Saturday, October 22, 2011

We Visited Leh - Part II - Pangong Tso

Trip to Pangong Tso – 2nd Oct

Having completed one day in house arrest, we were all rearing to go out the next day. Xylo driven by Nazeer arrived exactly at 8AM and all of us embarked the vehicle for our trip to Pangong Tso, located about 150 Km from Leh.
Wiki - Pangong Tso (or Pangong Lake; Tso: Ladakhi for lake) is an Endorheic Lake (a closed drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water such as rivers or oceans. ) in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.

The water is brackish and does not support any life. The sand on the bank of the lake is definitely the variety one finds on beaches. Understand that a number of fossils have been found in the vicinity of the lake.

Geologically, the origin of the Himalayas is the impact of the Indian tectonic plates traveling northward at 15 cm per year to impact the Eurasian continent, about 40-50 million years ago. The formation of the Himalayan arc resulted, since the lighter rock of the seabeds of that time were easily uplifted into mountains. An often-cited fact is that the summit of Mount Everest is made of marine limestone. Pangong Tso was also created due to the same geological phenomenon.

The roads are in good condition and we were able to reach Pangong Lake around noon. Once again we enjoyed the beauty of Himalayas – the ever changing landscape, sun playing tricks with the shadow and different hues of the rock face. Suddenly from nowhere the crystal clear deep blue of the lake hits you – you stand motion less in total amazement and awe. The sudden appearance of the lake is almost mystical. The colour, sheer vastness and the location of the lake amongst imposing mountains is sufficient to mesmerize any visitor. I had read a lot about the lake – but, what I saw was something awesome and inspirational – I was speechless and really did not know what to say. The beauty of the lake is so pure and serene – immediately a sense of calm and peace descends upon you.

We spent close to two hours basking in the glory of god and his creation.

We then proceed to the Army canteen and were treated to an excellent lunch of hot Rice, Rajma, sabzi and chapattis, courtesy 603 EME Battalion.

On the way back to Leh we stopped at 212 EME field workshop for tea and snacks. We got to view the Indian Army at close quarters.

An excellent and imposing view of Shey Palace -1
Greenery around Leh - 2

As we start the climb towards the lake - 3

The landscape is amazing - 4
The valley below - 5

The roads we traversed - mark the Z - 6

Some snow capped mountains  - 7
Chang la shrine - 8

Photo op with the gang - 9

Photo with the snow backdrop - to be shown to the neighbours - 10
The depth of the valley is simply amazing - 11

Another view of the landscape - 12

The browns continue to dominate - 13

Browns with a little bit of Grey - 14

All of a sudden the mystical blue appears from nowhere - 15
As much as I could capture - 16

From a different angle -17

With a brown backdrop - 18

Different views - 19
A historic moment for me - an achievement indeed!! - 21

Displaying a sense of satisfaction - 22

Poonam too excited for words - 23

Chits too is extremely happy and contended - 24

Birds resembling Seagulls have started visiting the lake since last 4 years - 25
A grand view of the lake - 26

A long view of the lake - 27
From another angle - what a view - 28

The Red is unimaginable - 30
The lake playing tricks with colour - 31
Creating stone formations for longevity of near and dear ones

A view from the army run canteen - 32
The Indian Army sums up the requirement for all - 33

On the way back - notice the sudden change in the landscape - 34
Local wild horse grazing  -36

The intersection with the old silk route.Roads leading to Pakistan and Zanskar - 37

Old habits die hard - 38

One of her requirements met - 40
Why miss the chance - In fact there was no snow as we went up - 41

Back again at Chang la - 17,586 ft - 42

With the Commanding Officer of 212 EME Field Workshop - 43

Leh by night -44

A lovely crescent shaped moon over the Army Mess -45
We returned to 603 EME battalion mess totally satisfied with what we saw.A miracle of nature - reminding us of a very distant past when continents were separated and life did not exist on earth.Standing face to face with Pangong lake was a mystical experience - another reminder how great nature is. 

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