20 must-visit lakes in Ladakh
6 months ago
Tso or Lakes are must visit on your trip to Ladakh. There are some of the most beautiful lakes in Ladakh. With mountains and snow surrounding them it makes them a must visit site for photography and camping. These lakes have some geographical differences though. There are four types of lakes preset in the North region.
- Glacial lakes: Formed in and around glaciers
- Structural lakes: formed by movements in earth’s crust (e.g. Nainital lake in Nainital)
- Remnant lakes: originally structural but represent the remnants of vast lakes (e.g., Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, Pangong Tso and Dal Lake in Kashmir),
- Naturally dammed lakes i.e., temporary water bodies formed along with the river courses due to deposition of rocks or debris e.g. Gohna Tal in Uttarakhand.
Below given are a few types of lakes that you can visit on your trip to Ladakh.
1) Pangong Tso
Lying in the eastern region of Ladakh, Pangong Tso is the biggest Lake in Ladakh. It is 134 km wide and covers 604 sqkm. 60% of this lake area lies in the disputed region of Tibet. It has high salinity because of which it has almost minimal to no life forms inside. But it acts as the main breeding area for a lot of species of birds.
It is an endorheic lake, which means its water doesn’t meet any sea or other water body. It was formed millions of years ago when the Indian continental plate collided with the Eurasian continental plate. It was originally a sea, which got reduced to a sea lock after the collision. That’s the main reason why the lake has such high salt levels. The lake completely freezes during the winter season.
2) Tso Moriri
Lying in the southern direction of Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri lies in the South-Western region of the Ladakh. It is the second-largest lake in Ladakh. It lies on the Changthang Plateau. It is 26 Km long and about 4 km wide. Because of high alkaline content in the water, it has very low levels of algae in it, which makes the lake transparent and very beautiful to watch. It is also an endorheic lake that initially had outflows but got blocked out completely in the southern region. It is a wetland sanctuary. Many unique flora and fauna species exist in the area. Tso Moriri is very much worth visiting because of the transparent waters and beautiful surrounding area of Changthang Plateau.
3) Tso Kar
Lying about three hours from Leh, it lies in the Rupshu Plateau. It lies in the Southern region of Ladakh. It is a small lake that has about 8 sqkm areas. It is a salt lake that is known for its fluctuating size. Because of the high salinity of the lake, it was until recent times, remain a main source of salt for the Nomad tribes that lived near the lake. They exported the salt to Tibet and other regions.
Although the Lake is a salt lake, the inlets of Tso Kar are non-saline which makes it rich in the floating vegetables, water weeds, and bushes. If you’re lucky, you can also spot the rare black neck cranes, Tibetian gazelles, and wolves in the lake area.
Lying south to Tso Kar, it is an Inland lake. Tso Kar along with Startspauk lake has an area of 9 sqkm. It is like a basin to Tso Kar. The banks of this lake are rich in flora and fauna as the non-saline water entering in the Tso Kar lake passes through this lake. It is fed by spring and snow water of Himalayas.
5) Chandra Tal
Lying south to Leh, Chandratal lake lies 185 Km from Leh. It is the origin of the Chandra River. It is a very popular trekking spot. Chandra lake is on Samudra Plateau. It is 1 km long and about ½ km in width. The best time to visit Chandratal lake is from June third week to November the first week because of the road conditions of Manali Leh Highway.
6) Suraj Tal
Suraj Tal lake lies close to Chandra Tal Lake. It is the origin of the Bhaga river, which meets Chandra river eventually forming the Chenab river. It is about 4 Km wide. The water in Suraj Tal lake is fed by springs originating in the Baralacha-la pass. It is also a popular trekking destination. Suraj Tal is the Third highest lake in India.
7) Deepak Tal
Deepak Tal lies close to Suraj and Chandra Tal Lakes. It is found on the Manali-Leh highway. It lies at about 3000 altitudes. It is a very small lake flanked by huge Himalayan mountains. It is a popular camping site. It lies at about 23 km from Mulkia Glacier.
8) Yarab Tso
Yarab Tso lake lies in the northern region of Ladakh close to Siachen Glacier. It lies in the Nubra Valley. It is considered as a sacred lake in Nubra Valley and visitors are instructed not to wash their feet in the lake. It’s a hidden lake having transparent waters. It is situated about 15 Km from the Sumur Village. Close to Yarab Tso lake lie Panamik hot water springs.
9) Mirpal Tso
Mirpal Tso is one of the less popular lakes in the Ladakh Region. It is one of the highest lakes at the height of 3000m. It has sandbanks and is located in the Chusul region which is about 200 km from Leh. Kaksang la pass just lies atop this lake.
10) Stat Tso Lang Tso
Stat tso and Lang tso lake are located at a height of 5000m. These lakes mark the highest point of Zanskar Valley. Stat Tso and Lang Tso are twin lakes situated adjacent to each other. The route leading to these lakes are tough ones. That is why they are relatively lesser traveled and lesser-known among travelers.
11) Kiagar Tso
Kiagar Tso also known as Thadsangkaru lies close to Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh. Kiagar lake lies in the Rupshu valley. It is about 190 km from Leh. Animals can be seen grazing near the land. It is saline water flanked by arid mountains making it a very beautiful spot for photography.
12) Chagar Tso
Located amidst the cold desert of Ladakh, lies this beautiful lake Chagar Tso. The lake is surrounded by many glaciers. It is about 8 Km from Pangong Lake. Close to the lake is Shyok – Chang Chenmo Confluence.
13) Kyun Tso and Ryul Tso
These twin lakes also known as Chilling lakes are situated at a height of 5000m. The lakes are about ½ km away from each other. One of the lakes is sweet while the other is brackish ie slightly saline water. The lake lies in the South region of Ladakh. They are also called to as twin lakes.
Lam Tso lake lies close to Tso Moriri lake in the Southern region of Ladakh. It is also a camping site. The dawn is definitely worth watching. Close to Lam Tso lies Ungti and Kharpa. It is about 2 Km wide. You can spot Siberian ducks here.
Yaye Tso lies in the eastern region of Ladakh. It is a volcanic lake. Close to it lie changthang wildlife sanctuary. It lies in high mountains with Mahe village below it.
Yashu Tso is located near Chumathang Wildlife sanctuary. It is a freshwater lake. It has a length of about 6 km.
It lies close to Yashu Tso lake in the eastern region of the Ladakh. Yashu should definitely be the halt while you go to Tso Mirori from Pangong lake.
Kela Tso lake lies about 47 km from away Leh. It lies about 41 Km from Pangong lake and 75 km from Tso Kar lake. It is a camping site with tents facilities available.
19)Chumathang Hot springs
It is situated at a distance of 80 km on Leh-Nyoma road. Approaching the Chumathang, one spots the flying mists of hot sulfur water. The temperature of water rises to a maximum of 167-degree celsius. Local Amchis visit here during a specific period and bathe in hot spring.
20) Panamik Hot Springs
The Panamik Hot spring is situated in Nubra Valley about 70 km from Deskit. The springs are located at the roadside cliff and can be spotted with flying mist around. The temperature of water rises to 100-200 degrees Celcius. It is also a source of water supply to local residents as well as government departments. This spring is famous as it cures diseases of the skin, stomach, joint pains, etc.
Also read : Places to visit in Leh ladakh