The Journey so far…
We were at quite an altitude of 17400 Feet at Wari La Pass and a wait for 20 odd more minutes started giving some uneasy feelings to some of us. We had to get started towards Chang La Pass route and then further to reach Pangong Tso in time. Hence, one of the vehicle went down the bend to spot Gagan, Nabeel, Bejamin in distance and after couple of minutes came back spotting them 🙂
Day 5 | 2nd Half | Wari La Pass – Chang La Pass – Pangong Tso
Now, we were good to descend slowly towards Sakti village from Wari La pass. Well, IMHO, one should always stick to group especially at such isolated conditions, I will say. I understand that you will loose on some lovely captures but that’s a trade-off we all have to make for being safe, sometimes. WOW was everywhere, the vistas with distant view of Sakti Village (guess it is the largest settlement after Leh AFAIK) all throughout the time we reached there was just something hard to explain !! The multi-coloured backdrop towards Wari La from this side and after a while roads did help us a lot as they were in quite a good shape… We were enjoying the boiled eggs packed for us from the guest house at Hunder… There was nothing but nature around us, so boiled eggs were just the saviour :D… I was literally lying on road to take some shots, seriously check the pics 😉 😉 …
It was like an overdose of beauty already in the day with Pangong Tso, yet to come. Finally, we reached Sakti and waited everyone to arrive at the T-junction where left goes to Karu There is a monastery named Chemrey Monastery at Sakti Village, which was founded in 1664 AD. The Chemrey Monastery houses a one story high statue of Padmasambhava which is actually the main attraction apart from religious interests. Well, we skipped the monastery as we were already short on time. After a long long wait, my phone rang and it was none other than Gagan, thank god :)… There we agreed that Gagan will go off route back towards Karu to refuel the car along with Nabeel and Benjamin and they will join us in the evening at Pangong Tso. We were quite OK because the road to Pangong Tso from Chang La Pass is manageable and also not that desolated when compared to Wari La route we just did. So, we all moved on.
We took a shortcut from Sakti towards Tangyar and man that was some shortcut 😀 😀 … Innova and XUVs struggled a bit before hitting the top of the road. From there it was all black tarmac mostly apart from around Chang La Pass. The famous Zs of Zingrail came, passed by and ascend to the mighty Chang La Pass started. Chang La Pass would be the sixth pass of our trip which boasts the height of 17690 Mtrs !! I have always liked Chang La Pass more than Khardung La, though Taglang La is still my favourite pass 🙂 … As we ascended closer to Chang La Pass, the road had gone very bad and finally we reached the top. We stopped over for tea / soup at the cafe. The cold wind was still very strong up there and the mountain in the backdrop was completely white… Since, there was no jam at Chang La Pass unlike Khardung La, so everyone was taking pictures at their wish and will with every other pose they could 😀 😀
As we descended from Chang La Pass, the roads were in much bad shape on this side of Chang La Pass. There comes a nice little, green water lake by the name Tso Tak, the second lake of our trip, just aside the road and about 8 KMs from Chang La Pass. However, in the excitement of visiting Pangong Tso this really gets missed out by most of us. I had this on my mind, so when we reached closer to it, we stopped there for about 15-20 minutes. Believe me, the magic is actually in exploring places these lovely, little things that you do on your trip !! Tso Tak does not have any charm but those 20 minutes sitting around that small lake is so worth that the silence around is just can’t be expressed in words 🙂 … Then, again we resumed towards Tangste with the beauty of Changthang region glorifying everywhere, forcing me to stop and just look but… There was nothing to eat but Boiled Eggs 😀 😀 … Finally, we reached Tangtse at around 4 PM where after searching quite a bit Rigzin managed to get the much needed fuel, obviously in black. At Tangste, you have to submit your permits at the check post and the guy there told us that we will not be allowed to go beyond Chusul Army is allowing tourist vehicles beyond Chusul now a days even after having permits !! 😯 😯 😯
It was shocker of a thing… Everyone was tensed because it will mean jeopardizing the whole journey and we will not be able to explore what we wanted to explore especially around Tso Moriri lake. Anyways, it was time to move on further and witness the magical hues of Pangong Tso Lake before the sunlight dies out. However, just before Pangong Tso, there is another lake by the name Chagar Tso It also emits the aqua colours being a glacial lake and is lovely sight especially in the early days of season when the glaciers melt and accumulates fresh water for this lake. When we landed, there was algae surrounding in the corners which was kind of turn off, so we kept our visit very short to this decent sized lake. Finally, headed to Pangong Tso in the hopes of seeing the changing blue hues with sun almost about to hide behind the hills in our backdrop.
