Tso Moriri – A Spectacular Mountain Lake in Leh

Tso Moriri Lake, <a href=

One of the most spectacular lakes in the world, the Tso Moriri is also called the ‘Mountain Lake’ situated at an elevation of over 15000 feet above sea level. It covers the foothills of the Rushpu valley in the Changthang sub division of Leh, and is surrounded by barren hills overlooking the silhouettes of the snow clad mountain peaks in the backdrop.

The lake extends about 28km in length and is 4 to 6 km wide. The waters go 100 feet deep on an average, with a maximum depth of 248 feet.

For centuries the water of the lake has been a source of salt for the local populace, and perhaps the reason why it is called Tso Moriri, Tso coming from Tsokar, meaning salt lake in the local language.

Tibetan Ass in the vicinity of Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh
Tibetan Ass in the vicinity of Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh

The one common site on the banks of the lake is flocks of Kiang, or natural ass that crops along the shoreline. Also, herds of pashmina goats and travelling nagpas can be spotted around the lake region.

Visiting the lake is restricted to only a few months of the years, as heavy snowfall, blocks the roads leading up to the lake. During April the snow from the mountains starts to melt, and from May onwards, till October, it is heralded by hundreds of tourists, after which it closes down for the winters.

Tsomoriri Lake in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir during summers
Tsomoriri Lake in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir during summers

The lake is among the seven wetlands in India covered under the wetland reserve program of the Ramsar Sites, and therefore it is also known as the Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.

A seven to eight hours drive from Ladakh takes visitors to the Tso Moriri Lake. It is about 240 km from Leh. Being a restricted area, no one can venture the periphery of the lake region without obtaining inland permits. These permits are easily available at the DC office, Leh.

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