Blue Hues of Pangong Tso | Ladakh – 2012

52

The Journey so far…

Before going into the story, as mentioned in the Travel Guide blog post, a little background of Pangong Tso:

Pangong Tso Lake – Ladakh

Pangong Tso lake in Changthang region of Ladakh has emerged as one of the most wanted places to visit among domestic tourists in recent times especially after the Bollywood blockbuster "3 idiots". Now, in India one can see a lot more movies and advertisements being shot around this mesmerizing lake. This slat water, beautiful ocean like lake is about 5 KM wide at its broadest point and about 134 KM long with about 60% of the length extending into Tibet. During winters the lake freezes completely, which itself is a great experience to witness if you have seen the other colours of the lake. Being very near to the Line of Actual Control, one need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Pangong Tso. You can get more details on Inner Line Permits here: Inner Line Permits for Leh – Ladakh

Blue Hues of Pangong Tso…
Blue Hues of Pangong Tso
Blue Hues of Pangong Tso…
Blue Hues of Pangong Tso

The beautiful multi shades of blue colour offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around gives this place an extremely romantic feel as shown in Bollywood film songs. However, sitting behind the TV/LCD it looks so but in actual reality the place is extremely harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters. There is only one cemented accommodation available around the lake and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. are rare to find. The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to its high altitude and hence, one need to plan his/her journey extremely carefully to make it acute mountain sickness free vacation.

Multi-Shades of Pangong Tso…
Multi-Shades of Pangong Tso

Blue Hues of Pangong Tso…
Blue Hues of Pangong Tso...

Day 5 | Merak – Man – Spangmik – Lukung – Tangste

Now, coming back to story, after some 15-20 minutes enjoying around the spine chilling cold water of Pangong Tso, we decided to move ahead along it towards Merak – Man – Spangmik – Lukung. Pangong Tso runs all the way upto Lukung along the road, giving you a felling out of the world. Every few yards, your heart will say to stop and click some pictures or stand by but time is an elusive killer of your wonder feelings here 🙂 … We kept moving, then stopping, then moving all along the way and there were some beautiful sceneries, so remote, so pristine, so colourful and in my mind "I was thinking that “I am not sure what I am missing without sunlight but whatever I seeing I cannot imagine to be more beautiful unless another trip in sunlight”… Looking back and I can see another trip in the making soon 😉 … Well, we ran through Merak village where the site for world’s largest Telescope has been approved and apart from Hanle there will be another observatory very soon in this clear sky region of Ladakh. At some of the sections snow was still present on the road and we did have to inspect the conditions to pass-by as we were running alone on that route for the entire length od the day. Each time, Rigzin gets out of the car to inspect the conditions I jumped out for another opportunity to click some lovely shots. We passed by Spangmik  village, where all the tented accommodations were setting up their tents and pipelines for western style toilets. Another, lovely sight to pass by and finally we could see Lukung where the whole of Pangong Tso was frozen and I asked Rigzin to stop aside in hopes of getting some sunlight and some deep bluish beautiful colours out of Pangong Tso. We stopped for about 45 minutes or so, on a small hill top offering panoramic views of entire Pangong Tso, waited but weather was not on our side that day.

As Remote As It Could Get…
Dheeraj Sharma at Pangong Tso
Migratory Birds at Pangong Tso…
Migratory Birds at Pangong Tso
Make Your Own Roads… Near Pangong Tso…
Roads near Pangong Tso
Dramatic Nature of Changthang…
Roads near Pangong Tso
Running Through the Snow…
Roads near Pangong Tso
Symbol of Prayers…
Symbol of Prayers near Pangong Tso
Remote, Peaceful and Lovely Pangong Tso…
Remote, Peaceful and Lovely Pangong Tso
Running Through the Snow… Again!!
Roads near Pangong Tso
Snow Around Pangong Tso…
Snow Around Pangong Tso
Our Machine at Pangong Tso…
Our taxi at Pangong Tso
Our Machine at Pangong Tso…
Our taxi at Pangong Tso
Magical Pangong Tso…
Magical Pangong Tso
Magical Pangong Tso…
Magical Pangong Tso
Lovely Ripples of Pangong Tso…
Lovely Ripples of Pangong Tso
As Far As You Can See… Beauty of Pangong Tso…
Roads near Pangong Tso
As Far As You Can See… Beauty of Pangong Tso…
Roads near Pangong Tso
Birds Flying High at Pangong Tso…
Birds Flying High at Pangong Tso
Surely a Place to Sit Forever…
My Friend Himanshu at Pangong Tso

