Pangong Tso

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso 2.jpg
Pangong Tso is located in Asia
Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso
LocationLadakh, India; Rutog County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Coordinates33°43′04.59″N 78°53′48.48″E / 33.7179417°N 78.8968000°E / 33.7179417; 78.8968000Coordinates: 33°43′04.59″N 78°53′48.48″E / 33.7179417°N 78.8968000°E / 33.7179417; 78.8968000
TypeSoda lake
dimictic lake (east basin)[1]
cold monomictic lake (west basin)[citation needed]
Basin countriesChina, India
Max. length134 km (83 mi)
Max. width5 km (3.1 mi)
Surface areaapprox. 700 km2 (270 sq mi)
Max. depth328 ft. (100 m)
Surface elevation4,250 metres (13,940 ft)
Frozenduring winter
Pangong Tso
Traditional Chinese班公錯
Simplified Chinese班公错
Tibetan name

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.[2]

The lake is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. This will be the first trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the convention.

Flora, fauna and geography[edit]

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.[3] The brackish water[4] 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[5]. 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[6] and Racoma labiata[7].

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.[8] 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.[4] 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).



Frozen, Pangong Tso

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.[9]

Sino-Indian border dispute[edit]

Pangong Tso is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Pangong Tso
Location of Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso is located in Tibet
Pangong Tso
Location of Pangong Tso with the Tibet Autonomous Region

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.[10] The Chinese has controlled the Khurnak Fort area since 1952.[11][12][unreliable source?] To the south is the smaller Spanggur Tso lake.

On 20 October 1962, Pangong Tso saw military action during the Sino-Indian War, successful for the Communist People's Liberation Army.[13]

Pangong Tso is still a delicate border point along the Line of Actual Control.[14][15] Incursions from the Chinese side are common.[16]

Plastic Pollution[edit]

As tourism grows in Ladakh and Pangong Lake, the ecologically fragile area is getting swamped with trash.[17] 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.

In film[edit]


Pangong Tso

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wang, M., Hou, J. and Lei, Y., 2014. Classification of Tibetan lakes based on variations in seasonal lake water temperature. Chinese Science Bulletin, 59(34): 4847-4855.
  2. ^ "River basins with Major and medium dams & barrages location map in India, WRIS". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  3. ^ "班公错" (in Chinese).
  4. ^ a b R. K. Pant; N. R. Phadtare; L. S. Chamyal; Navin Juyal (June 2005). "Quaternary deposits in Ladakh and Karakoram Himalaya: A treasure trove of the palaeoclimate records" (PDF). Retrieved 29 January 2019. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Khan, Asif (2016). "Ladakh: The Land Beyond". Buceros. Vol.21, Issue 3: 6–15.
  6. ^ "Schizopygopsis stoliczkae". China Animal Scientific Database. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Racoma labiata". China Animal Scientific Database. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  8. ^ Biksham Gujja; Archana Chatterjee; Parikshit Gautam & Pankaj Chandan (August 2003). "Wetlands and Lakes at the Top of the World" (PDF). Mountain Research and Development. Bern, Switzerland: International Mountain Society. 23 (3): 219–221. doi:10.1659/0276-4741(2003)023[0219:WALATT]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 1994-7151. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  9. ^ 黄慧英 (4 August 2018). "一措再措 邂逅高原湖泊的绝美" (in Chinese). Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  10. ^ Negi, S.S. (1 April 2002). Himalayan Rivers, Lakes and Glaciers. India: Indus Publishing Company. p. 152. ISBN 978-8185182612. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  11. ^ Guruswamy, Mohan (January 2006). Emerging Trends in India-China Relations. India: Hope India Publications. p. 223. ISBN 9788178711010. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  12. ^ Mohan Guruswamy. "No longer a Great Game". Centre for Policy Alternatives, India. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Manu Pubby. "Pangong Lake is border flashpoint between India and China". New Delhi, India: The Indian Express Limited. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  15. ^ Sultan Shahin. "Vajpayee claps with one hand on border dispute". Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  16. ^ 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 |journal= (help)
  17. ^ "As tourism grows, so does trash in Ladakh's Pangong Lake".
  18. ^ "BT Exclusive: First look of Divya Khosla Kumar's 'Sanam Re'".

External links[edit]