vivid memories of Pangong Tso visit during my Ladakh trip, (first ever travel photography trip) haunting me for sometime and pushing me to travel to this place again and finally made up my mind to Travel with my dear friend Cap. Priya Eidnani in June next year for Glaciers and Starry Nights at Zanskar!
Unlike my ventures out in the wild, a tiger safari or out in the rainforest or a birding trip the experience here in Ladakh and Pangong Tso are totally different and for past 3 years it has been fresh in my mind! Also I am already making plans to visit more places in Leh-Ladakh and Lahaul-spiti region. My plan for bike ride to Khardungla and Chang La is still pending (uff.. my bucket list is overflowing!! :p )
Chang La pass is en route to Pangong Tso and also Chang La is famous for second highest motorable pass in the world after Khardungla. Chang La is located at el. 5,360 m or 17590 ft. I remember seeing post from Khardungla Pass, where it is written saying "Staying here for more than ~20 mins would cause harm to your health", but don't miss the amazing Thuppa you served at the pit stop near the pass.
After reaching Chang la pass was overwhelmed to see frozen snowy mountains and amazing hot Thuppa was soothing. Since we were in a group and two vehicles and lotsa crowd at the pit stop to get your Thuppa served we got delayed despite our vehicle drivers and our tour leader Shreeram MV warning us to leave early!
While passing the Chang la amazing routes through the mountain and see lotsa bulletiers taking up the rides and in a disciplanary manner. The curves there are very risky and any minor mistake would end up you in reaching to the bottom of the mountain and would be fatal. The roads are laid by Border Security (BRO) and my admiration towards the security just got better after seeing witty BRO codes through the passes! (A separate post on bro codes later. Keep watching this space! :D )
To reach Pangong Tso, we have to pass the 'Pagal Nala', which was flowing across our route and it is scary to pass as drivers explained vehicles get washed out with the flow and hence it gets the name. The interesting fact is, the flow increases by afternoon towards the evening due to the snow melting and hence the reason our drivers and tour leader was pushing us to leave early to reach Pangong. I remember my friend Roshni Sharma, who has done Kanyakumari to Kashmir and sharing her experiences when she reached the Pagal Nala and how scary it was to pass in the evening with her vehicle!
After successfully pasted the Pagal Nala, here comes the heaven on earth! Pangong Tso. The first view of Pangong Tso.
Many movies already showed the beauty of this place, right from Maniratnam's Dil Se to 3 Idiots but experiencing the place and reaching there is totally an experience worth doing it! Here I have one more thing to share with you guys, my next visit to Pangong Tso will be with my dear Cap. Ravi who served in border and at Siachen, a Ped. Cardiologist promised me that he will take me to the insider places by arranging the permits from the Border security. I'm seriously looking forward! Cap, are you listening?!
'Pangong Tso' for "high grassland lake" is a closed drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water. Lake situated at a height of about 4,350m or 14,270ft and 40% of the lake is in India and rest is in China.
When we reached in the evening we could see lots of camping places and so many vehicles and no wonder this place is so popular. Thanks to the popular movies! After doing small recce about the place to come back in the morning to shoot, retired for the day! Heavy winds in the night scared us as if they gonna remove our tents while asleep!
In the morning we went near the lake and here I have tried to show different perspective of Pangong Lake and few of my attempts here!
Infinity. To show the infinite or vastness of Pangong Tso
Confluence. Lake, Mountains, Sky and Clouds, a confluence of elements
The lake is salt-vegetation and you'll not see of much life there except few avifauna like Lesser Sand Plover, sea gulls. And not missed any opportunity to click them!
And to my surprise, all the vehicles have left post-lunch and again in the evening the place gets crowded. Being high altitude place and not many people could stay longer in these places without proper acclimitasation. As per our itinerary we have decided to stay for two nights and had more opportunity to photograph the beauty of this place! It was quite amazing the time two days we spent there and had ample of time clicking the scenic places.
And here is one of my favourite image I have clicked during the sunset at Pangong and to bid adieu to one of my favorite places!
All good things come to an end, they say. Our Ladakh trip ended after a week of traveling to beautiful places. But a new journey began - with great friends made on the tour!
I will see you guys next time with one more beautiful places in my voyage with #edenatlas