We decided to move on towards Lukung where the Pangong Tso was completely frozen and yes, the famous “3 Idiots” scene was shot. There were so many Seagulls present near the shore of the lake and we had nice time feeding them and capturing some wonderful shots with them. They were so sharp and quick to catch the throw biscuit in the air, it was fun filled 30 minutes or so. Not to forget, generally, people coming through Travel agents were totally disappointed by seeing the frozen Pangong Tso and as the drivers were reluctant to take them ahead about 15-16 KMs to show them its really beauty. I think this is one of the major disadvantage of opting for Travel agents because the drivers have strict directions to follow and that makes your plans more rigid and disappointing as well because to most of the tourist the direction was to show them the 3 Idiots film shooting point, nothing else and being frozen, it was a disappointment for the tourists for sure.

Seagulls at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso
Seagulls at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso
Ready for the Flight… Seagulls at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso
Flying High & Handsome… Seagulls at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso
Flying High & Handsome… Seagulls at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso
Sitting Cutely… Seagulls at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso
An Angry Seagull at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso
Tejas Amidst Seagulls at Pangong Tso…
Seagulls at Pangong Tso

Our plan was not fix enough and we still had time to cross Chang La but we had different plans in my mind. I asked Rigzin to stopover at Tangste and ask locales about the route conditions of Shyok Village route to Nubra Valley. If the locals say no, then we will cross Chang La today itself and go to Leh for overnight stay. Otherwise, we will head to Nubra Valley from Tangste via Shyok Village next morning and if we see any concerns we will come back to Chang La route. We even decided to take a backup vehicle with us from Shyok Village but all these were plans and with hopes in our heart we moved on towards Tangste. I so desperately wanted to do the Shyok Village route to Pangong Tso. Road ahead of Lukung is all tarred up to Leh barring few patches in between, so it was a very welcome relief for our body which got full body massage since morning ;)… On the way, we met the Marmots, had lovely time feeding them as with Seagulls and mind you it makes you so close to nature seeing and interacting these wild animals and migratory birds of Himalayas. Finally, we reached Tangste and stopped at Yakmik Changla Guest House and ordered lunch. Meanwhile, Rigzin inquired about the conditions of Shyok village route and they told us that with careful driving a Scorpio can make it. This boosted our morale to quite an extent and we knew that we will be dashing into another unknown territory day which was even not known to our experienced Ladakhi driver. This raised the adrenaline to high levels and despite too much of cold conditions outside, me and Himanshu decided to have a walk around the village after the tasty lunch cooked by the lady at the guest house.

Painted Colors of a Landscape…
Painted Colors of a Landscape
Man and The Marmots…
Man and The Marmots

Rigzin was still in doubts but he also wanted to take on the challenge and drive into the unknown with 3 idiots like us and we kept boosting his morale with all sought of mitigation plans 😉 … The only issue with the guest house is that bathroom is shared but since, we were the only one staying at Tangste at that time of the year, so it was almost like personal to us. We rested for couple of hours and then went for the dinner in a room where bukhari was running and maintained the cold freezing temperatures at warmer levels. With dinner, we watched TV for a while and after saying goodnight to Rigzin, we went for sleep again dreaming of the unexpected adventure to happen on the Pangong Tso to Nubra Valley route via Shyok Village.

