About an hour in to the drive we left the plains behind and what we saw had us mesmerized. And we came to appreciate the beauty that is brown mountains with no support from green trees or white snow. All on their own, making patterns out of the various shades that make up brown, these rocky mountains stood tall, capturing everyone’s attention. And looked amazing whichever angle they were looked at.
Sometime we would spy the splattering of blue and green that is the effect of it. We would spy wild animals, heard of cow drinking their fill at these spots. We would also spot little 10-12 year old on the road, begging for a ride. The norm is that these kids are allowed to ride along, since they are making their way to or from school which are very far apart and most of these kids walk 10 Kms or more a day to get to them and back, which does not include the rides they catch. Puts our lives and all our so-called hardships in perspective, does it not?
Finally after 5 hours or so of bumpy and curvy high altitude ride we reached Pangong and were left speechless. The sheer vastness of the lake (it is 134 KM long), the clear blue water, the brown mountains surrounding it, the blue blue summer sky, with white clouds adding a splash of color to it all. Words cannot do justice to what the lake is, what that view is.
We were extra lucky since there was no one around. The kids we gave a ride to, ran off to finish their trek home. Most of the people who had made their way to the lake that day (they were very few) were sitting in the small hotel at the start of the lake (why would anyone want to do that is beyond me, but to each his own) so we had the lake all to ourselves. To gaze at..to take in the beauty of..to walk along the bank.
Our guide pointed out a few interesting facts about the Lake. Pangong is a endorheic lake which starts from India and goes on to China, with 60% of the lake being part of China. Pangong is also a salt water lake which is rare at that altitude, with no fish or any other form of aquatic life. And does freeze in winter despite having the high salt content. Once done he left us be, to explore and capture the beauty of Pangong the way we felt fit.
That was exactly what we did. Till it was time to turn back and make our way back to Leh.