While ‘India’s Own Moonland,’ Ladakh is famous for so many breathtaking marvels, Pangong Lake is one of them. Pangong Lake altitude is 4,350 m above the sea-level and it is the world’s highest saltwater lake. Endowed with sparkling blue waters, this lake is 12 kilometers long which is extending from India to Tibet. But in spite of its saline content, it freezes during winters when its temperature ranges from -5 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius. One of the most fascinating qualities of this lake is that it changes colors from azure to light blue to green and sometimes, even grey
Location and Etymology
Nestled between India and China, the Pangong Tso extends to almost 160 km. So, one-third of the endorheic lake lies in India and the other two-thirds is in China. Situated in Leh Ladakh, this natural wonder derives its name from the Tibetan word “Pangong Tso,” meaning “high grassland lake,” Thus no trip to Ladakh is complete without having visited this soothing blue lake which stands in stark contrast to the mountains surrounding it. In short, one can never have enough of Pangong Lake Ladakh. In winter, the landscape of the lake turns into a snowy and shimmering extravaganza. It freezes to an absolute turquoise with fogginess all around.
The Beauty of Pangong Lake
Known for its sublime beauty, Pangong Lake is extremely famous as “hot-spot” for many film shoots. Again, tourists from all over can visit this natural attraction and be mesmerized with its breath-taking charm. One can sit here in contemplation for hours, enjoying the crystal waters and gentle hill view. Thus, its serenity and tranquil environ are the things that make it a tourist’s paradise.
Things to Do near Pangong Lake
Besides, absorbing an enthralling experience and filling your senses with exuberance upon witnessing the sublime beauty of this marvel, there are several activities which you can do that will keep you excited while you are there. Camping is one of the most sought after activities. Pangong Lake summer camp is one of the best places to stay here. You can place a bonfire or get going with a barbecue to enhance the enthralling experience. The ideal place for this is 32 kilometers away from the lake at a place called Tangste. You can also make Leh your base from where it is easy to take a day trip to the lake.
Again, you can indulge in some bird-watching as a lot of migratory birds flock to this place. You can also visit the nearby Lake Tso Moriri.
Even before you have arrived at Pangong Lake, you can still enjoy on the way by stopping about 10 km before Pangong and seeing the rare endemic species ‘Marmots’ which are large mountain squirrels.
Permit and Permission
Since the lake has certain areas close to the border with the neighboring countries, Indians will need to obtain an inner line permit to visit this place. For foreign nationals traveling from Leh to Pangong, a protected area permit is required which is a kind of group permit and requires at least 3 people in the group, accompanied by an accredited guide. It can be secured from the tourist office at Leh.
How to Reach Pangong
Pangong Lake is situated at 165 km from Let and the nearest airport from the Pangong Lake is the Leh airport which is well connected with the major cities of the country like Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu, and Srinagar. One can hire a taxi from Leh to the lake. The government bus also runs for the Pangong during the summer season while the taxi is a convenient option.
By Road: It is a 5-hours drive from Leh through Chang La Pass and Tangste.
Regular buses, jeeps, motorbikes, and taxis are also available.
By Air: The nearest airport is Leh, 150 km from Pangong Lake. From there, you can hire any mode of road transport to reach the lake.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Kalka. You can reach Manali by hiring a bus or taxi. Again from Manali, you can reach Leh via regular taxis or buses. Jammu is also the nearest major railway station from where one can hire a taxi or catch a bus till Srinagar and from here another bus for Leh.
Best Time to Visit
You can visit Pangong all the days of the week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is advisable to visit this lake in summers, especially from June to September as it would be frozen in winter. During the summer season, the road to the lake is in good condition while during the winter season the region is covered with snow and road become block due to the heavy snowfall. The lake becomes inaccessible during the winter season.
Places to visit near Pangong Lake
Ladakh region is thrived by a large number of tourists and is sprawling with a huge number of tourist attractions. People can visit Tso Moriri, Tso Kar Lake, Nubra Valley, Shayok Valley, Zanskar Valley, and many more places during their visit. They just need ample time to explore this region.
Leh Ladakh Useful Tourism Information Links: