No one seems to have told Chang La that it is the second highest motorable road in the world at 17,586 feet (5360 m) after Khardung La – it is content with the bronze medal not realizing it beat Taglang La by four feet.
[Click on any image for a larger view]
I left this statistical aberration to surveyors to enjoy the views from this pass, surrounded by snow even in the summers. Over a delicious and warm cup of special Chang La masala tea served complimentary by the Army.
This road not only takes you to Pangong Tso (lake) but also marks the entry to the Changthang Eco Zone, home to a wide variety of animals, birds and plants. It is also a place where everyone likes themselves to be photographed. Three bikers asked me to take their picture together. I am still wondering what their mothers will make of the same: they were all dressed in identical black outfits, had their heads and faces covered with helmets and were similarly built. Not very smart unless they plan auditioning for the next sequel of Men in Black.
If you are scared of heights, Changla Baba, the divine guardian of the pass, will protect you. You can seek his blessings in the temple built in his honour here. If you still get into trouble, the Army has First Aid facilities at hand. And if you want to shop, don’t miss the souvenir shop at Lukung located where the Pangong Tso starts. Run by the Army, I picked up some coffee mugs, bookmarks and a refrigerator magnet cum key chain cum bottle opener all with the lake’s branding at reasonable pricing. You cannot miss this shop – the Army has signposted it well all along the route starting at Chang La.