Sunday, August 18, 2013

Trip to Leh - Part III - Pangong Lake and Leh Local

Jullay! Welcome back for the final episode of our Ladakh trip. As we were planning our trip the pictures that impressed us most were those taken near and around Pangong Lake. I mostly had that image in my mind while traveling there and this leg of the trip was the one I most looked forward to.

After our trip to Nubra Valley we had a day in between before leaving to Pangong Lake. The day was for local trips around Leh. We visited a few ancient monasteries. Learned quite a lot about Buddhism, Buddhist sculptures and representations of Buddha in forms I have never seen before. I had assumed that Buddhists have only one form and that was of the Buddha himself. I was wrong.

War Museum - a must see!
On our second day of the local Leh trip we first stopped at the War Museum which is run by the army and dedicated to the soldiers who fought in the Indo Pak wars. This is a visit not to be missed and if possible to be visited before you embark on any trip inside Ladakh. Our itinerary had this on the last leg. Ask your tour operators to move it around so you visit it first. Besides teaching about the history of the Ladakh region and the sacrifices of the soldiers who fought to preserve it from foreign invasions it gives you a good idea of the geographic area, flora, fauna, the regions of Ladakh and their importance. All good information for a tourist visiting the area. No brochure provided as much information as this museum did. Once you have information available to you planning your trips inside Ladakh can be better organized around places you most want to visit. I figure this is possible only if you have an assigned vehicle.

Likir Monastery - Buddha
One of the next places we visited in Leh - a place that made all of us happy - water. Yes! The confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers. The amount of water that flows in those rivers has to be seen to be believed. The water looks pretty calm on the surface but the currents beneath the calm exterior is got to be swift. We were warned not to test it when DD2 tried to get into the water and wade into it.

Confluence - Indus and Zanskar
Pangong Lake
The trip to Pangong Lake was every bit as impressive as the trip to Nubra on the mountains and the altitude related problems not as bad as the altitude was not as high as Nubra or by the time we had adjusted well to high altitudes. The landscape near this side of the mountains were much different than those on the way to Nubra - more greenery and streams flowing.

This meant more animals yak, donkeys and smaller ones like the marmot.

Black and White Yak!!
Since the route did not require climbing any high mountains it was much more pleasant trip than to Nubra but I had other problems like a fever to fight and I crashed in the tents after taking a tour of the lake which was as beautiful as many of the pictures that I had seen. This is also a salt water lake.

First view of Pangong Lake!

The view from the tents were fantastic with just a short walk to the water and a tiny sliver of a stream with water from the mountains which emptied into the lake running just near our tents. Pretty Yes! The flow of the water stopped in the night though Quiz! How? As the temperatures dropped the melting also stopped. The rest of the beauty like the moonrise, sunrise, wading in the water etc., were conveyed to me as I was snug in the tent fighting the fever. Anyway lucky for me the fever was gone the next day and by the time we reached Leh I was almost back to normal.

Tents near Pangong Lake.
I have told you enough about the beauty of the mountains on the way. Since it is hard to sleep when we are traveling on mountain roads and hence very hard to miss the beauty that is all around. We stopped in the meadows took in the beauty of the water and the goat herd mending her goats. Goats looked like pygmy goats much shorter than the ones on the plains.

Pangong Lake (the tiny stream from near the tent is visible)
Apricots While in to not miss a visit the market and buy fresh apricots. These apricots are the size of olives and much sweeter than the apricots that we generally get here in the US. With apricots tree everywhere your morning breakfast would invariably have apricot jam on the table. Our hotel had a few apricot tress and the areas in and around Leh and Nubra valley had a lot of these apricot trees.

Apricot tree near Alichi monastery
I have talked much about our wonderful driver and I will amiss if I do not show his picture. Here he is.

I will end these series of posts with these words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Jullay!

Other in this series

  • Trip to Leh, Ladakh - Part II - Nubra Valley
  • Trip to Leh, Ladakh - Part I - Delhi and Leh

    1. This is the second time I've gone through this post ISG, and I keep coming back to "you should write more travelougues" :) I have only one word... stellar!

      Your photos are gorgeous and the details you point out really add to the armchair experience. I only wish you hadn't had fever :( OK, I also wish I could visit that magical place too :)

      Fav pics in the last installment -- the gorgeous first blue view of Pangong Lake, the apricot tree, your driver, the yaks (!), the confluence... I give up! I loved them all :)

    2. Such beautiful pictures Indo. The apricot tree, the yellow flowers, the place looks gorgeous. How long was your trip?

    3. wow!such a delightful collection of snaps,it is always great to know about places...the board displaying the writing is touching :-)


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