Pangong Tso Lake is Ladakh’s top tourist destinations. Every year thousands come here to witness its pristine natural beauty. The lake, at an altitude of 14500 ft., is 140 Kms away from Leh. One needs to cross the Chang la Pass located at 17590 ft to reach it. If you think altitude sickness will put a damper on your trip, then fear not. The below 5 things are sure to put a smile on your face.
BRO Road Signs:
Border Roads Organisation or BRO is a premier defense organization responsible for building and maintaining road networks in the Indian Border Areas. Himank, a project of BRO in Ladakh, is tasked with construction and maintenance of roads on the three high mountain passes – Khardung La (17582 ft.), Chang La (17590 ft.), and Taglang La (17480 ft.). Project Himank’s work ensures access to sensitive military areas viz. Pangong Tso Lake, and Siachen Glacier – World’s highest Battleground.
Project Himank’s road sign boards provide safety instructions with a fantastic sense of humor. Keep an eye out for their sign boards, and you shall not be disappointed.
Himalayan Marmots, a close relative of the squirrel, are exclusive to the Ladakh region in India. The cuddly cute Marmots are the closest you come to a real life Pikachu. We were lucky to find them on our way to Pangong Tso lake after crossing the Chang La Pass. In addition, they can also be spotted near Khardung La Pass, along the vast flat lands near Tso Moriri lake, and in the Zansakar valley.
If you manage to get near them, then offer them food like bananas, and wait to see the drama unfold among the Marmots. I assure you that they will leave you in splits with their crazy antics.
Rancho Cafe at Pangong Lake:
On reaching Pangong Tso, be prepared to be mesmerized by the lake. However, before you set sights on the lake, you will be greeted by a chain of restaurants that all derive their name from the character Rancho in 3 Idiots. We stood there, laughing, trying to find one cafe that wasn’t named after either 3 Idiots or Rancho, but we couldn’t. Every restaurant seemed so busy piggybacking on 3 Idiot’s success, that they forgot how bizarre and unoriginal they all looked.
Tourists Posing with the Yellow Scooter:
Another relic of 3 Idiots, that features prominently at Pangong Tso lake is the yellow scooter on which Kareena Kapoor arrives in the final scene. Today, a smart entrepreneur has installed a similar scooter at the Pangong Tso lake. He finds a sufficient number of idiots willing to pay him money to take a photo with the yellow scooter. Considering, the terrain and altitude at which Pangong Tso lake is situated, it is highly improbable, if not impossible for someone to reach there by scooter. However, that does not deter people from going shutter crazy with the scooter.
Yak Rides at Pangong Lake:
At most Indian beaches, one can ride a camel or a horse. But if you fancy riding a yak along a lake shore then Pangong Lake is the place to visit. Here, native Yak herders, the earliest inhabitants of Ladakh, are utilizing their Yaks to provide joy rides. I am an animal lover, and it saddens my heart to see such a fine animal being decorated and used for providing joy rides. Most tourists, however, do not share my opinion. So you can watch men and women of all shapes and sizes trying to get on an undersized and even an underfed yak. We heard stories of Yaks running away leaving the person on them hanging for their lives. I am not sure if these stories are true, but if they are then it would be a truly funny sight.