Pangong Lake – Travelers’ Delight!

The last leg of our journey to the mystical and majestic Ladakh was ‘Pangong Tso’! In local language a Lake is called Tso.  Pangong Lake falls in the disputed territory with China. So the whole lake does not belong to India. While China occupies two-third part of this magnificent high altitude lake, India remains satisfied with mere one-third part of it.

These days the Lake is a favourite tourist place among the domestic tourists much credit for which goes to the Bollywood movie ‘3idiots’! The last scene of the movie, where female protagonist (Karina Kapoor) tracked down her male counterpart (Amir Khan) by the side of a beautiful lake, was shot here! The great Indian films! They motivate a lot of us for travelling even to a tough terrain!!

At Pangong Lake

At Pangong Lake

Tough terrain indeed! Located at an elevation of 4250 meters above the sea level, the Pangong Lake lies far away from Leh in the barren land of Ladakh. The road to Pangong Lake goes through the beautiful countryside of Ladakh. We saw a beautiful village called Sakti, a small hamlet named Zingrail and then climbed over the Z-shape roads to reach the world’s third highest pass Chang La, first being the Khardung La.

Z-shape road to Chang La

Z-shape road to Chang La

Situated at a distance of 76 Km from Leh, Chang La is a high mountain pass at an elevation 17,688 feet and is the gateway to Pangong Lake. The pass is guarded by Indian Army for its proximity to Chinese border. There is also a small temple at the pass. The pass remains snow covered throughout the year.

At Chang La!

At Chang La!

The metal road was fine up to the last stretch of about 4-5 kms before the pass. After a short stop at the pass we started descending. The next settlement ‘Tangtse’ was 35 Km from Chang La. It was a dirt road for another 10 km or so and at some places torrent of water over the road made it very difficult for driving. Many were struggling with their vehicles, mostly the bikers or tourists, on that stretch of 10-15 Kms.

Tangtse is a small settlement and is famous for Himalayan Marmots which are found in abundant here. To know what I did in Tangtse keep scrolling, however, without skipping a line!

The road from Tangtse passes through the plateau with mountains of different shades on both sides.

And there was it! The great Pangong Lake and its indigo blue waters!

Road from Tangtse to Pangong

Road from Tangtse to Pangong

Ah, Pangong!

Ah, Pangong!

Started early in morning at 7.30 AM from Leh we visited Shey Palace on the way and around 3.45 pm we reached the Lake.

How incredible it was to see the tranquil lake and its azure blue waters! Pangong Tso is one of the largest saline lakes in Asia. On the Lake shore we walked and saw the effects of changing colours of the lake, aqua green to indigo blue! The saline water of the lake plays with the sunlight and produces different colours. We were told that during winter the lake freezes and become a solid surface to walk over it. Well, walking over a frozen lake! You need to check certainly the best season to visit there!

Some Photos of Pangong Lake

The Shore of Pangong Lake

The Shore of Pangong Lake

Aqua Colour water of Pangong Lake!

Aqua Colour water of Pangong Lake!

Indigo Blue Colour water of Pangong Lake

Indigo Blue Colour water of Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake

Best Time to Go:  The period of June to September is considered to be the best time to travel to Pangong Lake, especially if you like to see the effect of changing colour. However, if you wish to walk over a frozen lake I am sure you will find your way between November to March.



The crystal clear blue lake spreads over across the border of India and China and to my belief every country would love to get the whole of it into its territory. So we found Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was patrolling with high-speed interceptor boats to notice the movements of Chinese troops who occasionally try to enter into the Indian water. The ITBP intercepts them at the imaginary line in the lake that is supposed to be the line of actual control (LAC).

Camps at Pangong Lake

Camps at Pangong Lake

Where to stay and where to eat:  For staying close to the lake, tents are the best option and they are plenty. However, before reaching the camps site we noticed a beautiful property of J&K Tourism which we thought to be a better option. The options for eatery are also very limited and you will have to be satisfied with whatever is available in the kitchen.

The J&K Govt welcomes to its accommodation

The J&K Tourism welcomes to its newly made Log Houses

Where we stayed!

The Log Houses where we stayed!

