Leh is adorned by beautiful sights and mesmerizing landscapes. There are many lakes in lap of Leh valley. Tso moriri lake and pangong lake are better known. But, the most famous lake is Pangong which shot to fame after the climax scene in “3 Idiots”. After the movie grossed massive fame, the locals didn’t wait long to start promoting Pangong lake as a major tourist attraction. This lake is definitely recommended to be a part of your Leh Ladakh tour
So, we gave in the many recommendations and decided to visit Pangong lake one day before our Stok Kangri trek. Locally known as Pangong Tso, the lake is situated at a distance of 180 KMs from Leh and due to the terrain, it takes around 4.5 hours to reach.
‘Tso’ literally translates to Lake in the local language and you will see many water bodies marked as ‘Tso’ in Google maps. So, if you wish, you can take a detour and discover a new lake, away from the touristy eyes. You can read my blog “Is Tso Moriri lake better than Pangong lake” to make a decision.
We started early morning when the first rays of Sun had just started to illuminate the distant peaks in far horizon. With local music playing melodiously in the background, we admired the myriad patterns of sun rays bouncing off the icy peak shoulders in distance. In no time we were scramming through the highway, away from the Leh town. In an hour or so, we stopped at a pronged T section for breakfast. From here, the road split in two, one leading to Pangong lake and another to Tso Moriri lake.
While sipping tea and savoring delicious Aloo Parathas, we saw a group of folks gathering around nearby. We heard whispers that the road to Pangong lake was affected by a landslide. The road would be blocked until cleared by the government authorities. We now had two options. One, return to Leh and indulge in some local sight seeing or two, continue the journey to Tso Moriri Lake. The 2nd option would cost us an extra 80 KMs total. But, going back to Leh wasn’t really a wise option as we had covered a couple of sights previous day itself. So, we upheld our gut to visit Tso Moriri lake and we were off road tripping again!
The road turned a bit rough after junction. We admired the landscapes around us while the driver paid close attention to each bump and stone on the road. The sky was as looking ravishing in it’s blue coat and tiny shreds of white clouds moved swiftly with the wind. Patches of green pastures kept appearing frequently where blue sheep grazed calmly. The snow clad mountains looked alluring from distance. We kept our car windows open, allowing the cold waft of wind bounce off our faces. Gradually, we were inching close to Tso Moriri lake and gaining a bit altitude with each sharp curve the road led us to. In last 2 hours, we had gained an altitude of 3,000 feet.