crosses the worlds’ third highest constructed motorable pass at Chang La towards Durbuk followed by Tangste. Though the roads are being maintained by BRO but they are outstripped and challenged by increasing tourism activity in the region with incredibly fragile and pristine environment
From Nubra Valley, there are two possible alternatives – Wari –La and the other one is along Shyok River. The added advantage of this route is that one need not come back to Leh. One can proceed directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake.
All along the route, one encounters varied landscape accompanied by torrential snowfall, mammoth arid mountains at some places and at some covered with white sheet of snow, devoid of vegetation, sky painted with clouds, sheets of rain, with yaks roaming around and winding roads which take us to heaven. The beauty mesmerizes as one moves along the journey trying to encapsulate the feeling of omnipresence everywhere.
Pangong Tso can be clicked and its beauty enjoyed from majorly 5 spots – Lukung, Spangmik, Man, Merak and Khaltse. Lukung is the village where the road touches down after coming from Leh and it is the place where on seeing beauty of clear turquoise waters, one forgets the turbulent journey to reach the Lake. As one moves forward on kuchh-pakka road, village Spangmik shows up but it is crowded and noisy with too many people, camps and restaurants. Still further down one finds people clicking themselves at “Shooting point”, location where shooting of 3 Idiots happened. This is obviously famous due to movie but the added attraction is a small stretch of land trudging inside. As one drives further, one comes across village Man on the shore of lake which is less crowded with camps and tents. The best of all is Merak which is entirely cut off from electronic media and doesnot provide electricity after sleeping hours. At this place one is forced to enjoy the cool, subzero waters of lake. The accessibility to Lake becomes difficult as one moves towards Khaltse and as it starts turning towards China and it becomes hard to get good pictures. In order to capture the lake in its various moods and time in the afternoon under the blazing day sun, in the evening while the sun is setting , the early morning sun-rise. Each of these bring a different facet of this beautiful water body and should not be missed by an avid Nature photographer.
The rocks on shoreline quietly embracing the surreal turquoise waters,
The surreal turquoise waters kissing the aloof barren mountains,
The aloof barren mountains silently caressing white clouds in the azure sky,
The azure sky bystander to the game of hide & seek between mighty sun & clouds
…..a sight to behold- Is it real or am I dreaming?