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 ā Chang La ā 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).
Pangong is on the must do list of most travelers to Ladakh. Not without reason! 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 breathtaking sight. 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.
Most travelers to Ladakh do a day visit to Pangong from Leh. An overnight stay is highly recommended though. Given that the two-drive is over 300 kilometers, it is advisable to stay either by the lake side or at small settlements en route. A lifetimeās experience shouldnāt be rushed through anyways!
Pangong is located at an altitude of around 14,300 feet. Surrounded by low, rolling ranges on the Changtang plateau in eastern Ladakh, this 134 kilometers (null miles) long water body is an endorheic lake. Thereās only inflow of water into the lake, and no outflow to other water bodies such as a river or ocean. This salt lake does not support any aquatic life. However, despite being a salt water lake it completely freezes during winter months. Temperature here varies between 20 degree C in summers and -30 during winters.
At its widest the lake is 5 kilometers (null.1 miles). Being a mountain (nullhigh altitude) desert, the region around the lake receives very little rain. Most of the water in the lakes comes from melting snow.
Surface - Pangong is about 150 kilometers from Leh. Road travel is the only option available to get across to this remote lake. Although a few State (nullJ&K SRTC) run buses ply on this route, it is better to book a seat in one of the local taxis that ferry visitors and locals alike. Contact the taxi union for details. But the best option is to hire a bike from the numerous rental shops on the Old Post Office road. Average fare for a taxi round trip is around Rs 5,000.
Air - Leh (null kilometers away) is the hub of Ladakh. Despite its remoteness, Leh is fairly well connected due to its strategic location. Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu and Mumbai have direct flights to Leh. Jet Airways, Air India and Kingfisher are the main airlines that operate on this route.
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