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tso moriri
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At the end of the long Rupshu Valley, situated nearly 250 kilometers from Leh, lies the dazzling Tso Moriri Lake, literally meaning the lake of the mountain. The largest and the most beautiful lake in this valley, Tso Moriri, unlike Pangong Tso, is situated entirely in India. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks from all the sides. This mildly brackish lake is home to some fascinating birds. Also, the region around is well known for spotting some of the popular wild species of Ladakh. The lake is situated slightly off the Leh-Manali road, and it makes sense to visit it while making this journey.


A dusty road passing through the Rupshu Valley leads to Tso Moriri. The surrounding region is dominated by grassy planes and small mounds rising here and there. This is the terrain of the nomadic Khampa people, who herd pashmina goats and yaks and mostly lead a harsh life. As you enter the region, you spot several of their dwellings characterized by cheap yet modern tents rooted in the numbers from five to fifteen.


Some of these people who roam around in the Himalayan territories with changing seasons have stabilized in the valley and retain slightly better homes, which you see as you arrive at Tso Moriri. An old gompa here is usually visited by the tourists. This small settlement is the only permanent colony in this region. The locals, apart from their traditional businesses of gathering salt and trading pashmina wool, also depend on the cultivation of barley, which is done at a high amount. Tourism is also an important dependency resource for them. They facilitate tourists with restaurants run in temporary tents, which, out here, are nothing short of a great service.


The first view of Tso Moriri is beautiful. But as you drive over a dusty road winding around the lake, the view becomes mesmerizingly beautiful. The water of the lake, a lovely shade of blue, reflects the snow-clad mountains on the other side and the brilliant forms of clouds in the sky. At the shore of the lake, the clarity of the water seems admirable as you can observe the bottom slope away into the depth for several feet.


Among the birds here the most easily sited are Brahmni ducks, bar-headed geese and pin tails. You can also spot brown-headed gulls, great crested grebes and ferruginous ducks. Black necked cranes can also be seen, although you will need good binoculars to spot these amazing birds standing in the shallow grasslands at the shore of the lake. This spectacular water body has been declared as a wetland conservation reserve for the protection of the habitat and preservation of birdlife.


The wildlife here is gifted with a handsome number of mammalian races. Amongst the not so hard to spot are kiangs and marmots. The marmots, especially can be easily seen at the roadsides before your arrive at the lake. The famous Ladakhi Bharal, commonly referred to as the blue sheep, and the Himalayan mountain goats can also be spotted at a good frequency. Amongst the rare to spot are the lynx, snow leopards and grey wolves. Dedicated wildlife enthusiasts root a stay here for a number of days to get one site of these amazing species.


Tso Moriri offers multiple camping sites with facilities passable for a relatively convenient stay, considering that this is almost a wild region. A night stay here can be an amazing experience, depending on the weather and how low the temperature falls during the night. The best option is to visit this place and stay here overnight during the Leh-Manali journey.


Sunset at Tso Moriri is considered to be a spectacle not to miss, during which the water changes shades and offers brilliantly scenic views. The breathtaking place that Tso Moriri is, it not only makes beautiful pictures on your camera but also in your mind, the images you will cherish for a long time.



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Quick Reference

The enchanting Tso Moriri Lake is around 250 kilometers away from Leh. It is the largest and the most beautiful lake of Ladakh. It is situated slightly off the Leh Manali road. Tso Moriri hosts an amazing bird and wildlife. Birds like Brahmni ducks, bar-headed geese, pin tails, brown headed gulls, great crested grebes and ferruginous ducks and black necked cranes can be spotted here. Animals like Kiangs, Ladakhi marmots, Ladakhi Bharal or blue sheep and the Himalayan mountain goats are also seen. Tso Moriri offers multiple camping sites that facilitate a comfortable stay in the wild region. Restaurants are run in temporary tents but they are of a great service in this wilderness. The sunset at Tso Moriri is spectacular and should not be missed.


Destination Grade: B (What is this?)
Rating: 8/10
5 Star Hotels: Tsomoriri Resorts, Nubra House
Luxury Hotels: The Kaal
Airport: Leh 220 kms
Railway station: Srinagar 600 kms
Nearest Major City(s): Leh
How to reach: Easily accessible by road from Leh, 250 kilometers away from Leh.
Major Tourist Attraction: High Altitude Lake
Speciality(Famous for) Lake
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Total Reviews : 2
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Tso Moriri Lake- An Eyecatching Lake - by Tarun Arora  Dated : 2011-03-17
The Tso Moriri lake in Ladakh is the largest lake high altitude lake in India. It is almost 250 kilometers away from Leh and is a must visit spot. It lies in the Rupshu valley. We made an early morning start from Leh, the road to Tso Moriri is dusty and the views are spectacular. On the way you can surely herds of Pashmina goats and yaks. These animals are reared by nomadic people who are called Khampa.
As you enter the region mostly proximal to the Lake you get a wonderful feeling. The first sight of the lake is extremely captivating. The water of the lake is deep blue and you feel like seeing a perfect landscape painting drawn by a shrewd painter.

Birds like Brahmani ducks and cranes can be seen around the lake. Using a binocular you can easily spot them. The view of the lake is very photogenic. This lake has been declared as a wet land conservation reserve. Mammals like Kiangs and marmots can be seen if you are too lucky. The Tso Moriri lake is a saline water lake and has a marshy border.

Tso Moriri hosts great camping facilities which can be booked prior to your trip depending on availability. The sunset that you get to see is amazing, and you feel like living at the shore of the lake for all your life. But the brackish smell irritates you and you may change your mind. However, your trip to Ladakh cannot be completed until you visit this extravagantly beautiful lake.
Blue Waters of Tso Moriri - by Vibhor Verma  Dated : 2011-03-06
Around 250 kilometers from Leh lays this Tso Moriri Lake. It is the largest one in Ladakh and it looks like. Brackish smell can really be irritating but I then made out that I had not come to smell it but to look at it. And to the eyes the lake was a pleasing view. God’s awesome creation! I am mad about water bodies and love to keep looking at them. I took may be 50 photographs of the lake, its deep blue water and birds don’t know which flying over its surface. But even then I was not satisfied. I felt like taking it along with me but without the smell.

Out of my few fellow tourists was a bird watcher. The guy awed in happiness and he glued to his binoculars when a bird flew over the surface of the lake (even I look good when I swim, so what if I can’t fly over the surface?) I came to know they were migratory birds, I am bad at remembering names, thanks to the article above, and they were surely the black necked cranes.

I was staying at a campsite in Tso Moriri and I loved it equally. Ah I love that place. The kiangs roam there as if they are the kings of the place and the marmots are so cute mammals. I took so many photos of them to show them to my 5 years old niece. It did seem they like biscuits; they nibble things and look so cute. Seeing the sun set was superb, I never knew sun was so partial, it does not set this beautifully in my hometown. Guys please go check out Ladakh, it’s marvelous. Hope you like it too.