Pangong lake is located in the northeast of Leh, situated at an altitude of 4,350 meters above sea level. This famous black blue Pangong Lake is 5-6 km wide and 144 km long with half of them are running on the other side of the Indo-Chinese border. The 160-km trip to Pangong Lake from Leh is an experience of its own. The first stop on the way is Thiksey village famous for its huge monasteries, which cover an entire mountain ridge. Beyond this remote village, there is nothing but the extreme mountain ranges for company. The second stop is the Changla Pass (17,350 ft.), which could test ones lungs, for the lack of oxygen.
The Crystal clear salty water shines in many shades of blue depending upon its depth. It literally changes shades with sunlight. With a backdrop of mountains of various hues and colors, If you have watched the Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots, there is no way you could have missed out the last scene. Set in the scenic Ladakh, this scene was shot at Pangong Tso, the famed blue lake. At once striking is the luminosity of the blue lake.
The size of the lake is best inferred from the probable etymology of its name, Pangong, which means extensive concavity. The mirror-calm water is cold, clear, and extremely salty, holding sufficient quantity of lime to form a calcareous deposit, which cements the pebbles together in patches of concrete on its bank. It is believed that there is a large amount of minerals in the basin of the lake, which result from the melting of the snow. The water sparkles in distinct shades of blue, green, purple, and violet, being transparent to a good depth. With ease, one can pick pebbles from under the water, and if one is lucky enough, a fossil shell in the clay deposits may be a rewarding find.
Other Tourist attractions
At Darbuk village near Tangtse Valley stands a chain of war memorials with regimental insignias in commemoration of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Indo-China war of 1962. Some of the army bunkers and trenches are still in use. Villagers can be seen here along with their large herds of Pashmina sheep and long-tailed yaks.
The placid Pangong Lake is not just a tourist’s paradise but a geologist’s domain too. Travelers can enjoy the solitude for a day or two, zoom their cameras to shoot the black-necked Siberian crane around the Mahe marshes which are the only breeding ground for these migratory birds. At times, they are seen swarming in the cool colorful water of the lake.
The long and narrow lake lies in the neighborhood of the famous Chushul Mountains.
How to reach Pongong Lake
Regular flights go to Leh from Delhi. Once in Leh, one can hire a taxi to Pangong Lake. Otherwise, one can make arrangements with some travel agencies, which are ever ready to take one on a trip to the saltwater lake of Pangong Tso.
One can also take the motor route of Delhi-Manali-Jispa-Darcha-Sarchu-Leh-Khardungla-Pangong.