K2K: A JOURNEY FROM SKY TO OCEAN by Captain Suraj Singh Thakur of Indian Army – Part 3

LEH LADHAK CHAPTER

  1. Introduction: It took me precisely 3 months to explore the whole of the Leh Ladhak region. You must be amazed to know why I took 3 months for such a place like Leh Ladhak. For me, even these 3 months were less. Wherever I went in Leh Ladhak throughout my journey, I at least stayed there for 10-15 Days and the reason being for such a diverse weather condition and different altitude you have to stay at places for a number of days and it’s nothing better than to stay at such a place with serenity where people are coming from all over the world to enjoy the beauty of the mighty Himalayas and its serenity. Leh Ladhak is literally the land of the high passes, separates the peaks of the western Himalayas from the vast Tibetan Plateau. Ladhak is often called “Little Tibet” due to similarities in topography and culture nearby Tibet.
  2. Geography: Ladhak is bound by mountains. To the north lies the mighty peaks of Rimo and Teram, Kangri in the Ladhak range mark the border with China while in the south, the slopes of the Stok range grow in size until they merge with Zanskar mountain region. In the west, the snow-capped peaks of Nun and Kun are the gatekeepers of the great Himalayas.
  3. Leh – Karu – Chang La – Durbuk – Tangste – Pangong Tso: Distance from Leh to Pangong Tso is approximately 150 km and it’s gonna be a 5-hour Journey. In between, you will come across the mentioned towns/passes:

 (a) Leh: Once you complete with your perfect acclimatisation at Leh, you can proceed to Leh market and then river rafting at Sangam where two rivers – Indus River & Zanskar River, both with different water colours unite. At Leh, it is dominated by dilapidated nine – storey Leh Palace, home to the La Dakhi royal family, Hall of fame are some of the tourists’ favourite hot spot.

 (b) Karu: Distance from Leh to Karu is approximately 30 Km and Karu is famous for its beautiful monasteries like Hemis monastery and Thiksey Monastery, and believe me, both monasteries were worth visiting.

 (c) Chang La: It’s famous for the world’s 3rd Highest Motorable pass and sudden changes in weather condition and pass is generally located at avalanche prone zone. So you better hurry up spend less time at this location.

 (d) Durbuk – Tangste – Pangong Tso: Once you cross Chang La, it’s gonna be a hard nutshell to crack till Soltak because you are gonna ride all along the avalanche prone zone and existing route track. It was just, Oh My God. Once you cross Soltak, it’s a clean sweep till Pangong Tso.

 (e) Pangong Tso: Ladhaki people call it the Lake of thousand colours. Pangong Tso is surrounded by mainly three mountain ranges: Angtong Mountain ranges towards its north, Changchemo ranges towards its east and Pangong ranges towards its west. Pangong Tso lake is divided between India and China in which India is having 1/3rd part of it and the rest is in China. This place has always been one of the famous tourist destination spots for the people. This place has come into limelight after a superhit movie named 3 Idiots in which the last scene of the movie was shot. Tourists generally came here to see 3 Idiots point and the majestic Pangong Tso lake. A piece of advice for riders: there is no refuelling station at Pangong Tso (Lukung), so get locked and loaded at Leh only or carry extra fuel with you. A place to stay at Pangong Tso is Chang La Queen Resort or the so-called Ladhak Hut which is under J&K tourism. It is a beautifully maintained hut on the bank of Pangong Tso Lake just 2 km away from the one of the happening tourist destination 3 Idiots point. Rate list of the resort is quite reasonable.

 (i) Distance: 150 Km Approximately.

 (ii) Place to Stay: Chang La Queen Resort.

  1. Pangong Tso – Spangmik – Man – Merak – Chushul – Razang La – Nyoma – Mahe – karzok – Tso Morari Lake: After exploring on to Pangong Tso lake for your further journey, you will be riding all along the Pangong Tso lake. Though after Spangmik village, there is no existing road track available for your further journey. So in short, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride throughout but believe me, it’s worth riding as it saves your time for the further journey towards the north-eastern part of Ladhak which comprises of another beautiful lake named Tso Morari Lake. In between, you will come across Razang La war memorial, Mahe valley and then Tso Morari Lake. This particular trip is gonna take you another day.

 (a) Razang La: Being a citizen of this country, you must know the importance of Razang La. During 1962 Indo – China War, this place was defended by Major Shaitan Singh and his company where the famous battle, The Battle of Razang La, was fought against very heavy odds. A group of people showed extraordinary courage and fought till the last men and the last bullet. You must go there and pay tribute to the martyrs.

 (b) Tso Morari Lake: Beautiful Tso Morari salt water lake is surrounded by barren hills. The length of the lake is approximately 28 km long and 8 km wide and 4000 m above sea level. During the peak winter season, the whole of the lake gets frozen and generally, local people use it for ice skating. Tso Morari Lake is another example of the outstanding Ladhaki scenery. A permit is required to visit Rupsu Valley. Also, local venders are available at Tso Morrari for petrol refuelling.

To Be Continued…

NOTE: This article continues the journey of Captain Suraj Singh Thakur of Indian Army. To read all the articles of K2K, click HERE.

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