Ladakh…. The Land of Endless Discovery
If I get down to write about ladakh, well, this article cannot be enough to describe everything and all the places it has to offer for visit, so I have decided to write about one of the most favorite and famous tourist destinations of ladakh (India) – pangong tso. When the rest of India is reeling under extensive heat of summers or heavy rainfall during the monsoon and you have no other place in mind for your holidays, Ladakh is the perfect destination for you. Located at an average altitude of 11500 ft above sea level, Ladakh is the perfect getaway from the oppressive heat of the plains. Popularly known as Moon land for its outlandish landscape of vast barren mountains, Ladakh also has the bluest of skies and beautiful lakes that change different colors during the day. Also known for its unique culture, monasteries & people, Ladakh no doubt is becoming one of the hottest destinations of India. (A view of the pangong tso)
The most beautiful and famous of lakes from ladakh is pangong tso (or Banggong Co Tibetan for “long, narrow, enchanted lake) ,in the Himalayas is situated at a height of about 14270 ft and it extends from India to Tibet. The waters of lake are brackish and without any aquatic life accept for a few crustaceans however the lake is always crowed by brown headed sea gulls and migratory cranes that come to this wetland for breeding. During summer, the Bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks are commonly seen here. The region around the lake supports a number of species of wildlife including the kiang and the Marmot; however there are also chances to spot a very rare species of deer called cheeru. Due to extensive killing and poaching by the Chinese, cheeru are under a great danger and have been identified as an endangered species, snow leopards and wild donkeys are some other fauna that can be found in this area.
(Brown headed sea gull)
Pangong Tso can be reached in a five-hour drive from Leh, most of it on a rough and dramatic mountain road. The road crosses the villages of Shey and Gya and traverses the Changla pass (the second highest pass) , where army people are on guard and one can also find an army run cafeteria providing hot masala tea to provide comfort from the chilling cold. Road down from Changla Pass leads through Tangste and other smaller villages, crossing river called Pagal Naala or “The Crazy Stream”. The picturesque lakeside is open during the tourist season, from May to September. An Inner Line Permit is required to visit the lake as it lies on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control. While Indian nationals can obtain individual permits, others must have group permits (with a minimum of three persons) accompanied by an accredited guide; the tourist office in Leh issues the permits for a small fee. For security reasons, India does not permit boating.
The waters of the lake are crystal clear and under proper sunshine one can see various hues of blue, green, and violet with the changes in sun’s positions. Its like watching the reflection of heaven, and the chirpy sea gulls flying here and there are a good entertainment ,they can be very friendly at times and you can also feed them and its quite possible that you find some of them hopping all over you .
It’s surely a haven for landscape , wildlife ,and nature photographers, pangong is indeed one of the most beautiful lakes in India and is a must visit for all those who are looking forward to a vacation to find peace of mind and spend quality time ,close to nature and amidst immense natural beauty. Away from the crowded cities and hustles of our day to day life, ladakh provides a perfect getaway for those seeking peace of mind and relaxation, so go pack your bags and get ready for this ultimate trip to land of natural miracles … ladakh!!
By: Richa Sojatia (Indore, India)
© Richa Sojatia photography, Indore, India, all rights reserved