Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Pangong Tso in winter

Pangong Tso is one of India’s most beautiful places. It looks picturesque in the summer, which is the peak tourist season, but I wanted to see how it looks in the extremely cold winter months. And that’s how I landed here during my winter backpacking trip to Ladakh.

Capturing the Pangong Tso beauty in the lens
Pangong Tso is a high altitude (14,270 feet) lake located in the western Himalayas of Ladakh. 40% of this lake comes under India while the remaining 60% comes under the purview of China occupied Tibet. Since this lake area falls under the sensitive India-China border, one needs an inner line permit to visit this Himalayan lake.

Admiring Pangong's beauty
Completed surrounded by the mighty Himalayas, the lake colour varies from a emerald blue to a turquoise green. While I was here, the temperatures were about minus 15 degrees celsius, but the wind chill factor would have been 5 degrees lower. In spite of such low temperatures, the lake was frozen only at the edges. It is said that the lake freezes only for a couple of weeks or so every winter. The best part is that it freezes real quick and unfreezes with great speed too.

Pangong Tso - The high altitude salt water lake
When the lake completely freezes over, the ice gets so thick that one can actually drive a jeep over it. The Indian army is known to organize skating games over it during such times. But, in all this, I sometimes wonder, how does a saline lake, such as the Pangong Tso really freeze. I tried tasting its water and found it be more saline than sea water.

The scenic Pangong Tso in the Changthang Cold Desert
But, on the other hand, during the summer months, the atmosphere at the lake is more bearable, though the lack of oxygen can still be felt, though not as bad as winter. But, the colours get prettier in summer as the clouds stay away during the warm months. What one gets to see in the ‘3 Idiots’ movie is the summer view. What you get to see here are the winter views.

Walking the banks of the Pangong Tso Lake 
If you wish to be one with nature, then winter is the time. The spectacular sights of the lake, its surrounding hills, the rarified temperature, the complete lack of living beings, the bone-chilling weather and the absolute peace is a perfect concoction for a heady paradise mix.

Welcome to BE ON THE ROAD Travel Blog! I am Sankara, its founder, a 30 something male from Bangalore who is living his dream of exploring the world and simultaneously trying to inspire others to live their dream.
Wanna live your dream? Find Some inspiration here!
Wanna know more about me?
Track blog updates from facebook and/or twitter!

Logo Credits : Jobi T Chacko. UI/UX Credits : Murugan S Thirumalai
Copyright © 2009-2016 Sankara Subramanian C (
Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved

Join the Travel Club for FREE!!
and every fortnight get in your inbox...interesting experiential and off-beat travel stories , destination guides, handy tips (travel, photography and visa) based on personal experience, global vegetarian delights with helpful survival guides and gorgeous world travel images and videos as I (the Indian traveler) trot the globe! And a lot of other travel invites and soon to be launched goodies !

* indicates required