Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary 1/undefined by Tripoto

Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

Soumya Jena
We trekked down to a lake which was half frozen and with the mist hanging over it,the place looked straight out of someone’s dream.The harsh winter in Changthang valley was gradually giving way to mildness of the spring.White ice giving way to pastures of green and yellow and hints of wildlife like the Marmots peeping from behind large rocks,the landscape is awe inspiring and magical in the early morning climate.Much of the Changthang plateau lies in Tibet and a very substantive area extends to eastern Ladakh.The Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary is demarcated by the two famous lakes in the area-the Tso Moriri and the Pangong Tso.Though stunningly beautiful to look at,the meadows and valleys of Changthang are very inhospitable due to the harsh climatic conditions.The highlands of the plateau are inhabited by a nomadic tribe called Changpa who are Tibetan in origin.Around small hamlets in the valley,the Changpa people can be seen taking their livestock topastures.The sanctuary is home to many indigenous Himalayan wildlife as the black necked crane,ruddy shelducks,many rare species of gulls and animals as the marmot,the Tibetan gazelle,the blue sheep and the kyang(Tibetan wild ass).A bright sunlight can give way to a sudden hailstorm of rain and snow within minutes here.Sudden change in climate forced us to abandon our romantic hallucinations in the valley and move on.Changthang is a harsh but soothing place,may be we are saying this from a traveler’s point of view without facing the fury of nature as the natives have done over theyears.In a manner of saying,we admire the strong and hardy nomadic tribes who live in these lands and have done so over generations.The valleys in places like Kashmir or Manali are easy on the eye to behold,but these parts of Ladakh have a very rugged beauty to them and it stays with you for a log time.May be because these places are rare and difficult to travel to,may be because the place just overwhelms you while you stand there.