There are so many dream places you see in pictures & imagine being there someday. In some cases, photos are better than reality and in others you get what you expected. There are only very rare places, which leave you completely speechless & spellbound,wondering what inspiration God would have had while creating the place.
This is what happened to me at the Pangong Tso Lake – the highest Salt Water lake in the world in the Ladhak region of the Himalayas. Ladhak is the coldest desert in the world and till date it is isolated from the modern world and thrives on a very distinct & unique lifestyle and culture. Our journey to Pangong Tso was through the high altitude cliffhanging roads with huge bare mountains all around standing like protectors of the place – no trees, no waterfalls, no fauna anywhere to be seen, and yet so beautiful that you cannot take your eyes off the drive. The five hours of the drive from our base left me with one thought – was God trying to make a point – beauty can be created out of even the most drab elements available!
And then, it happened, we got the first glimpse of the lake, shining bright and exuberant like a blue emerald in the lap of the mourning greys and browns of the bare mountains. The contrast of colors is so stark that it actually hurts your eyes as they take their time to adjust to it. As we get closer, the size of the lake takes us over – its really not a lake, it’s a huge sea trapped at a height of 14000 ft reflecting the blue of the cleanest skies ever imaginable, surrounded by its snowcapped protectors.
Some people just visit the lake and go, however we decided to stay a night in a camp to really see the different personalities of the lake over morning, day and night and trust me, that’s the best decision we ever took. Sunrise on the lake is like being reborn as the sun rays come up behind snow capped mountains and the lake changes hue from grey to sparkling blue, the day light creates the most beautiful blues ever imaginable, in the evening we got to see unimaginable hues of pink, purple and yellow in the sky as the sun went down, and the night is indescribable – it’s a carpet of stars so close to you, you almost try and pluck a few – and that’s not all, it’s a light and sound show in the night with shooting stars entertaining you every few minutes.
As we drove back to our base the next day, we were just quiet, each with our own feelings about what we experienced. For me it left me thinking how we keep looking for happiness, whereas all we need to find is the magical lake in the middle of all the rocks of life and visit it every time we feel sad!