Picturesquely located in secluded, breathtakingly beautiful Rupshu Valley, the high-altitude Tso Moriri Lake is less than 250 kilometers southeast of Leh. Flanked by lofty mountains, this serene lake is about 4,000 meters above sea level. Tso Moriri is approximately 29 kilometers long and up to 8 kilometers wide. Tso Moriri attracts a range of wildlife, including migratory birds, marmots and rarely the Tibetan wolves.
Tso Moriri lake in Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, calm and sacred (for ladakhis) high altitude lakes in India. In fact, it is the largest high altitude lake in India that is entirely in Indian Territory. This beautiful blue pallet lake is about 7 KM wide at its broadest point and about 19 KM long. Being part of the wetland reserve under Ramsar site, it is actual known as Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve and one cannot pitch any tents or construct anything near the banks of the lake. It is the highest Ramsar site in the world. A large number of flora and fauna is found in the region. Since, it is very near to the Line of Actual Control, one need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Tso Moriri.
The beautiful multi shades of blue color offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around gives this place an extremely romantic feel and breathtaking feel. However, in actual reality the place is extremely harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters. There is only one cemented accommodation available around the lake and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. are rare to find. The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to its high altitude and hence, one need to plan his/her journey extremely carefully to make it acute mountain sickness free vacation.
In January to March, Tso Moriri remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake. In April types, it starts to melt and starts transforming into the beautiful multi shades of blue colors off the shores. Then May, June, July and August is the peak tourist season but as compared to Pangong Tso it gets less number of tourist.
While the reflection of snow-clad mountains immersed in the pristine waters of the lake calm your soul, the exotic migratory birds flying above the majestic lake will make you fall in love with nature. The lake is surrounded by high mountains, making it a hidden gem in the cold desert land of Ladakh. It is an ideal travel destination for an offbeat traveller as well as those who wish to explore the untouched beauty of Ladakh.
Witness the changing hues of the lake and fall in love with nature all over again with a trip to Tso Moriri. Pack your bags, pick up your camera and set off on your trip to Leh Ladakh to live and capture the frames of a lifetime.
Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh – Complete Travel Guide
Tso Moriri lake in Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, calm, and sacred (for Ladakhis) high altitude lakes in India. It is the largest high altitude lake in India that is entirely in Indian territory. This beautiful blue pallet lake is about 7 km wide at its broadest point and about 19 km long.
Being part of the wetland reserve under the Ramsar site, it is known as Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve. You cannot pitch any camps near Tso Moriri or construct any stay option near the banks of the lake. It is the highest Ramsar site in the world. The place is full of flora and fauna is found in the region.
Since it is near to the Line of Actual Control, you need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Tso Moriri Lake, both as an Indian as well as a foreigner.
Tso Moriri Lake Leh Ladakh
The beautiful multi-shades of blues offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around give this place an extremely romantic and breathtaking feel. However, in reality, the place is harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters.
There is only a couple of cemented accommodation available around the lake in the form of homestays and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets, etc. are luxury in itself. The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to its high altitude. Hence, one needs to plan his/her journey extremely carefully to avoid acute mountain sickness.
So, even though you might feel tempted to include Tso Moriri in your trip to Leh Ladakh, it is important to plan your trip to this high altitude place properly. This travel guide will help you with it.
Tso Moriri is located about 240 KMs from Leh town of Ladakh district in Jammu & Kashmir. You cannot make a day trip from Leh to Tso Moriri lake as it will be very hectic and not worth it. Hence, you should plan for a two day trip to Tso Moriri from Leh.
Tso Moriri lake is one of the high altitudes lakes of India at a staggering altitude of 4595 Meters or 15075 Feet, yes higher than Pangong Tso.
Best Time to Visit Tso Moriri Lake
In general, the best time to travel to Tso Moriri lake is in the summer months when the Ladakh peak season is in full flow.
Similar to what we learned about the best time to travel to Leh Ladakh, in the months of January to March, lake Tso Moriri remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake. Apart from some homestays at Korzok, Chumathang is the next best bet to stay nearby this lake.
In April, the lake starts to melt and starts transforming into the beautiful palette of multi shades of blue colors. Then, May to August is the peak tourist season but as compared to Pangong Tso it gets fewer tourists.
Tso Moriri in September and October
The tourists start to reside as cold starts to set in, and accommodation tents pack up, which are near to the lake. IMO, this is by far the best time to visit Tso Moriri and see the full glory of beautiful shades of blue color in the lake. The colors are purely magical at this time of the year, and with fewer tourists comparatively, you get better deals and enjoy more.
Visiting Tso Moriri in Winter
After mid-October up to December, all the accommodation packs up, and the only nearest place you can stay is either in some homestay with basic facilities to fight the harsh cold temperature at Tso Moriri. You can also find some homestays in Nyoma village and a guest house in Chumathang. Both Nyoma and Chumathang are much warmer than Tso Moriri lake in winter months.
Nyoma has few guesthouses having slightly better facilities to fight the cold and provide comfort in winter months than the ones in Korzok. Similarly, Chumathang has Hot Spring Guest House, and due to the presence of hot springs, Chumathang itself is quite warm and lower in altitude.
If the sun is shining and you do not mind the hard cold winters, then you can make the day trip to Tso Moriri from Chumathang or Nyoma to see magical shades of blue color at this lake. However, do not forget to check the weather conditions before leaving Leh.
Attractions at the Tso Moriri Lake
Obviously, the foremost attraction of the Tso Moriri Lake is the overall beauty of the place. For photographers and selfie takers, there are not many places which offer better backgrounds and sights than this. The beauty of the lake seems to transform itself with the passing of the day, from morning and afternoon to evening.
The lake is home to almost 34 species of birds, out of which, 14 are water birds. Some of the birds which you can spot at the lake are balck-necked cranes, brown headed gulls, black necked grebe and great crested grebe. Mammals like Tibetan Gazelle, Himalayan Blue Sheep, Tibetan Ass and Great Tibetan Sheep also live in close proximity. Snow leopard and Tibetan Wolf also live in the nearby surroundings.
On the western bank of the lake stands the Korzok Monastery, which is 400 years old and houses about 70 monks. It contains the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha along with Tibetan Buddhist painting. The Korzok Gustor Festival is celebrated at the monastery and is marked by several rituals, one of which is masked dances called Chham.
How to Reach :
The nearest airport is Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport, Leh
The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi.
This is the general route to Tso Moriri that most people take to visit this ever beautiful lake in Ladakh. You can reach in about 6 – 7 Hrs depending upon the number of break you take in between. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows: Leh – Karu (36 KMs) – Upshi (13 KMs) – Kumdok (19 KMs) – Kere (53 KMs) – Chumathang (34 KMs) – Mahe (22 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Korzok or Tso Moriri(53 KMs) = 240 KMs