After spending the morning at the World’s highest Observatory at Hanle, we had breakfast and headed for the next part of our journey. After a short fuel stop and filling up our Jerry canes we headed towards the Rongo. The well tarred narrow 50 km road without any traffic and potholes was a pleasure to drive. We checked our permits at Loma check post and headed towards Tso Moriri. We crossed river Indus and started driving along the eastern bank of the river. This section of road was partially maintained and had occasional bad stretches which slowed us. After an hour’s drive, we reached the village of Nyoma. We met with another group who were coming from Leh. There was a petrol pump, which was under construction. We filled our fuel tanks and moved on to the road ahead. The village had a monastery perched on the hill on one end. We prayed at one of the prayer bells along the road and moved ahead.
We reached Mahe after an hour’s drive. The sign board was half broken and was lying on the roadside. After driving for 20 minutes, I realized of the gain in altitude and a signboard pointed towards Kakasang La and Chushul. The road seemed deserted and I could not ask for directions. The valley below had horses running on it and was no less than a Hollywood movie scene. I tried to ensure my route with the aid of maps and realized I was on a different track. I retraced my way back and reached the Mahe check post after 30 minutes. My co riders were waiting for me to arrive. After a 10 minutes break we crossed the Indus river and headed towards Sumdo. After an hour we reached Sumdo. The village was deserted late in the evening, so we believed our conscience and headed towards the south.
In another 30 minutes we reached Kyagar Tso, the prettiest lake I had seen in Ladakh till that time. The small lake with a snow capped mountain on its backdrop had emerald green waters and Pashmina goats grazing in the foreground. A herder confirmed that Korzok was another 40 km drive from there. We crossed the lake and moved ahead. The tarred road turned into a boulder terrain and we had the first glimpse of the Tso Moriri after an hour. It was almost 6 pm in the evening and we had to cover the last 5 km along the bank of the lake while experiencing a spectacular sunset on the Menok Kangri mountain range. We finally reached Korzok village at around 7 pm in the evening and settled in a small lodge. The temperature dipped significantly, so we had dinner and dozed off for the night.
The next day:
Early next morning, I took a stroll along the village. The Korzok monastery was right on the other side of the road. I interacted with a monk who was into Tibetan Buddhism for the past 8 years. The 300 year old monastery was home to around 150 monks. After breakfast it was time to explore the lake. We went towards the opposite end of the lake along a narrow trail. We clicked some pictures and headed back for the next leg of our journey. Let the pictures speak for themselves. !!!
Pangong to Hanle via Man Merak Chushul-http://www.wandererdoc.in/2018/01/30/pangong-hanle-via-chushul-desert-wilderness/
The route we had taken:
Hanle—50km— Loma (permit checking & submission)—30 km—Nyoma–20 km—Mahe (permit checking and submission)—60 km—Korzok (via Sumdo, Kyagar Tso along Tso Moriri)
Fueling– Hanle- 90 Rs per liter, Nyoma- 100 Rs per liter.