A road leading to nowhere.
Emptiness stretching all around.
Suddenly a blue behemoth rises.
Nestled in between the mountains, hidden from civilisation.
The hidden paradise.
Largest of the high altitude lakes entirely in India.
Around 60% of Pangong Tso lies in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Spanning 3-5 km in width and around 26 km in length.
At a height of 14,836 ft., it is higher than Pangong Tso.
Being a part of Tsomoriri wetland conservation reserve, construction and pitching tents along the banks of the lake are prohibited.
The Lake remains frozen between January to March, so the best time to visit the lake is in summers.
Altitude sickness should really be taken into consideration here and spare oxygen cylinders definitely be carried.
Not yet fawned over in movies and thus without the wave of tourists, it still retains the air of a mystic, undiscovered place.
And that is why you should definitely plan a trip to Tsomoriri.
The frozen jagged ice blocks seen along the banks of Tsomoriri.
Typically frozen from January to March, it is best to visit the lake during May, June or July.
Visiting the Lake in May, I found the lake half frozen.
The lake was frozen towards the eastern side and had melted towards Karzok village on the western side.
From a vantage point.
Karzok village is located on the northwest bank of Tsomoriri Lake.
Considered to be one of the highest permanent settlements in the world.
Once on the Central Asian trade route and the headquarters of Rupshu valley, now the village holds around 250 households.
Herds of grazing sheep along the vast plains adjoining the lake.
A perfect landscape to bring alive the legend of Tsomoriri.
They say a small girl called “Tsomo” from the village Karzok ran after her Yak yelling “Ri,Ri” (How ladakhi’s call their cattle)
As she stepped on the frozen lake, the lake swallowed up the girl and the yak establishing the legend that is “Tsomoriri”
The Way Back
This small village around 80 kms from Tsomoriri can be easily overlooked. Boasting of only a handful of eateries and a few lodges it appears as nothing special. Explore further though and you will come across small bodies of boiling water. The natural hot springs of Chumathang. Having high content of Sulphur, they are said to be medicinal. You will find hot water baths in many of the lodges.
After a gruelling drive, it can be a good place to rest and recoup.
If you look around you will also find a very old bridge made of only wood and stone. Fascinating to have a look into the engineering minds and the ingenuity of a time gone by.
Around 20 kms from Leh you will come across
Established in the 15th century, Thiksey monastery is famous for the Maitreya Temple which is home to the Maitreya Buddha Statue. The statue 49 ft high is the largest such statue in Ladakh covering two stories of the building.
The Maitreya Buddha Statue.
The Statue portrayed to be seated in Lotus position was established to commemorate the visit the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1970. It took around 4 years to build.
The Bhavacakra ( Wheel of Life)
Insignia images of a bird, snake and pig in the centre of the wheel.
Depicting attachment, ignorance and aversion.
The second layer representing Karma
The third layer representing the six realms of samsara
The fourth layer representing the twelve links of dependent origination.
The figure holding the wheel being Impernanence.
The moon representing liberation.
The Buddha pointing to the moon indicating the possibility of liberation.
What better way to end the journey than thinking over the profound message and trying to find peace....