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Pangong Lake

Magnificent and stunning are some of the terms that strike you on reaching Pangong Tso Lake. This lake is situated in the higher reaches of mighty Himalayas. It lies in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir. Meaning an enchanted lake in Tibet, Pangong Tso Lake extends from India to Tibet, covering a distance of 134 kilometers. Located at a height of about 4,350 meters, this lake is 5 km wide.

The drive to Pangong Tso Lake from Leh is beautiful, covering the mountain range and monasteries. Earlier, this lake had a channel to Shyok River, a tributary of Indus River, which is now closed. However, this lake doesn’t have any fish or other aquatic life due to its saline waters. Water of the lake freezes in winters, despite its salinity.

This lake is a significant breeding ground for several migratory birds. During summer season, visitors can easily spot bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks as well as interesting wildlife species of kiang and Marmot. With serene tranquil sights and mesmerizing views, this place is a paradise for tourist holidays and movie shootings. Known for beautiful skies and quiet scenic beauty, visitors can also stay in camps near the lake to enjoy its magnificence. This lake changes colors every season, offering a remarkable sight.

Currently, this place is being considered to be included in Ramsar Convention for conservation of wetlands. However, in case that happens, Pangong Tso Lake will be the foremost trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the convention.

For security reasons, boating is not allowed on the waters of Pangong Tso Lake.

Disputes Over the Lake

Lying in a disputed terrain, Line of Actual Control passes through Pangong Tso Lake. China controls a segment of the lake, just about 20 km east from the Line of Actual Control, which is being claimed by India as part of its territory. This lake’s eastern end spreads in Tibet, not claimed by India. Western end holds no clash.

Post mid-19th century, Pangong Tso Lake stretched to southern end of the supposed Johnson Line, which was a shot at separation involving India and China in Aksai Chin region. Pangong Tso stands at a border point along the LOC. It’s a common spot of Chinese invasion.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Pangong Tso Lake is from May to September. However, visitors require an Inner Line Permit to visit this lake because it lies on the Sino-Indian LAC.


Seen in the movie 3 Idiots, Pangong Tso Lake has become a major tourist attraction and is visited by people from all over the globe.

How to Reach

Pangong Tso is easily accessible. It’s an adventurous five-hour drive from Leh, lying at a distance of 160 kilometers. Leh is located 434 km away from Srinagar and 474 km away from Manali.

Reaching the place is easy and adventurous. The road to Ladakh from Kargil valley stays open from early June to November and the road from Manali opens from mid June to early October. J&K State Road Transport Corporation also runs buses from Srinagar to Ladakh.

Ladakh has an airport that’s well connected with regular flights from Jammu, Srinagar and New Delhi.

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