The Way to Pangong
Pangong lake in ladakh is one of the most popular touristy places in Ladakh. For me this times visit was excellent and special. Somehow till now, I have never gone to Pangong, and be happy. The fundamental reason is that the human noise there. Either people are blasting some music or they are just shouting or whatever. According to me the serenity of the place is gone. Pangong Lake This time it was quite different. Due to corona, there were almost no tourists. Miles and miles I would be the only traveller on the road. In most hotels I would be the only resident. It was blissful really!!
These days the standard tourist route in Ladakh is to Nubra first and then go to Pangong from the inner road. But with this plan I would have to stay overnight at Pangong, and I didn't want to do that. [ For the noise reason.] Now I feel I could have easily done that.
On the road towards Pangong first you keep seeing mesmerising green valleys. Although Ladakh is a desert, people have found out that near the rivers = in valleys, the soil is actually quite fertile. Water is in abundance, so that’s never an issue.
Then you come to the ghastly Chang La. Chang La is anything but Changla. The road surfacing is just horrible.
I had started early, so when I got to near top, it was still early in the morning and heavy snowfall started. Ahead of me already dozens of trucks and some cars were stuck. For a while I sat in the car, kept the car running and started my Riyaaz on my flute. Then after a while got bored, got out. It was damn cold. Must be some - 5 / -10 deg C or whatever. Clicked a few pictures, then stood outside and played flute. Some drivers got curious. But then it started becoming damn cold, also snowfall increased. In that cold there were some guys clearing up the snow!! I kept looking at them with astonished face for a while, but then I couldn’t stand outside, so again I got inside the car. It was nicely warm inside. Being Stuck in Snowfall at Chang La. Suddenly I realised that the police car in front of me has started moving. I simply followed it and went ahead. At times my car wouldn't listen to me at all. When I would turn the steering wheel to the left, it still would go straight or to the right. It was scary fun. Another guy in Xylo started following us. The car in front for me had already gone way ahead and almost disappeared in the fog and snow. That morning only 3 cars passed through. Eventually I crossed the snowing area in the pass and went ahead. The road ahead is mesmerising. The valley ahead is a spectacle. I met mules, pashmina goats and what not. At one point I simply stepped out and kept playing flute for a while. I am not sure, but perhaps I was being too selfish and simply polluting the nature with my sounds of flute!
On the way you also see a huge military camp. I was told when recently the Chinese standoff took place, this entire camp was established there in 4 days! Imagine moving almost a small village size establishment, thousands of humans, hundreds of vehicles and with weaponry and all that in just 4 days!! When I mentioned this to a retired Brigadier, he smiled and said, "You have no idea. Army is super professionals and amazingly organised. Everything is properly documented and followed."
Pangong is serenely beautiful. I have never seen so many shades of blue at one place in my life! I went ahead along the shore and then couldn't resist playing flute there. Pangong is nice but I like the road to there much more. It's far more spectacular !!!