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. Read More.
Tso Moriri Lake is the largest high altitude lake in India, situated at 4,595m. Located between Ladakh and Tibet in the Changtang region, it is a twin to the Pangong Lake. This lake offers a scenic place of peace and tranquillity flanked by mountains, measuring about 28 km in length from north to south and 8 km wide. An inner line permit is required for visiting Tso Moriri.
The stunning Tso Moriri can be visited only during the summer months, starting from April when the lake starts to melt. May, June, July, and August are the peak tourist season. Tso Moriri remains inaccessible and entirely frozen from January to March.
Tso Moriri is a declared Ramsar site which means one cannot set up a tent or construct anything near the lake. It is also called the ‘mountain lake,’ owing to the peaks surrounding it, towering at the height of 2000 meters, shutting it off from the outside world. Several birds can be spotted at Tso Moriri, like the bare-headed goose, the great-crested grebe, the Brahmin duck, and the brown-headed gull. Himalayan hares are abundantly found here too. Read More.
3. Tso Kar Lake, Leh Ladakh
Tso Kar is a fluctuating salt lake located in the Rupshu Plateau of the scenic Ladakh Valley. It is popularly known as the White Lake owing to the white salt deposits it leaves on the shores. Tso Kar Lake is the most peaceful and calm of the three high-altitude lakes (Pangong Lake and Tso Moriri) and the smallest.
Tso Kar hosts varied flora and fauna, attracting a horde of bird watchers, especially during migration. The common birds found here are Brahmin ducks, bar-headed geese, and great crested grebe. The main attraction, however, is the black-necked crane. The black-necked cranes, known for their fidelity, come to Tso Kar to lay eggs. There are only a few yak sheds, a monastery, and a couple of nomadic families in the surrounding. The view of the lake at night in the moonlight is even more stunning.
Tso Kar lake Temperature & Best Time To Visit
The most comfortable time to go to Tso Kar is in June- July. Due to the high altitude, the temperature can go down to as low as -40 degrees Celcius during the winter months. During the summer months, the temperature at Tso Kar Lake rises to 30 degrees Celcius at times, with fluctuations during the day.
Where To Stay Near Tso Kar?
Tso Kar has the option of night camping although the number of tents isn’t significant. It would be better to make a booking in Leh to be safe. The tents are on the west end of the lake near the Manali-Leh road, about three km from the lake. Accommodation options are readily available at Leh. There are several hotels to suit almost every pocket or preference. Hence, it might be convenient to be based at Leh and take a day trip to the lakes.
Food At Tso Kar
Options for food at the lake are limited and basic and do not carry any significant food culture or specialty except popular and local preparation. One might find basic food at the tents set up here, but there aren’t any good eateries. It is best to carry your food for a trip to the lakes.
How To reach Tso Kar
Tso Kar is around 160 km from Leh. The most convenient mode of transport is to hire a taxi from Leh.
4. Yarab Tso Lake, Leh Ladakh
The holy Yarab Tso lake often referred to as “the hidden lake,” is the best-kept secret of Ladakh. Located near the Sumur Village, approximately 15 km from Diksit in the Leh Ladakh region, this gorgeous lake can only be reached by hiking uphill for 20 minutes.
Regarded as one of the holiest and high-altitude lakes in the Nubra Valley, Yarab Tso is highly revered among the region’s locals. It is advised not to wash your feet or try to swim in this enrapturing lake. Sit by the rocks, breathing in the unpolluted mountain air, relishing the sight of colorful prayer flags fluttering around the crystal clear aquamarine water, and experience the sense of calmness it brings.
How To Reach Yarab Tso
The Yarab Tso Lake can only be reached on foot, hiking for about 20 minutes from the Panamik Village near Sumur. To reach Panamik, hire a local taxi from either Leh or Ladakh.
For more information about Leh & Ladakh Tourism, visit https://leh.nic.in/tourism/
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