Lakes of Ladakh – Tso Moriri & Tso Kar – Photo essay

Pristine blue waters fed by melting glaciers and set against the stark mountain landscape of Ladakh, the high altitude lakes are a treat to watch. A few of them, other than the famed Pangong Tso, exist in Ladakh. Tso Morriri and Tso Kar are prominent among them.

Tso Moriri

Clouds played kiss and tell with the snow capped peaks of greater Himalayas when we arrived at Tso Moriri. With its bright blue, emerald waters the lake forms a picture postcard view as you approach it. When the water catches sunlight, it shimmers in the sun as if someone threw a jar of glitter all over its surface. Red algae spread out in the shore where the water has drained. An inner layer of peaks with vegetation border the lake.

Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri

The road to Tso Moriri from Sumdo, although picturesque, with peaks and mountain streams is a nightmare to any driver. The terrain is filled with boulders and BRO’s road building infrastructure hasn’t reached this part yet. There is an Indo-tibetan border police outpost by the banks of Tso Moriri in the Korzok village, where you will get accommodation and food for as less as Rs.2000 per day.

Tso Ltakh is enroute Tso Moriri
Tso Ltakh is enroute Tso Moriri
Storm clouds gather over Tso Ltakh
Storm clouds gather over Tso Ltakh
Tso Ltakh, another view
Tso Ltakh, another view

Many small streams fed by Himalayan glaciers form Tso Moriri. On a sunny morning, the lake is a photographer’s paradise with its fenced fertile fields on the banks dazzling in the morning sun. Furry mountain dogs run about. Tso Moriri is a Ramsar site and is visited by migratory birds including black necked crane and bar headed geese.

On a sunny day, Tso Moriri
On a sunny day, Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri, another view
Tso Moriri, another view
Ariel view of Tso Moriri as dusk falls
Ariel view of Tso Moriri as dusk falls
Night gathers above Tso Moriri
Night gathers above Tso Moriri

Tso Khar

Perhaps the smallest of the popular lakes of Ladakh, Tso Khar is located in the Changtang plains. Most of this salt water lake is frozen even in summer months and the lake is rendered inaccessible by a vast expanse of marsh land. This means, the black necked cranes wobble in its waters and make merry without human intervention – something Tso Moriri couldn’t afford to be despite the arrangements made by government for bird nesting. If you are lucky, you can even spot Himalayan wild asses in the endless plains.

Enroute Tso Khar
Enroute Tso Khar
Tso Khar from a distance
Enroute Tso Khar
The lake is rendered inaccessible by the marshlands, which is a good thing
The lake is rendered inaccessible by the marshlands, which is a good thing
Tso Khar, another view
Tso Khar, another view

Parting shot: A rainbow over the Ladakh roads.

A rainbow over Ladakh
A rainbow over Ladakh

Is Ladakh in your bucket list? Or have you been there already? Leave a comment.

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