Tso Pangong

An enchanting lake located along the border India shares with Tibet (China). Of its 130 km length only about one third is in India. The Tibetans had named it Bangong Cuo – the High grassland Lake. It is enchanting indeed. This blue brackish water lake with the usual colourful mountains around it is very picturesque. There is no aquatic life except for some crustaceans and only a few seagulls could be seen at Pangong. I could not spot any black-necked cranes by the lake side during any of my two visits to the lake. I have been upto Man village (further 5 Km from Spangmik) without spotting a crane or any bird other than the few seagulls. Boating is not allowed.

Warm clothes are required for the night as strong cold wind keeps blowing all night. For photography enthusiasts the lake presents not only an alluring atmosphere in the day but also a pristine pollution free environment during the night for observing and shooting the sky and the celestial bodies. A tripod is required.

33.75 N, 78.67 E.
Situated at an altitude of 4350 m / 14270 ft this lake is 150 Km from Leh. This distance takes about 6 to 7 hours to cover and the route is through Chang La (the second highest motorable pass at 5390 m / 17688 feet).

Whole of the Changthang is a protected area and the lake is located in this area. People of the J&K state don’t need any permission to visit the area but they ought to carry a government issued identity card all the time. People from outside the state need a permission from the DM Leh. Foreigners too need a PAP. Starting from Leh your PAP is required to be submitted at 2 places – Kharu and Tangste on the way to the lake.

The best place to stay for the night is Spangmik village. There are a few hotels, home stays and considerable number of tents around the lake. Tourists need not worry about booking in advance. Better look for the accommodation when you are in the area. There is enough to accommodate all the adventurers who decide to stay over for the night. The Expedias, MMTs, Agodas of travel business will rip you off.

The Himalayan Marmot is very friendly.