Pangong Lake, Ladakh

by - September 07, 2020


Pangong Lake, Ladakh's most popular tourist attraction, is a marvelous lake located at nearly 4340 mtrs. Also known as Pangong Tso, a clean water lake, is about 135 km long and 8 km wide from east to the west stretches from India to Tibet (controlled by China). In the Tibetan Region, nearly 60-65 percent of Pangong Lake resides. A special aspect of the lake is that it doesn't stay blue all year round or even the day, but it also switches colours from azure to light blue to green and light brown also.

It is one of the country's most significant tourist attractions. This lake's beauty and mystique have attracted people from all over the country, and beyond. The lake is said to be in the process of being identified as an internationally significant wetland. The one factor making this lake so popular is the fact that it continues to change colours. It is located about 140 km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir in the Himalayan range. The Pangong Lake name means a narrow, enchanting lake. And now you know that the lake has rightly got its name. One-third of the lake is in our country and the other two-thirds are in Tibet and are under China's control.

Present Situation

Though attention has been concentrated on the Galwan Valley following the conflict on June 15, Pangong Tso has seen another unthinkable face-off unfold. Chinese PLA has modified the rules of the agreement by constructing tents and other buildings on Indian territory between Finger 4 and Finger 8.

The Fingers [mountain spurs] are numbered from west to east, one to eight. So, there's an 8 km gap where the whole thing has been going on. Indian post is between Fingers 2 and 3, which are well connected from the depth areas by a lane. There is a road within 1 km of Finger 4 but it ends there. It's just a foot-track after that.

The Chinese are located at Sirijap, 8 km east of Finger 8. In 1999 they designed a highway up to Finger 4. No vehicle can take Finger 4 through. Indian Forces have to go on foot when patrolling up to Finger 8. The Chinese have the advantage of vehicles as they can get up to Finger 4 (which is now under the Indian military).

They were sensitive to the presence of Indian Forces in this area because they felt the road was being constructed, and they dominated up to Finger 4. They don't want Indians to come up regularly to Finger 8, so they interrupt often. According to the agreements, you cannot undo them when interrupted. India is reciprocating and preventing them until they hit Finger 4. It was a one-man show for several years and they ruled. India has started expanding its infrastructure in the past 7 or 8 years so their presence has increased. What used to occur [encounters] one or two times in a month, is now almost on a regular basis.

How to Reach

First Delhi to Manali (Day-1) & rest for 2nd day, Manali to Jispa (138 km, 7 hours journey) [Day-3], Jispa to Leh (the drive for 330 km, 9 hours) [Day-4]. Typically most people choose to take the route from Leh to Pangong Tso. This path will take you about 5/6 hours and this depends entirely on how many breaks you want to take on your journey. This is the path you'll be following –

          Leh Karu  Sakti Chang La Durbuk Tagnste Lukung Spangmik Pangong Lake.

Just take a five-six hour drive from Leh to reach to Pangong Lake. The best part of this travel is the road leading to the lake. You must travel through Ladakh which is another beautiful nation tourist destination and drive over the world's 3rd highest motorized mountain pass called the Chang La. The first glimpse of this attractive lake and its blue waters is enough to give everyone's mind a lasting impression. The narrow stretch of land which goes straight into the lake is what tourists and travelers love the most here. Even this spot is a favourite among many photographers.

The road travel from Leh to Pangong is in itself exciting. Since the drive is tiring (though breathtaking), it is advisable to avoid making the trip back the same day.

Pangong Lake in Winter 

Winter transforms the Pangong landscape into a snowy and shimmering bonanza. The mountains show a dizzying contrast with sand dominating on one side and snow on the other. Pangong Tso is freezing to an absolute burnt orange and you can even walk this frozen beauty all around. The sun does not make much of an impression and the landscape is veiled in fog.  The temperature here however reaches a minimum of -20°C, so be sure to pack loads of woolen clothes & warm jackets for this glacier lake.

Weather & Best Time to Visit of Pangong Lake

                         In summer, it is better to visit Pangong Tso, specifically from June to September, as in winter, due to its harsh weather and high altitude, the holidays would not be as pleasant and the lake would also be frozen. A summer visit will open an avenue where numerous migratory birds and other flora fauna can be seen.

A host of blockbusters were filmed here, including fantastic works like Dil Se, 3 Idiots, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Sanam Re, Waqt, and Tashan and many more.

Foods available at Pangong Lake 

The lake has a few restaurants and stalls selling famous local foods, Magi, and tea. But for a trip to the lake one would want to bring their own food. While there are limited food choices at Pangong Lake, you may find common and local recipes such as Thukpa, a noodle soup, a heavy pasta dish with plenty of vegetables, as well as the very common and tasty Momos, which are steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables or meat.

Where to Stay

There so many options of luxurious Swiss tents located right at the banks of the beautiful Pangong Tso, wooden cottage, luxury resort, hotels at Spangmik village also. 

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