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Tsomoriri Lake

The whole area containing the drainage basins of Tso-moriri and other lakes is known as Rupshu. Rupshu Valley lies sandwiched between Ladakh in the north, Tibet in the east and Zanskar in the west. It is a part of the Changthang plateau and is characterized by high arid plains, remote villages, snow-capped peaks and beautiful high altitude azure-blue lakes, the largest being Tso Moriri at 4,500 m.

Tsomoriri or "Mountain Lake" is situated in the middle of the elevated valley of Rupshu surrounded by 6000m peaks which completely surrounds the lake. Here, the Zanskar range is transformed into bare rolling many-hued hills divided by open high altitude valley. It is a landscape unlike any other in Ladakh or elsewhere in India, for that matter.

This valley is inhabited by a small scattered population of "Changpas" (nomadic yak and pashmina goat herders of Tibetan origin) who also engage in trade and work in caravans in Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti. The Area is rich in wildlife including the "Kyang" (wild donkeys), red fox and the rare, highly endangered, snow leopard. Black necked cranes and geese flock to the lakeside for breeding during the summer months.

Here, you will witness a unique culture, far away from the reaches of the modern world. The scenery is wild and vast with snow capped peaks lining the far horizon.
We also recommend a visit to the 350 years old Karzok monastery which has about 33 resident monks.

Tsomoriri Lake:
If you are pressed for time, and fancy a trip to Tsomori, but don’t want to give up on seeing the other parts of Ladakh, we set out below an itinerary that will meet all of your needs:
After a full day of acclimatisation in Leh (please refer to our facts for Visitors Section):

ITINERARY:

Day 1: Leh - Chumathang:
After breakfast, a drive to the hot water springs at Chumathang (3965 m) by covering 140 km in 4 hrs. Overnight camping.

Day 2: Chumathang - Tsomoriri:
A drive through the crossing over Maya bridge and up to Tsomoriri (4555 m) through Puga Valley by covering 80 km in 3 hrs. This valley, approx 25 km from Tsomoriri is known for its sulphur and borax deposits. Overnight camping.

Day 3: Tsomoriri:
Full day excursion around Lake and Karzok monastery which belongs to the yellow sect. Overnight camping .

Day 4: Tsomoriri - Hemis:
Morning drive to Tsokar by covering 120 km in 4 hrs. Tsokar Lake is approximately 45 kms northwest of the Tsomoriri Lake at a height of 4485 m. It is also called "White Lake" because of salt deposited around it. Since these are all drainage basins with no outlet their water is brackish. The water of Tsokar is so salty that salt is procured from its banks and sold all over Ladakh and Kashmir by the Rupsu Chang. Tsokar is partly faded by a channel from a smaller fresh water lake. All the lakes are breeding grounds for a variety of birds among them the bar-headed goose, the great crested grebe, the brahmin duck and the brown headed gull. Drive to Hemis via Tanglang La (5224 m), about 75 kms from Tsokar. Overnight camping.

Day 5: Hemis - Leh:
Morning visit to the Hemis Monastery for sightseeing. After lunch, drive to Leh by covering 150 km in 5 hrs. On the way, stopping at Thiksey and Shey Monasteries. Upon arrival in Leh, overnight stay in hotel.

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