Few, if any, have come back untouched by the mesmerizing appeal of Pangong Lake. The stark beauty and serenity of the lake has been known to touch a tender chord in even the most hardened traveler. After getting used to the parched landscape of Ladakh, Pangong comes as a breathtaking relief. Often, the haunting play of light and shadow on the hills around the lake greets visitors. And when the clouds clear, sun rays play magic with the crystal clear water imparting colors from aqua to shades of orange. The effect is surreal.
At an altitude of around 14300 feet, Pangong is tucked between the low, rolling ranges of the Changtang plateau in eastern Ladakh. The 134 kilometers (null miles) long lake spans across India and China, with the bigger chunk being in China.
A 5 hour (null-odd kilometers) drive from Leh to Pangong takes travelers past the summer residence of the Dalai Lama, the Sindhu Ghat by the river Indus, Shey Palace and the Thiksey Gompa. En route one crosses the third highest pass in the India â Chang La â at 17,350 feet. Visitors to the lake need an Inner Line permit. Being on a sensitive border, boating is not allowed on the Indian side.
Pangong is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance.
Although it is a saltwater lake and has virtually no aquatic life, it draws migratory birds and mammals. The black-necked Siberian crane, bar-headed geese and Brahmini ducks are commonly seen here. It also supports wildlife species such as the Kiang (nullwild ass) and the Marmot (nullrodent family).