Let me take you to Pangong Lake!
Two weeks ago, I was in Ladakh to witness one of the biggest festival of the decade, Naropa festival. No doubt, the festival gave me an overwhelming experience around Drukpa Buddhist lineage, local culture, traditions and initiatives like ‘Live to Love’, the landscape of Ladakh surprised me in many ways. Trust me, I came back with mixed feelings. There were some aspects of Ladakh that disappointed me (pollution and traffic jam of the city) but some of its remote locations left me charmed and delighted.
Honestly, I was not impressed with Leh city but one place in Ladakh really left me speechless. The visit to Pangong lake left me awestruck. I would gladly call it the most beautiful place in India that I have seen with my naked eyes. In my view, it is one place on Earth that needs no photo-edits and at the same time no photograph can do justice to it. The beauty of the lake cannot be described in words and therefore I will not even attempt doing it. The clicks below will take you through my photo journey and talk about the milestones of this simple and arduous journey.
First, I call it simple because it does not need much planning and can be completed within a day. (We started from Ladakh early morning and returned back by late evening on the same day.) Second, you really don’t need to do much except hiring a convenient vehicle and paying for it. The real hero is your local driver who steers you through the thrilling roads. The roads are simply fantastic but they are quite challenging. The landscape and the changing colors of the hills will leave you mesmerized at every few steps. As one goes higher and higher, the terrain becomes trickier at every curve and bend. Changthang, the far-eastern region of Ladakh is full of rare treasures. The two most popular attractions of Changthang are the two spellbinding lakes, Pangong and Tsomoriri.
In fact, my husband loves driving and he wants to do a Leh Ladakh Bike Trip. Now, that I have seen these amazing twisting curves of Ladakh, I want to come back with him soon. What an exhilarating trip it would be to maneuver the picturesque locations at our own wish. In the rush to do the touristy stuff, we often miss the real and offbeat fun. Motorbiking or self-driving has a winning hand in that respect. One can literally stop or start anywhere and soak in the ambiance at own will. I really loved the freedom and the passion with which some of the bike-riders were riding. I met them on the way to Pangong and Khar dungla.
Changla Pass is the highest point at 17,000 feet that you will love to pass through and will remember it for many more reasons too. Till here, the ride is thrilling, fun and adventurous. In fact, I was surprised to find a loo and a cafeteria here. We took a short loo break here and rested for around twenty minutes before huddling in the bus once again. The final destination was still far away and we were not even half-done. After Changla, the altitude began to fall and the ride became smooth. Furthermore, the beauty of Changthang region began to take over our senses. The cold desert began to show its true colors. Now, I knew why people went ga-ga over Ladakh and its beauty. However, everything that had looked beautiful or amazing lost its essence the moment we reached Pangong.
The landscape here was simply out-of-the world. As a traveler, I can only say that every minute of this strenuous journey felt worth it. The first glimpse of this huge water body made me jump with joy. I have no words to describe the moment. The picture-perfect lake transported us to almost another planet. We sat there was for two hours but it was not enough. However, every moment spent there was absolutely price-less. If time would have allowed, I would have loved to stay there for more than a day but we had to return in time. For now, I can only say that I will definitely go back to see it in the winters.
P.S. One must remember to rest and acclimatize for one complete day before starting to explore in and around Leh.