Famous For Its Wilds
Famous for the large herds of Kiang, or Wild Ass, which graze on its shores, the lake of Tso Moriri, 210-km to the southeast of Leh , lies in the sparsely populated region of Rupshu. Like Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri has only recently become accessible to visitors, and permits are needed to travel in the region. With its great trekking potential, the region is becoming a popular destination for Jeep Safaris out of Leh, which head to Karzok, the only large village in the area, located on the shores of the lake at an altitude of 4,000m.
Prime Attractions Within The Region
Nestling in a wide valley flanked by some of the highest peaks in Ladakh-Lungser Kangri and Chanmser Kangri - the 20-km long lake is also home to flocks of migratory Nangpa or Bar-headed Geese.
Karzok, which has a small Gompa, home to a group of nuns, is a friendly place, but the ill effects of tourism with its accompanying litter are beginning to show. To help protect the fragile eco system, a new directive stipulates that no habitation can be built within 700m of the shore of the lake. Visitors should bring their own food supplies and make sure they take all their rubbish away.
Accessible Through Jeep Safari
With the absence of any public transport except for the odd truck, the only really feasible way to get to Tso Moriri from Leh is on a Jeep Safari. These usually follow a circular itinerary via Upshi and Chumathang to Mahe Bridge, 144-km from Leh, before turning towards Pulga and over the Namshang-la on a rough road to Karzok.
To complete the round trip, the tour continues on towards the Manali -Leh highway taking in the lake of Tso Kar and the small village of Thukse on the way. Some taxis travelling from Manali to Leh take this route to avoid the tanglang la on the highway when it is snowbound.
Tso Moriri makes for some pleasant trekking including the relatively easy - if one is acclimatized - three day, 40-km circuit of the lake. Another possible route links Tso Moriri to Tso Kar. Trekking operators in Manali and Leh are developing plans for long and challenging itineraries, some of which follow old trade routes, linking Spiti to Tso Moriri and Leh.