The Journey ahead…

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

52 Comments

  1. Dear Dheeraj…These pictures have left me spell bound!!! I cannot imagaine how beautiful the place will be in reality if just the pictures have managed to move me so much! I am eagerly awaiting my trip in August and I’m glad I decided to do it solo rather than wait till a group was formed. A million thanks to you, since I have managed to make my itinerary reading the suggestions and reviews on your website. Can’t wait to see such varied beauty up close 😀

      • Dear Dheeraj, I would be love to support the DoW Cause of Gyaan 500. Could you let me know the contacts of any schools where I could distribute the stationary? Thanks, Shaheen.

        • Shaheen, if you visiting Hanle then of course we do have a contact there but are you visiting Hanle? Else, you can also check with Mr. Rehman at Habib Guest House in Hunder, Nubra Valley 09469736543, 01980-221039, 01980-200344.

          Regarding how it can be contributed, yes, you can actually walk into any school you see over there in Ladakh and distribute the stationary items among children. I would suggest to execute in some small village like Hunder, Turtuk, Korzok, Spangmik, Sumur, Panamik, Hanle etc.. where the availability of such items is difficult unlike Leh or Srinagar or Kargil.

  2. Hi Dheeraj,

    Just back from Leh a week before 🙂

    First of all, accept my heartiest thanks for helping me to make this trip a grand success.

    I would also like to share a word of caution for fellow travellers who are planning to go Tso Moriri directly from Pangong Tso following Chusul-Tsaga-Loma route. We opted for this route but eventually denied by the Indian Army at Chusul to proceed further. They cited us the reason being the recent Chinese incursions and thereby security threats to the civilians. We again had to get back to Leh from Chusul and go for Tso Moriri next day.

    The Leh DC office is totally unaware of this and continues to grant necessary permissions for this aforementioned route. So guys, visiting Tso Moriri directly from Pangong is a strict no no (through the remote terrains we covered from Pangong till Chusul is a big time wonder).

    Now about AMS. This word has been a catalyst of big tension for me prior to the trip. Fortunately, there weren’t any such issues happened to us, except mild headaches on our first night at Leh. I guess travelling through Srinagar helped us a lot to acclimatize faster. We didn’t even spend a complete rest day at Leh.

    To sum up, our experiences at Ladakh is an exceptionally good one. The place, its people, contours, colours, each and everything is sure to captivate us for a long, long time.

    Once again, thanks brother for helping me to make this trip happen 🙂

    How is juniour? Give my love to him.

    You keep smiling 🙂

    Cheers!!

    • Jags, thats a great update!! Thanks for sharing it back here. Junior is doing great brother, keeping me on toes and running around after him.

      If possible, try and share your Ladakh travel experience with us at DoW – Himalayan Travel Community as Photo Tale or Travel Tale Or your reviews of the property where you stayed or dhabhas/restaurants you ate food on your trip…

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  3. Mohini Sahni on

    The most awesome pics with such a detailed description ….simply SUPERB!!! SERENITY at its best …
    Planning a Leh Ladakh trip soon …would May be a better time to travel or September???

    • Mohini, Thanks alot for liking the pictures and the article. Best time for me is September but May is not bad if you are directly flying to Leh – Ladakh.

  4. I an my Friend are planning a trip from Delhi-Manali-Leh-Kargil-Dras-Srinagar-Delhi in May-June by ourselves. Woo…. Excited!!! Thanks Dude for sharing the pictures. I am eagerly waiting for the real Adventure Trip.

  5. tripti batra on

    m planning o go leh in mid of october is it ryt time to ses snow and to go with a kid of 7 yrs

    • Hi Tripti,

      Conditions would be lot colder infact very cold and all the accommodation option would be gone, so either a day trip will be possible or the stay at Tangste only. Roads would be on the verge of closure and snow, not sure. If possible only fresh snow at some high mountain pass will only be available if at all.

      I hope this helps. Let me know incase you need more info. or have any queries or doubts.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  6. Pingback: Exploring Hunder and Deskit - Nubra Valley | Ladakh - 2012 - DeViL on WheeLs...

