We woke up to children voices playing across the valley. Sheep bells heard faintly high up on the mountainside. There were sounds coming from a distance riding on the wings of the wind.
By now the sun was smiling high over the town. The clouds began parting way, clear and pure for our onward journey to Pangong.
“Julley”-we were greeted and waved by the locals on this blissful morning as we zipped past them on our bike.
Pangong Tso– ‘The Lake of 1001 Colors’ is one of India’s most beautiful high altitude salt-water lake famous for its ever-changing exquisite colors. It is also known as the ‘Lake of Great Hollow’. The varying colors of the crystal clear waters in the shades of green and blue are due to the play of light, winds and the clouds.
Pangong Tso is a Tibetan name which means “long, narrow, enchanted lake”. The lake is located in the disputed region of Sino-Indian border and is situated at a height of about 14,270 ft.; running 134 km long extending from Ladakh India to Tibet China. 40% of this lake comes under India while the remaining 60% comes under the purview of China.
Best time to Visit: May- September
How to reach: Accessible only by road that passes through Chang La, one of the highest passes of Ladakh and the third highest motorable road in the world.
Note- Foreigners need an inner line permit to visit this Himalayan lake.
As we moved further up from Tangste towards Pangong; we crossed some unending barren lands, boulder struck rocky roads crossing melting glaciers tuning down into fresh water streams.
Finally the breathtaking bright blue surface of Pangong Tso lake started unveiling itself slowly just below the horizon. We finally made it to the Spangmik- the place where the lake is located. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was like living a dream. I was completely awestruck, in love at first sight with ‘Pangong Tso’.
The sight was a visual feast, breathtakingly unbelievable as we approached the lake across beautiful, enchanting, picturesque mountains topped by snow, stark landscapes and barren terrains opening up to the spectacular Pangong Lake spellcasting an intoxicated quest in us to stay here forever in this heavenly paradisiacal beauty in absolute peace.
We were mesmerized by the changing colors of the lake from greenish tinge to blue and to golden shades as the angle of sun rays changed over the crystal clear waters of Pangong Tso.
We just sat by the Pangong Lake soaking in the sight, enchanted by its stunning beauty, sinking in our excitement and thrill we got overloaded with.
We lodged in a swiss camp near the lake, bookings for which were done a month in advance. There are limited accommodations near the lake in camps and homestays. Besides there are few restaurants, well maintained public facilities and souvenir shops maintained by Indian Army.
We woke upto a mesmerizing sunrise by the lake, with a splash of purple and pink across the sky. It was one blissful experience to promenade on the banks watching the waves of crystal clear water of Pangong with amazing interplay of light and clouds painting a spellbinding canvas on the sky.
After spending a couple of hours in the morning on the lake, we ambled around the lake for few more kilometers in the direction of Sino-Indian border.
It was time to leave back for Leh. The experience was one of the best and unforgettable. It took me a few seconds to come out of the trance of the moment but then I have it all inside me with a promise to be back again.
Check out photo album Incredible India- Ladakh Diaries: Pangong Tso