On way to Pangong Tso in Ladakh: Welcome to the land of blue water lake

On way to Pangong Tso in Ladakh
On way to Pangong Tso in Ladakh

As you descend the 17,586 ft high Chang La to get to Pangong Tso (‘lake’), you see a sign at Durbuk: ‘Welcome to the land of beautiful mountains and blue water lake.’

It’s a sweet spot. Maintained in an eco-friendly manner. There’s a bright green litter bin yet some visitors throw food wrappers along the lake. People!

On a rocky patch, there’s another sign, ‘Ice hockey, the sport of Eastern Ladakh, promoted by Army’. The area is also the world’s highest army habitat it seems; only the sign read ‘Arty Habitat’. Creative, eh?

pangongtso-280609-116I met Kunchuk, 9, starting his 5 km walk to school, being seen off by his mother, grandfather and baby brother Phunsuk. The family subsists on a meagre agricultural income but they are always smiling, and Kunchuk just loves going to school.

On a rough strip of road, my car tyre ripped. And I still had the infamous Pagal Nala (‘mad stream’) to negotiate. It’s slippery and treacherous; you have to drive across it on tenterhooks. One wrong move and you’ll need a crane to pull you out. In the middle of nowhere. Cross it before noon because the sun melts the ice later and the slush is hell to drive on. A passenger bus had broken down there, so I had to go around on an even more perilous path.

But I made it. And the first view of the gorgeous glacial lake is more than worth it.

Read many more such features in Ajay Jain’s pictorial travelogue, Postcards from Ladakh.



  1. thankz for your lovely pictures of pangong.it really stuck my mind of being the inhabitant of that place.i am now working at dehradun


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