Well, it was interesting to know that the property is run by a private individual and not by J&K Govt. The structures of the property were imported from Portland and were installed here. But irony of the contractor was that he had to run this hotel business as a stop gap arrangement for non-payment of his bill and not taking over of the property by the J&K Govt.

Photos of The Log House

Drawing Room

Sitting Area

Dinning Area

Dinning Area


Bed Room

Bed Room


As I said earlier that Tangtse is a place of Himalayan Marmots, so one can expect to see plenty of them. Well, it’s not that easy even! You need to have some patience, desire to witness them in wild and blindly believing that these species are harmless. If you think you have all these, well it’s all yours!

Himalayan Marmots

Himalayan Marmots

Occasionally, they come out from their burrow in the presence of harmless people like me! On the previous day, they were very shy and did not come out from their burrow and I could see only a glimpse of them after my long wait. So I decided to say them hello on my way back. They were all around in plenty. Lying on the ground, with the support of my elbows, I was proceeding close to them as I had only a 55-200mm lens. My breath was only to distract my attention! At times, they were looking so big in the lens that I got frightened. But in the end I was happy that I could see them in wild and captured them with a 55-200mm lens.

Some More Photos of Himalayan  Marmots
A Marmot coming out from its burrow

A Marmot coming out from its burrow

If they sense something unusual they go inside their burrow immediately!

If they sense something unusual they go inside their burrow immediately!

Sitting comfortably!

(Himalayan Marmot) Sitting comfortably!

Sensing something unusual, my presence!

(Himalayan Marmot) Sensing something unusual, my presence!

Anupam, you seems to be a nice person! :-)

Himalayan Marmot saying, “Hello traveler, you seems to be a nice person! :-)”

Come Again!

Himalayan Marmot saying, “Come Again!”

So, should you be visiting Pangong Lake, remember this place for a stopover, where you may also see the Himalayan Marmots in their natural habitat.

It was 19th July, 2014, Rahman arrived at the hotel with his Innova in the early morning. Soon we reached the airport to catch our Delhi bound flight. As I was entering into the entry gate,I saw Rahman biding goodbye standing far behind. He is a nice chap and a good driver too. We still talk occasionally and those who take my suggestions, I give his contacts. Rahman and his brother Zakir Bhai (whom I met in Leh) are good drivers to be hired for Ladakh trip. They can be contacted in these numbers: Rahman – +91-94198-29355 and +91-97975-03213; Zakir Bhai – +91-96222-28576 and +91-94192-42966

Our driver Rahman at Chang La

Our driver Rahman at Chang La

My Glorious Moment at Chang La!

Sitting with the Lamas, all were so excited at world's third highest mountain Pass :-)

Sitting with the Lamas, all were excited at world’s third highest mountain Pass :-)

My Ladakh Diary about the places I have visited ends here and if I get an opportunity to visit Ladakh again, to see the places not covered in this trip, I will certainly tell you about them. But till that happens, I finally say to all of you-Julley!



  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Anupam ji,

    An excellent post, Kudos…. I am much tempted to Pangong lake since a few days. I was just waiting for such a post on Pangong Tso which would give me a real feel of the place and to my surprise it appeared before me today. Thanks a lot for sharing. Pics of Himalayan marmot were touching. In a nut shell the post have came out superb…..


    • Dear Mukesh ji,

      Hope you will soon be on the way to Pangong Tso. What a lovely place it is to be there and I am happy that you have decided to go there. My best wishes. Thanks for liking the post. :-)

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Anupam,
    Great Journey and excellent narration throughout. The pics are so tempting that any one who see will definitely rush for Ladakh. I can understand your feelings as I experienced the heavenly beauty of Ladhak during my road journeys, a couple of year back. Nice job Anupam.

    @ Nandan, spelling of a word under the caption “NOW, WHAT I DID IN TANGSTE?” needs correction. It is “Patience”, inadvertently mentioned as patient.

    Keep traveling

    • Dear Ajay,

      Thank you so much! Required correction is made. Thank you for bringing it to our notice. I believe that once is not enough for Ladakh. I wish it (Trip to Ladakh) will happen again with you and I wish the same for me too :-)

  • Arun says:

    Very well post Dada…keep it up.

