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Pangong Tso (or Pangong Lake; Tso: Ladakhi for lake) is a lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,250 m (13,900 ft). It is 134 km (83.3 mi) long and extends from India to China. Two thirds of the length of this lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km (3 mi) wide at its broadest point. In winter, the lake surface freezes completely despite being salt water.

The lake is especially famous for its ever changing colors. One can find all hues of blues during the course of the day. The journey to this beautiful lake is just as breathtaking as the lake itself!

Pangong Tso can be reached in a five-hour drive from Leh, most of it on a rough and dramatic mountain road. The road traverses the third-highest pass in the world, the Changla pass, where army sentries and a small teahouse greet visitors. The spectacular lakeside is open during the tourist season, from May to September. A special permit is required to visit the lake. While Indian nationals can obtain individual permits, others must have group permits (with a minimum of four persons) accompanied by an accredited guide; the tourist office in Leh issues the permits for a small fee. For security reasons, India does not permit boating. There is a 7 room J&K Tourism Guest House which also houses a campsite, at Spangmik, the only village on the banks of lake. Most of its inhabitants herd sheep and goats and have quite recently given up nomadic ways. A significant temple stands below the peaks overlooking the village and the lake.

The brackish water of the lake is devoid of any micro-vegetation. Guides report that there is no acquatic life in the lake, no fish or crustaceans. On the other hand, visitors see numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface. There are some species of scrub and perennial herbs that grow in the marshes around the lake. The lake acts as an important breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. During summer, the Bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks are commonly seen here. The region around the lake supports a number of species of wildlife including the kiang and the Marmot.

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Additional Photos by Neelima me (I_WanderingSoul) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 111 W: 52 N: 88] (686)
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