The Lakes of Ladakh

The Lakes of Ladakh

Ladakh is home to some very beautiful lakes. As peak winter temperatures hover near — 50 degrees for days at a time, everything in Ladakh freezes — the Indus and Zanskar become broad highways of ice, and the great lakes, Pangong and Tso Morari, freeze to a depth of several meters.

The sometimes emerald-green and sometimes midnight-blue pool of water, with shores covered in foliage that one could spend hours exploring, is girdled by soaring peaks as high as 6,500m. You have to cross the Chang La (Pass) at a height of 5,599m to get to the lake. Be prepared for a "not exactly smooth" journey as some stretches are rather backbreaking. You will cross the villages of Durbuk, and Tangste that has a small temple. You could stay at the campsite in Mugleb. Situated at a distance of about 150km from Leh, Spangmic is the last village you are allowed to touch according to the guidelines of the permit. You could try your hand at riding a yak at one of the villages and pretend to be a highland bloke.

Past the Thanglang La (Pass) and a soak in the hot springs of Chhumathang, you arrive at the salty Tso Kar or the "White Lake", so named perhaps because of the parched salt that cakes the shores of the lake. Tso Kar is at a distance of 155km from Leh. You can camp at the nearby Thukje village and also visit the monastery of Thukje. Further along the road are the hot springs at Puga. The road finally cuts through the Rupsu Valley to meet the 27km long and 8km wide Tso Moriri, or Mountain Lake that touches a hamlet with the same name. The lake looks up to an endless sea of mountains. The region is home to the nomadic tribe called Khampas who can be seen in the summer months with their large herds. The area also boasts of an impressive range of wildlife and is one of the better places where you could try and spot marmots, foxes and the Tibetan wild ass.



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