  7. Hi dheeraj,
    I’ve been wanting to go to leh ladakh since 2 yrs but its not happening becuz of the same goddamned reason- group of ppl to go with. So this time i thot of going with sum tour grp. But again the same prob, the tour grp that was supposed to go in aug end, didn’t get enuf registrations. So right now im looking for gud reliable groups i can join for leh ladakh trek..for maybe 10-13 days starting frm around 31aug-4sept.
    Also, can u pls tell me how much does cost for.. 10 days Delhi-Manali-leh-kargil-srinagar trip…My budget is not more than 25k..including travel expenses frm mumbai (certainly not takin flight option)

    EAGERLY AWAITING YOUR REPLY.

    Thanks,
    Tripti

    • hi tripti i m just back from leh it was 10 days trip i took 20000 with me and it was enough but again wher u stay its all depends on ur location rooms r available in 400-2000 in guest house and hotel we eat our dinner in punjabi dhaba in leh main bazar very cheap and nice quality food also u have option to stay in gurudwara if u wanna save ur money ask punjabi dhaba they wil let u know its just 5min walkin distance from main market
      regards
      amit
      9467032534

      • Thanks amit!..thats gud news…but one my issues is still unsolved..i need a travel group to go with…none of my working frnds can get leaves for 10 days…so…Dheeraj,, can u plz help???

        • I hope my earlier reply was some help at lest within Leh. Well, else you should check Travel Partners section on IndiaMike or BCMT.

          Sorry for the delayed reply.

          Regards
          Dheeraj Sharma

    • Hi Tripti,

      Why not travel solo to Leh and then group with people once you reach Leh? This will be much easier as well as economical. You are alone and private taxis are very costly in Leh but you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in worst case you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are 🙂

      For traveling between Manali – Leh, you can rely on HPTDC bus service which includes the accommodation as well. To Travel to Jammu, train would be best option and then the only problem will be traveling to Srinagar which you need to either take some taxi or JKSRTC bus service. You will find shared taxis from Srinagar to Leh anyway.

      I hope this helps. Let me know incase you need more info. or have any queries or doubts.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

      • Hey thanks dheeraj, yeah now thats the only option..going solo :(…safety maybe n issue, but when’s it not!!! I juz want to enjoy my journey more than worrying about hotel bookings n travelling costs…If i was going with a group, all that wud be taken care of….
        Can you plz send ur mobile number on my email id???
        Thanks,
        Tripti K

        • Hi Tripti,

          Yeah, safety might be concern while traveling solo and you are right – when it’s not, even right here in Delhi 😀 … However, once you are close to Ladakh then you need not worry about much as it is one of the safest places in India 🙂 … You can even join up a group or several groups (on various trips) once you are in Leh and rest will be taken care by the Travel agent organizing the trip, if you like.

          You will be getting my email as I am replying to the comments, if not please check you spam as well. I have forwarded my contact details to you as well.

          Regards
          Dheeraj Sharma

  8. Gr 8 pics!!!,as well explained !!!
    which gear used for clicking n set of lenses also ,am planning a trip !!!!!

  9. Sabyasachi Patra on

    Dheeraj,
    The first image of birds titled migratory birds are Bar-headed geese. In which month had you gone there?

    Nice images and description. Your post helps me in connecting with ladakh again.

    • Thanks alot Sabya brother. Okies, they all appeared same to me, so thought they are Seagulls only 😀 … I went in month of April!! Ladakh is a place where you always gets a connection 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

    • Thanks alot !! Just shoot me any queries you have for your trip to Ladakh, may be this blog can be of some help especially the Ladakh section of it 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  10. umashankar on

    You left us in doubt of the mesmerizing serenity and beauty of Ladakh. Loved the panorama of images. Great share.

