If you are in Ladakh then this place should not be missed. Remember the breathtakingly beautiful lake from 3 Idiots Lake where Kareena Kapoor confessed her love? It’s Pangong Lake in Leh Ladakh. It is one of the most popular tourist attraction which offers a beautiful site for camping.
Pangong Tso derived from Tibetan language which means “high grassland lake”, also referred to as Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies within the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km sq.. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. It is not a part of the Indus river basin area and geographically separate landlocked river basin.
Formerly, Pangong Tso had an outlet to the Shyok River, a tributary of Indus River, but it was closed off for the natural damming purpose. Two streams feed the lake from the Indian side, forming marshes and wetlands at the edges. Lines above the current lake level reveal a 16 ft thick layer of mud and laminated sand, suggesting the theory that the lake has shrunken recently in geological scale.
Best time to visit:- April-Mid to September-Mid is the best time to travel to Pangong Lake.
Since the fascinating Pangong lake lies on the Sino-Indian Controlling Line, it must be placed in an internal line. Individual permits can easily be obtained by the Indian nationals, whereas other foreign citizens need to obtain an approved group license with at least 3 persons in the group. At the tourist office in Leh, the permit is available at a minimal charge.
In summer, from Mid April to Mid – September, it is easier to go to Pangong Tso, because winter wouldn’t be as pleasant because of the harsh weather and the great altitude, and the lake would also be frozen. Unique migratory species and other flora fauna will be seen throughout the season.
Pangong Tso embraces marine life because of the salty water, other than certain ocean bugs known to oceanographers as crustaceans. In the summer Pangong lake has many migration birds and many ducks and gulls can be seen “surfing.” Aside from being a sanctuary for these birds, this beautiful seaside is an important breeder for birds such as ducks and seagulls. Some are fortunate to find a kiang, a marmot who is a brownish rodent from Ladakh who can grow to the size of a little cat.
So generally there are many ways to reach Pangong lake but two are most popular and convenient ways to reach Pangong lake via Leh city in Ladakh.
Route 1:- The Leh road to Pangong Tso is generally preferred for most people. This path takes you about 6 hours, and this depends entirely on the amount of pauses you decide. That is the direction you are going:
Leh to Karu → Karu to Sakti → Karu To Chang La → Chnag La to Durbuk → Durbuk to Tagnste → Tagnste to Lukung → Lukung to Spangmik → Spangmik to Pangong Lake.
You can now experience the many attractions on the road when taking this ride. Monasteries of Hemis and Shey are some of the places to visit. The path also has one of the best roads and is also the fastest as well. Two days to Pangong Tso to rest at Leh before going out to the lake would be suggested. That’s going to help you in heightening up your body.
Route 2:- The Nubra valley to Pangong Tso Lake is another route most Popular tourists favor. You can cross Nubra Valley and then travel to Wari Lake and Pangong Tso Lake. Nubra Valley is the perfect place to rest for better air conditioning. The Wari La Pass is one of Ladakh’s most remote passes, and it takes approximately 11 hours for you to get there.
Again It depends on the number of breaks. This also means that the route is longer than the Leh route, and also a rough route. Get off from the Nubra valley early if you want to see the much-discussed Pangong lake sunset.
There are very few choices to eat out at Pangong Lake However, few restaurants and stalls on the lake are there that sell famous local items, Maggi and tea. But you might want to bring your own food. Whilst there is limited food options at Pangong Lake, popular and local preparations like the Thukpa, a noodle soup, Tsampa in Ladakhi known as Ngamphe, and the Skyu that is a heavy pasta dish with plenty of vegetables and the popular and delicious Momos that is steamed and packed with vegetables or meat may also be found here.
Some residents sell home-made food often better than in hotels, since it is nutritious and delicious. There are some foodstuffs around the shore, but these foodstuffs are relatively costly. Many guests eat at Spangmik from their homes or from tents in which they camp. This is the only food supply you have unless you intend to transport more supplies.
In winters from October to March, it is not easier to go to Pangong Tso, because winter wouldn’t be as pleasant because of the harsh weather and the great altitude, and the lake would also be frozen.
Further routes will not be accessible and majority of the stay options won’t be available except few home stays and few camps. So it’s generally not advisable to travel in winters to Pangong.