The most popular tourist attraction in Ladakh, Pangong Lake, is an endorheic (landlocked) lake situated 4350 meters. Also known as Pangong Tso, it is 12 kilometers long and extends from India to Tibet. Almost 60% of Pangong Lake lies in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. A unique feature is that it does not remain blue throughout the year or even the day. Instead, it changes colors from azure to light blue to green and grey too! It is as famous amongst tourists as Ladakh lake, where the Bollywood movie “3 Idiots” was shot.
Since the enthralling Pangong Lake falls on the Sino-Indian Actual Line of Control, an inner line permit is required to visit it. The Indian Nationals can quickly obtain individual permits while other foreign nationals need to get a group permit, with at least three persons in the group, accompanied by an accredited guide. The permit can be obtained at the tourist office in Leh for a small fee. Owing to its altitude, the Pangong Lake temperature ranges from -5°C to 10°C. As a result, it freezes entirely during winters despite its salinity.
Camping In Pangong Lake
Camping next to the lake is no more allowed. One can, however, be based at Leh, which has numerous options for accommodation, and take a day trip to the lake. The ideal place to live is 32 kilometers from Pangong Lake in a place called Tangste. Also, there are places to live in and around the vicinity of Lukung, which is close also located close by and has the provision of eco huts.
Flora & Fauna At Pangong Lake
Due to the briny water, Pangong Tso does not support aquatic life other than oceanographers’ ocean bugs called crustaceans. Pangong lake is home to many migrating birds in summer, and one can witness numerous ducks and gulls “surfing.” Besides being a haven for these birds, the stunning lake is also an important breeding ground for birds like Brahmani ducks and seagulls. Some are lucky to spot a Kiang, a wild ass, or a Marmot, a brownish rodent native to Ladakh that can grow up to the size of a small dog.
Pangong Lake In Winters
Winter turns the landscape of Pangong into a shimmering and snowy extravaganza. The mountains exhibit a kaleidoscopic contrast, with sand dominating one side while snow appears on the other. The sun doesn’t make much of an appearance, and fog envelopes the landscape. However, the temperature here gets to a minimum of -14°C, so be sure to pack loads and loads of woolens! Pangong Tso freezes to an absolute turquoise, and you can even walk all over this frozen beauty.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
It is best to visit Pangong Tso in the summers, precisely from June to September, as in winter, due to its extreme weather and high altitude, the vacation would not be as enjoyable, and the lake would be frozen. A visit in summer will open an avenue to witness different migratory birds and other flora fauna.
Food At Pangong Lake
While options for food at Pangong lake are limited, you may find popular and local preparations such as Thukpa which is a noodle soup, Tsampa, known in Ladakhi as Ngamphe (roasted barley flourished barley flour), and Skyu which is a heavy pasta dish with plenty of veggies as well as the very popular and delicious Momos which are steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables or meat. There are a few eateries and stalls at the lake selling popular local items, Maggi and tea. One might want to, however, carry their food for a trip to the lake.
How To Reach Pangong Lake
It is a breathtaking 5-hour drive from Leh, with the entire route to this destination being the epitome of scenic beauty. The Lake falls on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control, and you must get Inner Line permission. Also, because Pangong Lake is situated very close to the border, you will be allowed to visit only up to the Spangmik village.
From Leh, you need to pass through the Changla Pass and then through Tangste. Regular buses by the state road transport corporation are also available. In addition to this, you can hire taxis, motorbikes, jeeps, and cars at reasonable prices. Make sure you have enough fuel in your vehicle as there are no petrol pumps in Pangong.
The road journey from Leh to Pangong is thrilling in itself. Since the drive is tiring (though breathtaking), it is advised to avoid making the return journey the same day.
Pangong Lake & Its Bollywood Connect
The unadulterated natural beauty of Pangong Lake makes it a favorite destination among directors for shooting and filming. Several blockbusters have been shot here, which includes impressive works such as Dil Se, 3 Idiots, Heroes, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Sanam Re, Waqt, and Tashan, among many others. The Bollywood junkie in you will feel like a superstar here!
- It is advised to carry more and sufficient warm clothes to withstand the cold weather.
- It is an ecologically fragile place where littering is a serious offense. Kindly dispose of your waste wisely.
- For security reasons, boating at the lake is not permitted.
For more information about Leh & Ladakh Tourism, visit https://leh.nic.in/tourism/
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