Biker gangs whiz past the stark and barren valleys on the road and the steep mountain roads in Ladakh have some very interesting road signs put up by BRO(Border Roads Organization) which can keep you amused on the road.There are entire books dedicated to these “Road Signs” in Ladakh and elsewhere,where travelers have tried to compile all of them at one place.And suddenly among the rock faces you notice a tinge of blue water,the first view of the world famous Pangong Tso.(Tso-means lake in Tibetan)
As we arrived at the lake around mid-day,a huge storm of a cloud followed us down into the lake and lashed cold rains in the valley.Once the weather cleared again and sun shone through the clouds the lake of Pangong stood like a beauty.The crystall blue waters of the lake changes it’s colours as per sun’s angle on it and that’s spellbinding to watch.An oasis of blue stands tranquil in the valley surrounded by massive peaks of brown and white.The Pangong Tso is around 110 kms long and only a stretch of 40 kms lies inside Indian territory.The rest two thirds lie in Chinese territory of Tibet. Thesnow on the peaks surrounding the lake melts in months of summer and the water pours down into the lake and though the water is salty,the lake freezes completely in winter months.
Even to the avid traveler and the much-experienced eyes,Pangong Tso will come as a pleasant surprise because lakes as these in the high mountains are a rarity anywhere in the world.And Pangong can claim to be one of the highest lakes in the world at 4500meters.The water is biting cold and only the military are allowed to cruise the lake on boats for patrolling. There have been many instances of Chinese incursions through the Pangong lake route recently.The drive along the lake’s boundary is spectacular and you arrive at a lowland where the land enters the lake in a bend.This is possible only some parts of the year as melted snow rises the water level and the route inside the lake is submerged again.In June it was luckily possible to walk within the lake through the narrow route of land available.Sitting in a small shed by the lake,we looked at the massive white peaks behind us and the pure blue lake in front,and introspected as to how blessed we were for that moment.Nothing else mattered right there,nothing else existed for us.
The charming spell of the lake was broken when hunger pangs attacked.In search of a place to eat,we landed up at the few shops lining the lake and not surprisingly,saw the restaurant named “3-idiots”.When Amir Khan shot the climax of the 2009 movie on the shores of Pangong lake,he changed the demographics forever as swarms of Indians yearned to be at this place.The lake was known to travelers and foreign tourists but very few Indians knew of this place.It’s magical what a movie can do for a place inIndia.So after eating maggi at 3-idiots and having tea at Rancho’s we sat by the lake to watch some more changing hues of blue.
At mid day as the rays of the sun penetrated the waters of the lake perpendicularly,the dark shade of blue stood in stark contrast to the purple and brown of the surrounding mountain scape.The beautiful ranges of brown peaks stretched all the way to Tibet and snow sat prettily on those summits.Sea Gulls floated around in groups on the lake….and our only attempt to enter the waters of the lake was thwarted by the numbing low temperature of the high altitude lake.The clear blue waters of the lake makes beautiful ripples and waves on the smooth stone pebbles on the shore.A vision for eternity.In Tibetan the name Pangong means the narrow and beautiful lake.
This trip was first published on https://thelosthermit.wordpress.com/.