After Nubra Valley, my next destination was Pangong Lake.
Out of all the tourist attaction in Leh, Ladakh, Pangong Tso is a must see place, especially after the Hindi movie – Three Idiots.
It was a dream to travel to Pangong Tso by bike and it was time to make it come true. We three – Sujeet, Deepak and me hired bikes and set out to Pangong.
Literally “long, narrow, enchanted lake” in Tibetan, Pangong Tso is a lake in the Himalayas bordering India and Tibet. Fourty percent of the lake lies in India. Its 134 kilometers in length and covers an area of 604 km2
Our first stop was this village called Karu. We had hot tea and paratha and set out.
We could see the majectic Chemrey Gompa on the way.
We had a brief stop at Sakti shooting the interesting village kids before continuing. The whole environment was so photogenic that I was tempted to stop every moment. Having a bike was very advantageous in this regard.
We passed by these ruined forts on the way.
We could see a lot of green pastures and traditional Ladakhi houses.
There are numerous small and unknown monasteries all around Ladakh. Most of us visit the famous ones.
These chortems are ubiquitous all around the landscape in Ladakh,
We got an amazing view of the green fields below as we ascended.
When we reached the other side of a mountain, we realised the Z road we passed by.
Soon, we reached Changla. It is one of the highest passes in Ladakh. There is a very helpful India Army camp and a dispensary providing first aid to travellers. We had a good chat with them.
It was quite cold here and having tea was a blessing. Because of the thin air, it is recommended not to stay for long at this place. You can’t help appreciating our brave jawaans who stay here for months providing service to the nation.
The Changla baba temple is decorated by thousands of buddhist flags.
The flags are of vibrant colours and have prayers written on them. As the wind blows, it spreads its piousness in the air.
We kept going and paused occasionally for taking pictures.
We passed by this beautiful Taktse monastery tucked in the hills. Built in 1616, this monastery belongs to the Drikung Kagud School in Ladakh.
We were hungry. There are several temporary tents along the way which provide with food and basic accomodation. This member of the team was waiting to welcome customers.
The tent from inside.
We saw a lot of these wild horses with their babies. They just roam around in the open land.
Then came the most interesting part. We made friends with these cute animals called Marmots. They are basically large squirrels of genus Marmota. They are shy but friendly with humans. We spent some time watching them and left for the best part.
We continued our journey.
Finally, we reached the lake. It was like living a dream. The water was so blue that for a moment I could not believe what I saw. How can a place be so beautiful; is this true?
The water was crystal clear.
There are some tents where you can have lunch at this point. Most people who come to Pangong for a day trip stay here for a while and then leave.
We had planned to move much ahead and stay in the last accessible village – Spangmik.
The roads looked like leading us to nowhere. In fact, sometimes, we were wondering if we were going the right way. But since that was the only way, there was little doubt.
Soon, we reached the village. It was such a relief to see it after crossing those unending barren lands.
I was surprised to see thick vegetation of wheat on these highlands. We got a place to stay in the village.
The magical lake changed its colour every moment. I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw.
A young member of the family where we spent the night.
The sun was about to set. We had a quick tea and then headed to lake to capture the beautiful evening.
And then some star pictures at night.
Morning was heavenly as well. The villagers start their work early morning.
After spending a couple of hours in the morning and having a sumptuous breakfast, it was time to leave, but with a promise to come back again. Hope to keep the promise very soon.
Thank you for reading this article. You might like to read my previous posts.
Read about my experience at Nubra Valley
This photo-blog is compiled by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a professional wedding and travel photographer and a photography trainer. He strives to ‘make every camera-owner a great photographer’ through his Photo tours and Photography workshops.