How I planned to see Ladakh in winter

Route we would traveled today –
Chumathang -> Mahe -> Sumdo -> Tso Moriri -> Sumdo -> Tso Kar -> Debring -> Tanglang La -> Rumtse -> Upshi -> Karu -> Leh

Night in Chumathang was quite comfortable due to its proximity with hot springs. Rigzin already informed us that the journey today will be lot more prolonged and tiring than any other. Therefore we started our journey after a light breakfast without any delay. Although Rigzin had advised us fill our stomach full before leaving, but nobody had any intention of having heavy breakfast this morning (There’s a long story in Rigzin’s advise ;)).

Well, we started with great enthusiasm & reached Mahe bridge where we were stopped by the check post. From here till Sumdo, the roads were in good condition and after that it’s only the dirt track.

Changthang Plateau

We were traveling in changthang region. This is the most isolated route, homeland of mystically beautiful lakes & Changpas(nomadic shepherds found in this high altitude plateau).

The route is spectacular surrounded by gigantic & mighty mountains of various shades. To our surprise, we were the only travelers on this trail, so you may think that we had this region completely to ourselves 😉

Before reaching Tso Moriri, a small frozen lake peeking through the mountains which suddenly appeared to us out of nowhere. We mistakenly considered this lake tso moriri but Rigzin made the correction and we got it’s name – Kyagar Tso.

Beautiful Kyagar Tso

We continued our journey because we would stop here on coming back from Tso moriri. Now we are traveling through the vast dirt fields. We were at an elevation of approx 14000 ft but seeing the boundless highlands of Changthang it was hard to believe.

Soon I realized that the real beauty of Ladakh isn’t only in seeing the places rather it is that the feeling of being in all alone, pure, unadulterated wilderness. There ain’t many places on earth where you will have this feeling, trust me & Changthang region is one of those.

The kiangs or Tibetan wild ass, are common in the grasslands of Changthang

It’s really a treacherous drive to reach up to lake but once you get there it’s all worth and you forget all the pain.

About Tso Moriri

This is largest of the high altitude lakes settled entirely in India in the Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region. Situated at an elevation of 4522 meter you need to cover pretty long 240 Kms from Leh to reach the lake (6-7 hrs). It is all surrounded by many 6000 meter towering himalayan peaks.

Tso Moriri is an administratively declared Wetland Reserve & actual known as Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve, so pitching your own tent near the lake is strictly prohibited. It attracts a large number of wildlife and various high altitude species of migrated birds.

It was seen frozen in our first sight, then another few meters it transformed into the combination of white,blue & black.

Moving forward it was seen in blue and green shade.

and further moving up we found it completely blue. Multiple transformations in a single lake, surprising to all of us.

A perfect picturesque landscape of majestic blue lake which has various shades of blue. The temperature must have been -14° at that time, but it felt much warmer because of bright sunshine.

We could not get permission to go till Korzok as Alissa was with us, had to stop before Korzok. We were little disappointed because we couldn’t stay there, but we all spent a good amount of time there. The beauty of this place makes it so amazing & romantic, even if you are adoring it from any angle.

The place is extremely remote and difficult to survive especially in winter nights. We didn’t find anybody around us except only a Himalayan dog.

Journey continued in Changthang region..

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