Ladakhi Changthang which constitutes the eastern flat lands of Ladakh is known for its capacious landscapes, expansive lakes, the infinite pure blue sky, the frigid deserts and most of all, for the feeling of wonderful solitude it awakens deep within you. A far cry from keyboards, cell phones, the maddening traffic and the blaring horns of the city.
The trek to Changthang began on the third day (we spent the first two days acclimatising) when we, along with our bikes, started our journey to the Tso Moriri lake which is about 250km from Leh. The route to Tso Moriri is exquisite and changed dramatically with every mile we covered. The closer we got to the lake, the more the habitation lessened till there was barely any sign of human life. It felt eerie and adventurous all at once, like explorers on undiscovered terrain. The roads began to merge with the mud land and gradually disappeared altogether as we reached Tso Kiager lake.
The last 35 km stretch is probably the hardest and to make things even better thanks to my punctured bike the last kilometre had me pulling my 350cc metal beast at an altitude of more than 15,000 feet! Therefore at this point I find it necessary to dish out some handy advice: If you are renting a bike, then make sure you get one that is in decent condition. I made a mistake of renting an old one and paid duly for it.
Somehow eventually we finally did make it to Tso Mori and the view before us made all of the effort more than worth it. It was as though I was in a dream. We stayed in a home stay in a cosy little hut that belonged to a local and I experienced what it might feel like to be on top of the world, literally.
After a memorable day and an exceptional night at Tso Moriri, there was another call from yet another giant and well known lake – Pangong Tso – 150km from Leh town. Roads to it are well-tarred, the only big hurdle being a 17,000 ft high pass: the Mighty Changla, described such because of its steepness. The landscape completely transforms as soon as you cross the Changla, broadening with lush green scenery.
I would call this route the best in the world for its exemplary beauty and the well maintained roads. There are no words to describe the plethora of emotions running through one’s entirety when you catch the first glimpse of Pangong Tso. It’s humongous and wide, spreading its magnificence in ripples through its splendid aquamarine depths.
Once again we stayed in a hut in Spangmik, a small village 8km away from Lukung, which had gorgeous views of the lake. I would definitely recommend spending a night here to witness the magical transformation of the landscape at night. The stars are out and they’re reflected in the lake and this symphony is upheld by the majestic mountains creating a vision that I’ll never forget.
Written & Photographed by: Inderjit Singh