A jumbo box of different shades of blue crayons won’t be enough to draw the shades of the Pangong Tso Lake. Much more than just a spectacular lake at a mindboggling 13,900 feet above mean sea level, Pangong Tso’s serene blue waters were made more famous with Bollywood’s ‘Three Idiots’ movie, leading to a fairly good draw of tourists around the year. Strategically located at the Line of Control between China and India, this salt-water lake attracts numerous migratory birds like Brahminy ducks and seagulls. A photographer’s paradise, camp by the lake to watch the water turn various shades of blue as the sun moves across the sky.
Here’s un[travel]’s 3 ways to make the most at Pangong Lake:
Pangong star camping
Stay Overnight at Camps
This lake of Ladakh deserves more of your time than just clicking a few pictures and scrambling back to Leh. Stay in one of the camps near the lakeside and witness the different shades of Pangong Tso. The night brings in the stars and you seem to almost reach them. The cosiness of the tent and the soft sound of the wind against its walls are sweet to the ears. Not to forget the beautiful sunrise over the mountains in the morning. There are no permanent hotels near the lake and homestays are not located near the shore, so camps near the Pangong Lake are your best bet.
Village Near Pangong Tso
Nomadic Village Visit
The plains and valleys of Ladakh(and Tibet) were once the land of nomads. Of course, with ever-changing times, nomads settled down in clusters that ultimately led to the small hamlets as we now see. There still remain, however, a precious few who have continued their nomadic lifestyle. Take a walk from the campsite of Pangong Lake towards the small nomadic village ahead. The small tent homes and herds of animals nearby give you glimpse into their lives. Spend some time interacting with people here to get to know more about their routine and seasonal travels across the valley in search of greener pastures and trade.
Hike to Merak Village
Here’s the bigger picture. If you really want a clear view of the enormity and beauty that is Pangong Tso, you do need to get out and walk along its shores from Man village to Merak. As the day progresses, the ever-changing lake turns a deep shade of blue. Stonewalls and solitary green specks of trees make an appearance every now and then as you move closer to Merak village. This tiny hamlet, with just a couple of homes, offers superb views of this famous Ladakh lake and green trees against grey-brown mountains with whitewashed houses.
Book trips for the rest of India here.