  • Neel Kamal says:

    What a way to wrap up this dream…..a sincere thanks
    It was truly amazing journey to read through each of the posts in this series
    Julley !!

  • Uday Baxi says:

    Dear Anupam

    A very good series that had kept us captivated till the end. Throughout the series, the journey, its log and the photographs were awesome. It gave the most detailed account on the journey to Leh and about the place itself.

    Thanks a lot for sharing…

    Further, we are also waiting for the detailed account of your Kerala trip.


    • Dear Uday,

      Thank you so much for reading all the posts and also for your comments which always come brimming with lots of inspirations. Thanks for reminding me to write on my Kerala Trip. Yes, I will write them and they will come soon here at Ghumakkar.


  • Yadvinder Bharti says:

    Nicely compiled. Very Informative. Can u plz throw more light on JK Tourism Log Huts like do we need to book them in advance and tariff. Thanx

    • Dear Yadvinder Bharti

      Thank you for dropping by. Glad that you liked the post. We did not book them in advance. As I have mentioned in the post that the person who is running it is the contractor and running the Log houses as a stop gap arrangement. So I don’t know if he is still running it or J&K Tourism has taken over the property. Anyway, you may enquire with him at this address:

      BPO TANGTSE, DURBUK, Ladakh-194101
      Mobile No.+91-94198-18253
      WLL No.: 01981-201122

      Thanks and Regards
      Anupam Chakraborty

  • Naresh Sehgal says:

    Wonderful post Anupam. Full of information. The whole series has came out so good. Julley…..

  • Girish Krishnan says:

    A must see place. We had also been there in 2014 and though it was a hard journey, all our tiredness vanished at the sight of the lake.
    Had a wonderful time in the lake

  • suresh yadav says:

    mr. anupam u r correct but i suggest all to take a 2-3 hour tour of Leh city. I also Recommended to visit Museum of Indian Army on Leh to Srinagar road. a journey is incomplete without a visit to this museum as you know the whole history of Leh-Laddakh at one go. I was there in May with family and stayed at GANGBA HOMESTAY, such a nice place to stay.As in Leh there r only few hotels and best way to feel Leh is to stay in HOMESTAY. For all who r planing to go Leh i share mbl no. of Gangba Homestay 09999030382, Mr. Stanza is owner and will help you to planning your all itinerary. Its like your second home in Leh.
    Very delicious and tasty food and rooms r very comfortable.

  • Yes Mr Suresh Yadav, you are absolutely correct about the museum. It is named as Hall of Fame. I got the opportunity to visit the museum and it was really worth visiting the place. I wrote about it in my post no.10 of this present series which you may read here


  • Baldev swami says:

    Dear Anupam,
    Very nice post, and as wrote earier that I personnely feel that . it is not a easy job. But you have done it and remarkably describe it. so all compliments to you to enjoying me such a thrilling journey,
    wish you all the best, pls visit us whenever you plan for himachal,
    Thanks and regards,
    Baldev swami

    • Dear Baldev Swami

      I agree with you. Glad that you liked the series. Thank you very much for your invitation. Yes, I will surely visit to the more untouched part of Himachal. It was my honeymoon destination. So Himachal is always special to me :-)

      Thanks and Regards

  • silentsoul says:

    nicely written log with beautiful fotos. The log huts is a new thing and is better option than tents.

    You did Leh tour at good times, I heard there has been some fighting between tourists and local taxi walas, and some incidents of vandalising cars of tourists.

    Sad that such good story ended

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Julley Anupam.

    What a post ! The usual fluid description of your experience, usual super pics, usual all the relevant information and tips and then no-so-usual bonus at the end. Those marmots are saying thank you to you.

    This whole series is a gem at Ghumakkar. Thank you.

    @ SS – Yes, there has been quite a chaos there. Hope it settles soon.

    • Dear Nandan,

      Those marmots were very pretty. Thank you to them also for the postures :-) My efforts to write the series gets the nice acknowledgement from you. I am honoured.

      Thank you very much!

  • Pamela says:

    Dear Anupam,

    Awesome post, Kudos. I am planning to visit Leh Ladakh on next year, your post will help me a lot i guess. Thanks for sharing :)

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