Picturesquely located in secluded, breathtakingly beautiful Rupshu Valley, the high-altitude Tso Moriri Lake is less than 250 kilometers southeast of Leh. Flanked by lofty mountains, this serene lake is about 4,000 meters above sea level. Tso Moriri is approximately 29 kilometers long and up to 8 kilometers wide. Tso Moriri attracts a range of wildlife, including migratory birds, marmots and rarely the Tibetan wolves.
Tso Moriri lake in Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, calm and sacred (for ladakhis) high altitude lakes in India. In fact, it is the largest high altitude lake in India that is entirely in Indian Territory. This beautiful blue pallet lake is about 7 KM wide at its broadest point and about 19 KM long. Being part of the wetland reserve under Ramsar site, it is actual known as Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve and one cannot pitch any tents or construct anything near the banks of the lake. It is the highest Ramsar site in the world. A large number of flora and fauna is found in the region. Since, it is very near to the Line of Actual Control, one need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Tso Moriri.
The beautiful multi shades of blue color offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around gives this place an extremely romantic feel and breathtaking feel. However, in actual reality the place is extremely harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters. There is only one cemented accommodation available around the lake and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. are rare to find. The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to its high altitude and hence, one need to plan his/her journey extremely carefully to make it acute mountain sickness free vacation.
In January to March, Tso Moriri remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake. In April types, it starts to melt and starts transforming into the beautiful multi shades of blue colors off the shores. Then May, June, July and August is the peak tourist season but as compared to Pangong Tso it gets less number of tourist.
How to Reach Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh
Route from Leh to Tso Moriri Lake
This is the general route to Tso Moriri that most people take to visit this ever beautiful lake in Ladakh. You can reach in about 6 – 7 Hrs depending upon the number of break you take in between. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:
Leh – Karu (36 KMs) – Upshi (13 KMs) – Kumdok (19 KMs) – Kere (53 KMs) – Chumathang (34 KMs) – Mahe (22 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Korzok or Tso Moriri(53 KMs) = 240 KMs
Route from Pangong Tso Lake to Tso Moriri Lake
There exist a direct and an indirect route between Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso as well and in most general cases, you will always be doing it from direct route of Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri because you can exit Ladakh from Tso Moriri towards Manali – Leh Highway after visiting Tso Moriri without coming back towards Leh and secondly, Tso Moriri is higher than Pangong Tso so as per acclimatization schedule you should stay near Pangong Tso before spending night at Tso Moriri.
Pangong Tso Lake to Tso Moriri Lake via Changthang (Merak – Chusul – Nyoma)
You can go to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso directly via the remote and ever beautiful Changthang region. The drive between Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri is one of the most beautiful drives in whole Ladakh region. Foreigners are not allowed to go beyond Man – Merak Villages as permits are not issued to them for this route. Hence, they need to follow the indirect, slighly longer route to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso. You need to mention all the places mentioned in the route below on your permit form in order to under take this route. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:
Spangmik (Pangong Tso) – Man (9 KMs) – Merak (12 KMs)– Khaltse (4 KMs) – Chusul (24 KMs) – Tsaga La (33 KMs) – Tsaga Village (20 KMs) – Loma (23 KMs) – Nyoma (22 KMs) – Mahe (25 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Tso Moriri / Korzok (53 KMs) = 235 KMs
Pangong Tso Lake to Tso Moriri Lake via Chumathang
The indirect route that goes via Chumathang is the longer one, where you need to go all the way back from Pangong Tso to Leh upto Karu and from there you can take left towards Upshi – Chumathang – Korzok to reach Tso Moriri. This route can be followed by foreign tourists who are not allowed the permit for Changthang (Man – Merak – Chusul etc) region, if they do not want to go back to Leh. But, IMO one must go back to Leh from Pangong Tso, refresh themselves and start towards Tso Moriri next morning instead of very long day via Chumathang. You need to mention both Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso on your permit form in order to under take this route. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:
Spangmik – Lukung (16 KMs) – Tangtse (34 KMs) – Durbuk (9 KMs) – Chang La (32 KMs) – Sakti (34 KMs) – Karu (10 KMs) – Upshi (13 KMs) – Kumdok (19 KMs) – Kere (53 KMs) – Chumathang (34 KMs) – Mahe (22 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Korzok or Tso Moriri(53 KMs) = 339 KMs
Generally, at least one night stay is preferable to truly witness the mesmerizing beauty of this blue colored salt water lake. Of course, one night stay will help you watch sunrise and sunset over the picturesque landscape and increase the charm of your vacation to great extent.