Pangong Lake

Have you ever heard of the movie 3 Idiots? If you are desi, then you must have (or else you are living under a rock), and if you haven’t, you may want to check it out if you are at all interested in world cinema. 3 Idiots is an Indian movie that released in 2009. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani and starring the award-winning actor, Aamir Khan, 3 Idiots became a huge success in India, breaking all box office records at the time and was very popular in other Asian countries such as China and Japan. The film is a comedy with a simple message-follow your passion when it comes to your professional career and enjoy life.

But this blog isn’t about the movie. It’s about a location where a couple scenes from the movie was shot, a location in India that has been made famous by movies like 3 Idiots and numerous other Bollywood films. This summer I had the fortune of traveling to Pangong Lake which stretches from the Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir, into China. Actually, the lake’s geographical border is a little confusing to me, because people would say Tibet and China interchangeably. So I am not sure if the lake extends into only Tibet, or actually all the way to China. Also, l learned that the lake is located in a disputed region, so maybe someone can clarify this border dispute for me. I do know that it is crazy beautiful.




Pangong Lake. 

Our trip to Pangong Lake began from the largest city in Ladakh: Leh. A note to take seriously: when traveling in this region you should calculate double the time to reach a destination because roads are narrow, rocky and prone to blockage from landslides and flooding.




Drive from Leh to Pangong Lake


Drive from Leh to Pangong Lake. 


Drive from Leh to Pangong Lake. 


There is a large military presence in Jammu and Kashmir. This photo is of an Indian military base. Paved roads such as the one shown here have all been built by the Indian army. 


Drive from Leh to Pangong Lake. 


Journey delayed by landslide. 


Journey delayed by flooding. 



On the way we saw these guys. They’re called Yak and they are found all throughout the Himalayan region. They are domestic animals (there are also wild yak but we didn’t see any) and used for their milk, meat and transporting good across mountains. They have long hair which makes it possible to live in high altitudes and cold regions. Here you’ll find yak instead of cows, as they have larger lungs and are better adapted to the low-oxygen environment. 

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Big squirrels! Or properly known as marmot, relative of the groundhog. 

Upon reaching Pangong Lake I was surprised to smell saltwater. I thought it would contain freshwater, but the Pangong Lake is in fact a salty lake. This is because it is landlocked and does not drain to any rivers, so all the salt that’s there remains. Although I visited this beautiful area in the summer,  I would love to go back in the winter, as I was told that the lake freezes over. If you are traveling through India, consider visiting this iconic spot. The highest saltwater lake in the world, it will literally take your breath away.


Pangong Lake

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