Ladakh Day 3 : Visit to Pangong Lake
14th August is Kabir’s birthday. We all wished him. This birthday was special, because this was the first birthday after his engagement and he was not with his fiancé. As planned yesterday, Sid told Sameer to bring bouquet and gift. Our guest house lady owner comes with smile and handed over gift to Kabir. This gift was special. This gift was not from our side, it’s from Kabir’s fiancé. She has asked Sid to make all arrangement and make this day special for him. Kabir. Sid, Raju, Kabir and Me had no idea about gift. We all were excited to see what the gift is. Kabir unwrapped and opened it and was Thermos. Sid and I looked each other and smiled. Sameer was useless. He made a huge mistake; I mean who could bring Thermos as a birthday gift.
Sid asked: “Sameer, what is this?”
Sameer: “This is the only thing I got here”.
Sid thought for some time and kept quite. It was pointless to make an argument with Sameer. He totally made a mess.
Our driver arrived at 7:00 AM. We have rented Maruti Suzuki EECO car because
1. We had comfortable ride to palace and shanti stupa and
2. Our budget was limited. Sameer wants to take video of journey and rest of us just wanted to enjoy. Sameer got front seat. Raju and I sat in middle seats. Kabir and Sid got back seats. We also ensured music player should be in working condition. We inserted our tour-default-music CD which includes Zindgi na Milegi Doobara(ZNMD), Dil Chahta hai, 3-idiots, Rang de Basanti and some mix songs. We were all set to go. We came to main road street. TSEWANG (driver’s name) stopped car and went to talk with his relative/friend or I don’t know who he was. After few minutes, he came and started car. We took left turn which connects to highway road. The distance between Leh and Pangong Tso(Pangong Lake) is about 180 km.
The song started from movie ZNMD:
“Hey hey, chalo na
Dhoondhe shehar naya
Jahaan muskurahatien hain bikhri, jahaan se gum ka mausam gaya
Jahaan meethi baatein, har ik ajnabi se ho
Bhule hum bhi jo saari fikrein
Lamha lamha khushiyan bikhrein
Idhar udhar aur yahan wahan
Jayein wahin dil kahe jahaan
Baby baby baby
Kab tak giney, hum dhadkane
Dil jaise dhadke dhadakne do
Kyun hai koi aag dabi
Shola jo bhadke bhadakne do”
We were enjoying each word of the lyrics. Let me tell you ZNMD movie was reason behind this trip. This movie has inspired people like us to explore new place.
TSEWANG showed us place where Dalai Lama would prey and stay. We were getting excited, watching every mountain, landscapes eagerly. Suddenly Sameer asked to stop the car. We looked each other face in surprise. He got out from Car and Puke. I told to my self this is not happening. Raju gave water to him. Sameer needed rest so we headed back to Guest house. We drop him and re-started our trip. Our mood was some what down, not because we have left Sameer but because we wasted our precious 30 mins J. The hunger-python started to wrap all of us. We reached Karu(Aprx: 36 KM from Leh). Till now road was pretty good. All of us wanted to eat some spicy and buttery breakfast. Kabir asked TSEWANG “Can we get Aloo paratha ?” and he nodded. Thank god after 3 days we got some Punjabi national breakfast.
The real journey started after Karu. From Karu Leh is almost 120 km. The road was not that good. Slowly, slowly we were going towards top of Mountains. Sid and I were busy clicking landscapes pictures. We saw Snow Mountains, farms, Rock Mountains. Each turn we took, got our adrenaline high. We saw trucks, 4-wheelers, 2-wheelers slowly disappearing in mighty mountains. The snow near Changla Pass was nearest we saw, yet we cannot go and touch it. We reached Himank, world’s third highest road. We took little break, drank lemon tea. We still need to cover long distance. During our second half of trip, we saw some amazing landscapes and also Marmots. It was nice to watch them. I tried to take some pictures of them, but they are very shy, I only got couple of clicks of them.
At each turn we saw mind-blowing landscapes, and wonder how on earth this could be possible. After some time we saw a small blue color between mighty mountains and it was Pangong Lake. We screamed. The first view of Pangong Lake was totally out of this world. After some time we reached there. We came out of the car and ran towards the lake. Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. There were not many visitors.
I don’t have words to describe this scenic place. We have not seen such clean blue water till date. We spent almost 2-3 hrs. We took our lunch at the small-snacks stall.
It was time to leave this beautiful place. I remember the poetry from ZNMD.
The moment seems to flow like a molten sapphire and there’s deep blue silence,
Neither there is earth below, nor sky above,
The rustling branches, leaves are saying that only you are here,
Only me, my breath and my heartbeat,
Such deepness, such loneliness and me…only me,
It all makes me believe in my existence.
The return journey was full of adventures. We all want to take some rest. I tried to get power nap in car. It was barely 10-15 mins, a sudden bump on road woke me up and I thought to sacrifice my sleep. I saw everybody was going through same problem. Our roller coaster ride just stared. We were near to reach Hamnik and show a car was stuck. TSEWANG tried to get passed this car, but could not. We were on the sloppy road. Raju and I get down reducing the weight of car. I saw one person trying to push the stuck car. I helped him and car was running again. I saw Raju sitting at corner of road and he puke. The thin air started to make its effect. Our energy was totally down. After some time we reached Hamnik. I saw Kabir and Raju were not well. We took 15-20 mins break, drank Lemon tea. The breeze was quite cold. We get back into car. After some time, everyone except driver fall to sleep. The journey was not exhausted but tiring. We reached at Guest house round 7:30 PM. We decided to take dinner at Guest House. We saw Sameer and he looked fine, but Raju’s was not looking good. I hoped, he should be ready for tomorrow’s trip.