We reached Lukung and instead of going further, stopped there and watched the massive sized beautiful water body changing its colour right there. In all excitement, I did not carry my woollen cap after stepping out only to realize after a while that I should not have taken the cold wind that way 😉 😉 … It was too late by then to walk back to car and get it. But, the cold wind forced me to go for a long walk back to the car. I got some snaps quickly, had fun there for a while before getting back into the car to protect myself from evening cold 😀 … The seagulls were not present, so kind of a turn off there and sunlight lived up very short taking away the magical blue shades along with it. So, there wasn’t much of a point staying wide open in cold instead we had to search for the stay option at Spangmik too.
We started the drive from Lukung to Spangmik, about 16 KMs away along side Pangong Tso lake and kept watching the colours dying in Pangong Tso with the last shade of light going behind the mountain at the back… This is the precise reason/drawback I do not prefer coming from Wari La Pass as you actually miss majority of colours in Pangong Tso due to short sunlight stay, especially in late season when days are shorter. But, I had high hopes from Tso Moriri left 😀 😀 … Soon we reached Spangmik and after looking for a while went for Himalayan Wooden Cottages for our stay option over there. They had 8 wooden huts with attached western style toilets. These huts were ideal to combat the biting cold up there in late season at an altitude of Pangong Tso. We got a good deal of about 1400-1600 per person with two meals, dinner + breakfast per hut. You can check my detailed review in DoW Community at the link: Himalayan Wooden Cottages, Spangmik – Pangong Tso | Review
After settling in the respective huts, I came across with one more of a loving readers of DoW Blog, who was also there that very day at Pangong Tso. He came searching for me and again it feels so so so good to connect to my readers of the blog out wide open right in Himalayas or travel along with them !! He was from Kolkata and came there with his family + friends. We enjoyed the little chat over there in cold before he went back to the home stay he was staying there. He agreed to accompany us to Hanle for next day. Finally, we saw the lights in dark from Gagan’s Ertiga searching for us, who finally reached after almost 1.5 Hrs… Man, that was some relief. But, then there were no signs of Nabeel and Benjamin who got lost at Lukung due to some confusions. Thanks to Lokesh and Shekhar for showing such care going back to Lukung to find them and got them to everyone by night 🙂 🙂 …
The guys taking care over there at Himalayan Wooden Cottages were very helpful and provided all their support to us. They asked us to leave by 5.00 AM in the morning as otherwise we won’t be allowed to bypass Chusul. Rigzin, along with all others felt it was the best bet to pass through Chusul in early hours and save our initial plan to explore the hidden gems of Changthang So, that was the deal to give up colours of Pangong Tso and try to save the plan. We were served the dinner in a common dining room and though the taste was standard but everyone had very good time having dinner together, knowing a bit more of each other. It was the first night where the entire group of about 25 people were staying together, not missing a single soul. We enjoyed the discussions in open, clicked few pictures in the dark with group and finally went to bed in that cold night hoping to wake on time next morning 😀 :D…
Have you ever stayed with Pangong Tso? How was it? I will love to know about your experience too especially at some cold night 🙂 …
The Journey ahead…
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do to suggest an overnight stay at Pangong or go back to leh on the same day?
are we allowed to visit any glaciers?
Akshay, to really enjoy the beauty of Pangong Tso lake, you must spend time there, seeing the different shades of blue fall over the Pangong Tso lake with every passing hour of the day. So, ideally you should spend a day else if there is time crunch you can witness the beauty as a day trip to Pangong Tso from Leh too.
I envy when I see you guys on such trips.
I propose that before any trips, everyone should be notified by EMAIL that such and such trip will take place on such and such date. The compulsion of visiting the website is not practical when people are tangled in their day to day work. Regular Notification of future trips should be done on EMAILS.
Aditya, thank you but these are for motivation :D… Well, there are many ways to stay connected. Such Mega Meets are declared well in advance and you can check them at FB, Twitter too along with staying connected in DoW Community -> DoW Travel Meets & Workshops forums where all mini meets and mega meets are announced at the link: https://devilonwheels.com/india/dow-travel-meets-workshops-f37/
DoW Travel Calendar in the community also has listing of all such events, where you can track the registrations too.
Also, you can use “Subscribe via Email” option available on the right hand side bar, complete the subscription by verifying the link sent in verification mail. All new posts on the blog will get delivered via EMAIL 🙂 … I respect the privacy of all my readers 🙂
To tell you well in advance, this year DoW Mega Meet will happen in Spiti Valley from 12th September to 21st September …
Aditya, like suggested, in case you planning to travel in September to Spiti Valley, you can join in over like minded travelers for DoW Mega Meet thrilling adventure, whose details are mentioned at the link: Hidden Gems of Spiti Valley | DoW Mega Meet 2014
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