Tryst with Pangong Tso, within the 1970s

Lt-Gen Baljit Singh (retd)

“If we were doomed to live forever, we would scarcely be aware of the beauty around us.” — Peter Mathiessen

I had a promise to maintain since lengthy a few years and when eventually alternative gestured, we promptly boarded an Indian Airlines flight to Leh, selecting seats which appeared out on the right-hand facet. Visibility was glorious, and flying previous the Zoji La, we have been rewarded for a number of minutes with the gorgeous visible of the dual Nun and Kun summits towards blue skies, awash in mellow morning solar! About a decade again, we had walked previous them after descending the Pensi La en route Kargil however within the on the spot case, trying down from up above this composite setting of the peaks, a cascading glacier, greenery of the verdant Suru valley and the briefest glimpse of Padam village far out in distant Zanskar, all provided an expertise to cherish.

Back within the 1970s, vacationer presence in Ladakh was nearly non-existent and acclimatisation walks within the countryside round Leh had the weather of each privateness and pleasant tete-a-tete with passersby, at all times smiling and courteously calling out “Jhulay” in a welcome greeting.

By the third morning, we have been match to set out for Darbuk and onward to the western shore of the Pangong Tso. We pitched our tents within the shut neighborhood of Lakung village which provided us a fascinating view of the lake’s blue waters in sharp distinction to the pale brown and gray ridges past. An hour previous midnight, our information, courtesy the Ladakh Scouts, opened the flaps of our tent, handed mugs of piping scorching tea and a marching order, “Shaab, ek ghantey baad ridge top ko chalaan gey”! The thought was to realize the best spot about 2000 toes above on the Lakung ridge. This would give a panoramic view from the south to the north of the lake in addition to Fort Kunarak, Konka La, Aksai Chin, and even the Karakoram Pass.

We breathed a sigh of reduction standing upon the vantage spot with barely time for a cup of scorching espresso (lukewarm by then) earlier than the primary rays of daybreak lit up the farthest horizon. We stayed anchored on website until mid-day to witness the kaleidoscopic modifications of color tints brought on by the continual shifting angle of the solar’s rays upon each the waters of Pangong and the huge labyrinth of mountains and valleys. But the magic of nightfall we might savour the next night striding at leisurely tempo southward, to Chushul village.

May be a paragraph borrowed from Frank Smythe’s writings finest seize the thriller and magic of our tryst with Pangong Tso, thus;

“And so from the hills we return refreshed in body, in mind and in spirit to grapple anew with life’s problems… for a while we have lived simply, wisely and happily; we have adventured well. The hills have taught us to be content in our faith and in the love of God who created them”.

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