Pangong Tso (Tibetan: སྤང་གོང་མཚོ, Wylie: spang gong mtsho; Hindi: पांगोंग त्सो; Chinese: 班公错; pinyin: Bāngōng Cuò), Tibetan for "high grassland lake", also referred to as Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies within the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km2. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. It is not a part of the Indus river basin area and geographically a separate landlocked river basin.
|Location||Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India; Rutog County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China|
dimictic lake (east basin)
cold monomictic lake (west basin)
|Basin countries||China, India|
|Max. length||134 km (83 mi)|
|Max. width||5 km (3.1 mi)|
|Surface area||approx. 700 km2 (270 sq mi)|
|Max. depth||328 ft. (100 m)|
|Surface elevation||4,250 metres (13,940 ft)|
Flora, fauna and geographyEdit
The eastern part of the lake is fresh, with the content of total dissolved solids at 0.68 g/L, while the western part of the lake is saline, with the salinity at 11.02 g/L. The brackish water of the lake has very low micro-vegetation. Guides report that there are no fish or other aquatic life on the Indian side of the lake, except for some small crustaceans. On the other hand, visitors see numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface. There are some species of scrub and perennial herbs that grow in the marshes around the lake.
The lake acts as an important breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. During summer, the Bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks are commonly seen here. The region around the lake supports a number of species of wildlife including the kiang and the marmot. The lake hosts large quantities of fish, especially Schizopygopsis stoliczkai and Racoma labiata.
Formerly, Pangong Tso had an outlet to Shyok River, a tributary of Indus River, but it was closed off due to natural damming. Two streams feed the lake from the Indian side, forming marshes and wetlands at the edges. Strand lines above current lake level reveal a 5 m (16 ft) thick layer of mud and laminated sand, suggesting the lake has shrunken recently in geological scale. On the Indian side, no fish have been observed, however in the stream coming from South-eastern side (Cheshul nalla), three fish species (Schizopygopsis stoliczkae, Tibetan stone loach and Triplophysa gracilis) have been reported (Bhat et al., 2011). The low biodiversity has been reported as being due to high salinity and harsh environmental conditions (Bhat et al., 2011).
|Climate data for Pangong Tso|
|Average high °C (°F)||−5.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−13.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−20.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||4
Pangong Tso can be reached in a five-hour drive from Leh, most of it on a rough and dramatic mountain road. The road crosses the villages of Shey and Sakti and traverses the Chang La, where army sentries and a small teahouse greet visitors. The road down from Chang La leads through Tangste and other smaller villages, crossing a river called Pagal Naala or "The Crazy Stream". The spectacular lakeside is open during the tourist season, from May to September.
An Inner Line Permit is required to visit the lake as it lies on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control. While Indian nationals can obtain individual permits, others must have group permits (with a minimum of three persons) accompanied by an accredited guide; the tourist office in Leh issues the permits for a small fee. For security reasons, India does not permit boating.
China National Highway 219 passes by the eastern end of Pangong Tso. The lake can be accessed by driving 12 km from Rutog or 130 km from Shiquanhe. Tourists can rent a boat on the lake, but landing on islands is not allowed for protecting the breeding ground of the birds. There are several restaurants along the shore.
Sino-Indian border disputeEdit
Pangong Tso is in disputed territory. The Line of Actual Control passes through the lake. A section of the lake approximately 20 km east from the Line of Actual Control is controlled by China but claimed by India. The eastern end of the lake is in Tibet. After the mid-19th century, Pangong Tso was at the southern end of Johnson Line, an early attempt at demarcation between India and China in the Aksai Chin region.
The Khurnak Fort lies on the northern bank of the lake, halfway of Pangong Tso. The Chinese has controlled the Khurnak Fort area since 1952.[unreliable source?] To the south is the smaller Spanggur Tso lake.
As tourism grows in Ladakh and Pangong Lake, the ecologically fragile area is getting swamped with trash. Authorities are trying to put a mechanism in place to manage the waste generated by restaurants, hotels, and camping sites. Tourists often dump disposable water bottles and food packets right at the periphery of the lake and even inside. This is posing a big threat to this glacial lake.
- Indian filmmaker Mani Ratnam's Dil Se.. (1998) in the song "Satrangi Re" starring Shah Rukh Khan & Manisha Koirala.
- Featured as a filming location in The Fall (2006).
- Some parts of the 2008 film, Heroes (2008).
- Climax scene of the 2009 film, 3 Idiots.
- Parts of the 2012 film Jab Tak Hai Jaan, in particular, Anushka Sharma's bikini scene were shot here. This was Actor Shah Rukh Khan's second film recorded here.
- Divya Khosla Kumar 2016 Hindi film Sanam Re
- Surra Surra song from Shakti (2011).
- Subah Hogee song from Waqt: The Race Against Time.
- Pyar Ke Silsile song from Na Jaane Kabse (2011).
- Dil Tera Ho Gaya song from Taur Mittran Di.
- Dil Haara song from Tashan starring Saif Ali Khan & Kareena Kapoor
- Banjarey song from the movie Fugly
- Bhelpuri song from Aagadu starring Mahesh Babu & Tamannaah
- Enna Aachu song in the 2011 Tamil movie Vedi
Hills on the south-west bank of Pangong Tso
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- "Racoma labiata". China Animal Scientific Database. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
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- 黄慧英 (4 August 2018). "一措再措 邂逅高原湖泊的绝美" (in Chinese). tibet.cn. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
- Negi, S.S. (1 April 2002). Himalayan Rivers, Lakes and Glaciers. India: Indus Publishing Company. p. 152. ISBN 978-8185182612. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
- Guruswamy, Mohan (January 2006). Emerging Trends in India-China Relations. India: Hope India Publications. p. 223. ISBN 9788178711010. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
- Mohan Guruswamy. "No longer a Great Game". Centre for Policy Alternatives, India. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007.
- Burkitt, Laurie; Scobell, Andrew; Wortzel, Larry M. (July 2003). The Lessons of History: The Chinese People's Liberation Army at 75 (PDF). Strategic Studies Institute. pp. 340–341. ISBN 1-58487-126-1.
- Manu Pubby. "Pangong Lake is border flashpoint between India and China". New Delhi, India: The Indian Express Limited. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Sultan Shahin. "Vajpayee claps with one hand on border dispute". Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Jonathan Holslag (2008). "China, India and the Military Security Dilemma, Vol 3(5)" (PDF). Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies (BICCS). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2009. Cite journal requires
- "As tourism grows, so does trash in Ladakh's Pangong Lake".
- "BT Exclusive: First look of Divya Khosla Kumar's 'Sanam Re'".
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