  11. aman pruthi on

    Simply Awesome Dheeraj,,,yaar ek seagull hi le aate wahan se hamare liye, hum pal lete usko 🙂

    • Thank you sir ji!! Bhai, vo haath mein hi nhn aaya bas, nhn to le to aate 😉 … But, it was a lovely experience overall with them too and I wish you will have the same on your upcoming Ladakh trip over the week. All the best for this wonderful saga journey of life and hope you have more and more every year to come 😀 …

      Regards
      Dheeraj

      • Someone truly said this website is encyclopedia for those who wish to visit anything from nubra to tsomoriri
        🙂
        Sir is there any website which can guide for remote areas near srinagar like gurez valley near bandipore?
        I read somewhere that region near POK is also untouched paradise but notggetting any detailed information how to go via bus

  12. This is pristine paradise. Better , it is mostly in accessible, else too many will flock to spoil it.

    • Thanks once again and thanks for reading the story and providing your comments constantly 🙂 … Well, you are true to some extent otherwise, irrespective of what it can cause harms as AMS, this terrain would be tried by lots of honeymooners for sure in winters, if accessible easily with less cold. And, currently the initial section of Pangong Tso i.e. Lukung to Spangmik, is completely spoiled in tourist season time by the herds of irresponsible tourists, polluting it, throwing what not into this pristine lake and what not. Tourism is good but people shall take complete responsibility of such our environment and its beauty, which I am afraid is not the case.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

      • I am only armchair traveller, and am thankful for your kindness in sharing those wonderful places, enabling me to view them.

        There is army, government,a nd tourist operators, can they all together engage the people and make them understand why it is necessary to keep the place pristine? I feel bad about people spoiling the environment. I hope some one will care.

        Once again, have a good time ,a and keep sharing.

        • Thank you so much, these words would surely make my day today!!
          And about tourism and spoiling the mother nature, well, that is the sorry state of our mindsets, I believe. It is extremely hard to make people understand the importance and unless there is some CSR/NGO gets involved, this does not work out. They all feel, ,nothing will happen if I throw a piece of plastic in a lake, who cares!! But, yes you can always embarrass them by picking that piece of plastic out in front of them and giving them that ugly stare in disgust 😉 … We always try to do that!!

          Regards
          Dheeraj

  13. Chandra Shekhar Vijay on

    Superb. You should start creating documentaries, man your write-ups are as crispy as your captures. Try your hand on videos too. 🙂

    • Hi Chandra,

      Ha ha ha, well yes, I hope all the fantasies of mine and such wishes from the constant well wishers like you, may come true one day 🙂 … I hope to get such a chance soon in life :). Thanks alot. and what about your Ladakh plan? You might not know but you owe me a short/long write up of your trip log with some beautiful pics on my blog as Guest Post 😆 …

      Regards
      Dheeraj

      • Chandra Shekhar Vijay on

        Hahaha, Aameen, My best wishes are always with you. My trip is postponed to First week of Sep. and yes I will definitely write a guest write up on my fav. blog site i.e. your blog as soon as I will complete my trip. 🙂 I am desperately waiting for the trip to happen. 🙂

        • And now, I amm too waiting for it too happen 😉 … I might travel Zanskar late September of first week of October too 🙂

          Regards
          Dheeraj

        • Chandra Shekhar Vijay on

          If nothing materialized for me, count me in for your trip if it’s OK with you. 🙂

        • Sure, then keep the last week of September booked brother, I saw the email, will reply today 🙂 … Quick fact, if you can spend some more money then go with 70-300 not 55-300. It is lot faster and well accepted lens when compared to the new one. 55-300 is quite slow at zoom end.

          Regards
          Dheeraj Sharma

        • Chandra Shekhar Vijay on

          Ok, let me check the specs. of 70-300, but what about the gap from 55 to 70 mm?

        • Hello Chandra,

          It will not make much difference but the lens is quite great and well accepted in the market. Me too had a tight budget and always wanted to go with 55-700 bu somehow, people forced me not to go with it and get the 70-300 and results are just amazing 🙂

          Regards
          Dheeraj

  14. anjali bansal on

    beautifully written,felt like Pangong revisited. I had the feeling,extraordinary serene beauty with verry rugged terrain and surroundings

    • Thank you so much Anjali, glad you liked it. Yes, this one really was one of the best moments we had in the entire trip. Running along the shores of Pangong Tso was a feeling in itself.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

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