solo trip to Ladakh – Pangong Lake

after the hectic trip to Nubra Valley and back to Leh, we left the next morning for Pangong Tso – a lake that’s 130 kms long, 75% of which is in Tibet, just 25% within the Indian border. we were excited about this too as we had heard the entire lake was frozen. its supposed to have seven beautiful colours in summer and all the photos i have seen show the amazing blue. so seeing it frozen would be some experience!
Pangong is in a completely different direction from Nubra & can be done as a day trip from Leh – though that’s quite hectic. its a 6 hour trip one way and we had to leave really early. we would have stayed at Pangong overnight if there were places open. but most of them are camping grounds and the other places are not open yet. the trip to Pangong took us through Chang La, the 3rd highest pass at 17,800 ft. descending from Chang La, the road runs next to a river that was completely frozen but still looked like it was in motion. in fact it had spilled over onto the road and frozen right there. eventually we saw in the distance, a whitish patch surrounded by mountains. it was the frozen lake! we were at one end, and as far as the eye could see, it was frozen. in the distance, lay the Tibetan mountains. we walked on the lake for a while, with no fear of it the ice cracking, it was that solid. for me, this is the one of the most memorable parts of the trip. (of course, its intrinsically linked with the memory of how badly i wanted to pee since we had driven out from Leh early morning, reached here past noon, with no loo in sight! even the loos are shut in off season).

we headed toward Spangmik village, the last village tourists can visit before the China border, which is another 60 kkms away, locals can go all the way. the village looked quite charming, situated as it is on the edge of the lake.

we headed back from here to Tangtse Valley and Tangtse village. as we headed away from Pangong, there were some funny signs, a good insight into consumer behaviour tho “you have left the famous Pangong souvenir shop “x” kms behind” right from 1 to around 10 kms away. Tangtse houses the Tangtse Metro, and of course, given all the newspaper reports in Bombay and Delhi, for a minute i thought of trains! but it turned out to be a cinema theatre for the army. it could be the world’s highest movie hall. they run movies here when they have 30 people. it also houses a bakery that’s guarded more than the theatre!

i also had the best soup ever in Tangtse Village at a local joint – a spicy concoction with pasta pieces. it was just the right thing to combat the cold, and i wish i had taken down the recipe because it was mouth watering. i still remember the soup.
back through Chang La to Leh, we were tired but loving every minute of the journey. Ladakh has a hypnotic effect, and i could have looked at the mountains for hours, at their fascinating colours and almost pristine beauty.
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