Pangong Tso in all its glory
Asia,  Blog,  India,  Travelogue

Shadow under the clouds

How often do you see a photograph of a place and think you’re looking at a painting so life-like, it just doesn’t feel real. That’s the effect that Pangong Tso had on me when I would see photographs in magazines.
Pangong Tso with the strip of land where the movie '3 Idiots' was shot
Pangong Tso with the strip of land where the movie '3 Idiots' was shot

And then, years later, as I laughed through a Hindi movie set in this stunning locale, with a landscape that is so rich and still so different, I was still trying to convince myself that is isn’t real, but just an elaborate film set. Idiot that I was, I should have known better.

The road to Pangong Tso
The road to Pangong Tso

As the 4×4 descended from Chang La, the condition of the roads started to improve, and so did the landscape – from barren terrain to green fields with streams flowing. Then, after driving between mountains for a while, I suddenly spot a stretch of blue. That’s when I knew it wasn’t a painting after all. It was not reel. It was all real.

The drive down to Pangong Tso
The drive down to Pangong Tso

At about 14,270 feet, and roughly around 150 odd km from Leh, Pangong Tso is one of the most picturesque natural creations I’ve seen so far. Tso means lake in Tibetan. With the rugged mountains as a backdrop, it makes for a spectacular sight. Depending on the sunlight and depth where the sun shines on the water, expect to see various shades of blue and green, and even a tinge of red.

A panoramic view of Pangong Lake with the rugged mountains in the background
Panoramic view of Pangong Lake with the rugged mountains in the background

Two-thirds of the lake falls in Tibet, which in effect means that it is the international border, while the remaining one-third is in Indian territory. In fact, some of the mountains that you see in the distance are within Tibetan territory. So much for a unified world.

Shadows under the cloud
Shadows under the cloud

The best time to see this lake in all its splendour and glory should be in the summer months, after the snow has melted. That would be from something in April or May till about September. However, a word of caution. Even during these months, temperatures can dip to low levels, especially at night. So, when planning a trip to this region, pack accordingly.

Seagulls doing what they do best
Seagulls doing what they do best

Strange fact. Even though it’s among the highest brackish water lakes in the world, it completely freezes in winter.

Part time nomad | Dreamer | Pretend entrepreneur | Advertising professional who's hardly at his desk

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