The stunning lakes of Ladakh

26th Jul 2014
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 1/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Beautiful Tso Moriri
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 2/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Ripples in the otherwise still Tso Moriri
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 3/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Beautiful landscape of Tsokar
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 4/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 5/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 6/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Pangong Tso
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 7/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 8/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
The marvellous Tso Moriri
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 9/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Photo of The stunning lakes of Ladakh 10/10 by Anushree Maheshwari
Hidden in the crest of these lofty mountains are some breathtakingly beautiful lakes - like stunning mirrors of outstanding natural beauty, these lakes reflect the splendour of the picturesque landscape in their waters. The circuit we travelled across covered three of these stunningly marvelous “piece of arts” - Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri and Tsokar ('Tso' in Ladakhi means 'lake').

Pangong lake is the more famous and commercialized one – the one most frequented by tourists. A larger part of this lake lies in the Tibetan province. The first view of this sapphire blue lake left us spellbound, it was magical. It was like a kaleidoscope – different shades of blue playing with the sun rays amidst the snow-covered rocky mountains.

Once at Pangong, we headed straight for the camp where we had pre-booked six tents for ourselves. I shall not be exaggerating if I refer to these as “luxury” tents – carpeted floor, cozy comfortable double bed with blankets, two single sofas, attached bathroom with hot water facility – located barely 100 meters away from the lake offering spectacular views; what else could I ask for in this supposedly remote place? The delicious food offered at the camp was icing on the cake.

We settled down in our respective tents, rested for a while and then walked towards the lake. The cool breeze blowing rejuvenated our senses and helped us get rid of the tiredness from the long journey. The newly acquired kid-like energy and curiosity pushed us to step into the lake – the water was ice-cold – no sooner had we stepped in, we ran crying out loud as the chilled water numbed our senses.

Next, we visited Tso Moriri; it was a “masterpiece” to say the least – seemed as if the nature had come alive. Looked like it had been craftily designed by “God” himself and been designated the duty of being a mirror to the rustic mountains that stood in the background; the majestic mountains in turn optimally utilizing the gift bestowed upon it so as to look eternally “perfect” – the right amount of snow covering its head and perfectly shaped clouds hovering over it – just the right combination, always.

We reached Tso Moriri around noon; did not have much time to spend here as we had to reach Tsokar the same evening. Unlike Pangong, there weren’t any camps close to the shore of the lake. The sun was shining bright with a gentle breeze blowing in the area - a combination that rendered the weather just “perfect”! As we went close to the lake, the splendid view left us all dumbstruck. The water was crystal clear – the small and large pebbles forming the bed of the lake were clearly visible, so were the tiny fish floating in the water. We sat on the banks of the lake gazing at the idyllic beauty; few of us throwing pebbles at it and watching as it responded back through multiple ripples on its otherwise pristine and still water.

Done with Tso Moriri, we next visited Tsokar. This lake is known more for the migratory birds, especially the black necked crane. We reached Tsokar towards the evening – as we caught the first glimpse of the lake, we realized that it was no different than the other lakes we had visited – in fact it felt that the other lakes might have been a tad bit better. We crossed the lake area and went towards the village to look for an accommodation for the night. As we made our way ahead, we were stuck by the surreal beauty of the landscape surrounding us – It was divine. It seemed like we had trespassed into a painter’s canvas – mighty mountains standing tall at some distance, a spread of pastures surrounding the dried up salt deposits from the lake, the clouds rising up right from the ground (yes, believe me!) and a double rainbow adorning the skyline. It looked as if the landscape changed colours every hour in sync with the painter’s imagination.

We took accommodation in one of the camps close to the village; not that we had much choice – the other homestay option that we had explored didn’t even have a properly enclosed bathroom! The tents in the camp were pretty comfortable; the food they offered was good. The only ‘drawback’ being that electricity availability was till 10 pm only; who knew it was rather a boon in disguise! After settling down in our respective tents, we set out for a walk in the sprawling pastures. We sat there for some time, engulfed in the immense beauty of the landscape, chatting with each other. As it started getting dark, we made our way to the camp – had our dinner and then went inside our tents. We decided to assemble ourselves in one of the tents; we chatted, sang songs and danced - before we knew, it was 10 and the electricity went off. It was pitch dark – we did try to use our cell phones but that did not help much. We stepped out of our tents, and there we stood dazed – gazing into a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. And then it was time for the magic to start – innumerable streaks of glistening lights shooting past the sky. It was like the stars had come alive to entertain us. It was spectacular. We simply sat there, looking up at the sky, hoping that it was not a dream and if it were, hoping it was never broken.The next morning, we had our breakfast post which we left for Leh. Tsokar was more about the landscape than about the lake. Unfortunately, except for a couple of us, none were able to catch a glimpse of the famous black necked crane while at Tsokar. Well, no regrets. The starry night experience that we had shall remain with us for eternity.