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Location: Jammu and Kashmir, India
Area: approx. 700 km2 (270 sq mi)
Nearest Railhead: Jammu Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport
How to reach: five-hour drive from Leh
Famous for: Lake
Best time to visit: May to September
About a 5 hour drive from Leh lays the blue waters of the absolutely mesmerizing Pangong Tso Lake. Ladakh is blessed with many natural delights and Pangong Tso definitely makes it amongst the top of that list. The stark bare Trans Himalayan Mountains look upon graciously at the perfect blue waters of this saline lake whose beauty is hard to describe in words, lest explained in sentences. Pangong Tso is in many ways a meditation of sorts because very few places on earth can invoke a sense of grandeur yethumble and strike a chord with our deepest self.
What's Here: Lake
Pangong Tso Lake is an endorheic lake, meaning the basin retains the water and does not allow outflow to any other river or water body. The Pangong Tso Lake is a marvelous study for geographers and geologists because it holds true the theory that the Himalayas rose from the bed of the erstwhile Tethys Sea during tectonic activity. The sediments that are now the Fold Mountains of the Himalayas however retained pockets of the salty Tethys Sea, one such being the Pangong Tso Lake. About two thirds of the lake lies in China with only one third of it India.
How to reach
Pangong Tso can be reached from both Leh and the Nubra Valley. From Leh (160km) the road crosses the Chang La Pass to reach Pangong Tso. After crossing Chang La Pass the town of Tangtse from where the first views of the lake can be seen. From the Nubra Valley, two routes lead to Pangong Tso. One crosses the Wari La Pass at 17000ft and the other goes along the Shyok River. Leh has its own airport and can be accessed from many cities. By road Leh is well connected to many northern cities, such as, Manali and Chandigarh. For foreign nationals an Inner Line Permit is required to visit Pangong Tso.
Things to do
One can just stare at the Pangong Tso for hours and that would be pretty much the best thing to do. However, the lake with its perfect beauty is also home to many migratory birds that make their way here, such as, the bar headed goose, brahmini ducks, as well as, seagulls and cranes. The lake changes colors and in spite of being saline freezes during the winters. One can camp on the lake side or stay in the nearby villages if camping seems too adventurous. Watching the sun rise or the stars at night over the splendidness of the lake and the openness of the sky are worth lifetime memories. The marmots an endemic species of squirrels are found en route to Pangong Tso from Leh as well as the roads leading to the lake also offer some fantastic views of the mountains and topography. The Tangste Gompa is a petite architectural delight in the town of Tangste en route the lake. Similarly one can also stopover the Chang La Pass and enjoy the surrounding views while enjoying some tea. Both Leh and the Nubra Valley can be reached from Pangong Tso and a trip to this beautiful lake can be planned from either of these destinations. Visit Pangong Tso for its alluring and inviting beauty. We guarantee that it will be hard to take your eyes off it.
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