Ladakh is a famous holiday destination for many reasons, especially for its majestic landscapes, enchanting snow-covered mountains, and rocky terrain. However, what cannot be ignored are also the high-altitude lakes in this region. This cold desert in Kashmir encompasses three beautiful lakes, namely the Pangong Tso Lake, Tso Moriri Lake, and Tso Kar Lake. A large number of tourists include a visit to these famous lakes in their Leh Ladakh trip. The shimmering sunshine reflecting from its waters allures loads of nature lovers to marvel the mesmerizing landscapes surrounding the glistering crystal clear, peaceful, and calm lakes.
Pangong Tso Lake
Pangong Tso Lake, also popularly known as Pangong Lake is situated 160kms from Leh. It is based at an altitude of around 4350m above sea level in the eastern part of Leh on the Changtang plateau. This lake is considered as one of the most popular tourist destinations after it featured in the super-hit Bollywood movie ‘3 Idiots’.
Interestingly, only one-third region of this lake is located in India, while the remaining rest lies in the Tibet region controlled by China. This is the world’s highest saltwater lake and derives its name from the Tibetan word, Pangong Tso, which also means ‘high grassland lake.’
You can sit here for hours and still not feel to have got enough of its outstanding charm. The crystal-clear blue waters stand in stark contrast to the snow-white and rocky mountains surrounding it. The lake is known for its fascinating trait of changing colors at different hours of the day. Your trip to Ladakh will definitely be incomplete if you do not visit this lake. You will be absorbed in its beauty, and words will fail to describe your experience.
Tso Moriri Lake
Tso Moriri Lake, also known as Moriri Lake, is located in Changthang. This lake is at an altitude of 15,075 feet in Leh and considered to be the largest lakes in the Trans-Himalayan region of India. You will find different varieties of migratory birds, marmots, rarely seen Tibetan wolves and other wildlife here, which further intensifies the beauty of this lake.
One of the most calm and sacred lakes, Tso Moriri, is also declared as the Wetland Conservation Reserve under Ramsar Convention in 2003. You are not allowed to construct tents or pitch anything alongside the banks of the lake. You can also enjoy the large variety of flora and fauna in this region. Tourists visit the lake to see the alluring emerald color of the lake and experience the peaceful feeling of pure isolation and tranquility.
Located at a distance of 250km from Leh, you can reach this lake via Leh-Manali highway passing through the remote region of Chumathang. The lakes completely freeze during the winters such that you can even walk on it. The snow starts to melt during April and thus transforms it into the multiple shades of blue water off the shores. The thawing of the frozen lake is a sight to remember for a lifetime. The place attracts many tourists from the month of May to August, making this one of the most visited places in Ladakh.
Tso Kar Lake
Leh Ladakh is in the list of the most beautiful places in the world, and adding to its beauty is the Tso Kar Lake. This vacillating salt lake attracts many tourists from all over the world. Made up of glistering blue waters, encompassed in the shimmering, shining mountains around it, the Tso Kar lake is a breathtakingly picturesque sight. You will feel completely liberated once you reach this lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains such as Thugie and Gursan. This lake is not only a popular tourist destination but also attracts a lot of wildlife and birds as well. Few among them are the Brahmni ducks, bar-headed geese, the great crested grebe, and black-necked cranes. It’s a great location for bird watchers.
Connected by a small stream, this natural beauty is also referred to as Twin Lake as the western part of the lake is salty, and the eastern part is full of freshwater. You can find accommodation at a short distance on the western banks of the lake. This lake attracts tourists all around the year, mainly because of its crystal-clear blue waters. If you are a lover of a bird lover, you will love to sit here and watch the different species of birds for hours. Besides birding, you can also include a plan to visit the Korzok Monastery in the itinerary of your Leh Ladakh trip.
Being placed at a high altitude, the winters here are extremely cold, taking the temperature down to minus 40 degrees. The best time to visit this place would be during the summers when the temperature rises to 30 degrees and drop to half of that creating a pleasant evening atmosphere. However, you will experience a lot of fluctuations in the temperature here during the daytime. Continuing the aura of these three famous lakes of Ladakh, there are few more unexplored lakes that you may want to discover.
Yarab Tso Lake
Yarab Tso Lake is a beautiful sacred lake located at a distance of 15kms away from the Diskit region of the Nubra valley. It is a splendid scenic lake surrounded by the village of Sumur. The crystal clear water of this lake compliments the barren land beautifully. You can reach this lake by walking uphill for around 15 minutes from Panamaik village.
Mirpal Tso Lake
This lake will most certainly bewitch you with its amazing beauty. Completely secluded from the eyes of tourists, this lake can be discovered once you traverse from Kaksang La. The lake is located close to Chusul. One end of the lake consists of freshwater, even when the lake’s bed looks sandy like a seashore.
Chagar Tso Lake. Another tranquil lake usually missed by travelers is the Chagar Tso Lake. It’s a small lake offering emerald-colored ambiance through its waters, creating a highly captivating view. This hidden gem is definitely worth visiting if you have more number of days on your Leh Ladakh trip.
Kyun Tso and Ryul Tso Lake
These two lakes are also being referred to as Chilling Tso Lake found at an altitude of around 5000m above sea level located near Nyoma and Hanle.
You cannot visit this lake without permits. You will find a limited number of tourists visiting this lake due to rough, risky roads to get there. What makes this place stand out is the beautiful way they are separate yet together. One lake is sweet, while the other is Brakish. The blue color on the surface makes this lake look admirable.
Kiagar Tso Lake
Kiagar Tso is a lesser-known lake situated near Tso Moriri on the Changthang plateau. Most of the visitors are not aware of the existence of this lake unless they strike a glance at it on the way to Spiti. This 3km long, 1.5km wide and 22metres deep lake is a saline lake with absolutely crystal-clear turquoise color water.
Tourists sometimes do take a halt here while moving forward to their campsite near Tso Moriri. The special attraction here is the stone plates inscribed by the Buddhists prayers here.
Stat Tso and Lang Tso Lake
Stat Tso and Lang Tso is again another twin lake situated in the Zanskar region of Ladakh at 5000m above the sea level. Located adjacent to each other, these tiny and charming lakes are easily accessible and have a unique aura of their own. This is a must-visit location for offbeat travelers as they offer a calm and composed atmosphere. The amazing vibes you feel from the crystal clear waters and pristine snow-covered mountains will take you to another world.
Everyone who wishes to add any of these lakes in their travel itinerary needs to prepare well in advance. As some of these lakes are located at a great height and remote areas where there may be limited access to necessities like food, water, and electricity. It’s important to be prepared and carry all the essentials required to keep you going.
These gorgeous lakes definitely cannot be missed for anyone planning a trip to Ladakh. Also, while visiting these beauties, do keep in mind about hygiene and maintain cleanliness. Capture the unknown in your memories forever by making a trip to these most beautiful lakes in Ladakh.