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Tso Moriri, Leh Ladakh Overview

The lesser known of the many lakes within the Changtang Wildlife sanctuary, Tso Moriri lake is a twin to the Pangong Lake. This lake offers a scenic place of peace and tranquillity, measuring about 28 km in length from north to south, and about 100 feet average in depth. The enchanting Tso Moriri lake is surrounded by barren hills, with the backdrop of beautiful snow-covered mountains. Since this is the lesser known of the two lakes, the crowd is less too. Tucked away in the remotest parts of the country makes Tsi Moriri a perfect star gazing sight rendering a complete mind-stirring site.

Tso Moriri has been declared as a wetland reserve. A number of species of birds included bare-headed goose, the great-crested grebe, the Brahmin duck and the brown-headed gull. Himalayan hares are abundantly found here. Moriri Tso is also called the 'mountain lake', owing to the peaks that surround it, towering at a height of 2000 meters, shutting it off from the outside world.

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Best Time to Visit Tso Moriri

From the month of January to March, Tso Moriri remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake. During April, it starts to melt and transform into the beautiful multi shades of blue colours off the shores. May, June, July and August is the peak tourist season but as compared to Pangong Tso, there are fewer tourists that visit.

Flora and Fauna at Tso Moriri

Flora: While the deeper parts of Tso Moriri don’t have much vegetation, the shallower parts of it are enriched with unique species of flora, which include Caragana and Astragalus, Potamogeton species, Carex, Primula, Pedicularis among the popular mammals.

Fauna: Tso Moriri also prides in being home to various birds, mammals and some carnivorous animals, which include 34 species of birds, including 14 vulnerable water birds. Some of the famous species include Black-Necked Cranes, Bar Headed Geese, Brown Headed Gulls, Tibetan Gazelle, Goa Antelope, Tibetan Ass, The Great Tibetan Sheep, Snow Leopard and The Tibetan Wolf among others.

How to Reach Tso Moriri

Leh to Tso Moriri 

Direct bus is available from Leh to Tso Moriri which is run by Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation(JKSRTC). Many bus stations are available and tourists have the option of taking a taxi or riding motorcycles, which can be taken on rent. In all the cases, it takes 6 hours to reach Tso Moriri
The route that is usually taken is Leh-Upshi-Debring- Puga- Tso Moriri.
Alternate route: Leh- Upshi- Chumathang- Mahe-Puga- Tso Moriri.

Pangong to Tso Moriri

Direct Route
There is a route that goes directly from Pangong to Tso Moriri. It goes via Changthang (starting from Man). This route is only for the Indian citizens and one needs to avail cab services or private vehicles in order to reach the destination.
The route is: Pangong- Man- Merak- Khaltse- Chusul- Tsaga La- Tsaga Village- Loma - Nyoma- Mahe- Sumdo- Tso Moriri

Indirect Route
There is a route that goes from Pangong to Tso Moriri and that is a longer route as compared to the direct route. Like the direct route, the only way to reach the destination is via cabs or private vehicles. This route is especially for the foreign tourists as they don’t have permission for the Changthang route. They have to take the route via Chumathang compulsorily.
The route is: Pangong- Lukung- Tangtse- Durbuk- Chang La- Sakti- Karu- Upshi- Kumdok- Kere- Chumathang- Mahe- Sumdo-Tso Moriri

Where to Stay Near Tso Moriri


1. Keep all your permission papers in handy, and keep many copies.
2. The weather is quite unstable in this part of Jammu and Kashmir, and thus it is always better to carry warm clothes.
3. Tso Moriri is inaccessible by public transport; you should contact a tour operator at Leh who will arrange and include your permit to the package. You will need two photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport and visa. Permits are required to travel to this lake. Once you have your permit, usually only valid for a maximum period of seven days, make at least 5 copies before setting off, as checkpoints like to keep a copy when you log in.
4. There is almost no network signal at the lake. 

Conservation Efforts

Tso Moriri is an administratively declared wetland reserve. Many efforts have been taken to conserve the lake by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. As a result of it, hunting is completely prohibited in the wetland reserve to protect the endangered species. Not only that, but a check post has also been established near the entrance of the lake by The State Department of Wildlife.

In addition to that, a field office has been set up in the northwest shore of Tso Moriri lake, at a place called Korzok by World Wide Fund-India(WWF-India). The intention of setting up the check-post by WWF-India is to conserve High Altitude Wetlands in the Ladakh region, interact with locals, tour guides and tourists, carry out surveys, act as an information centre and conduct education awareness programmes for tourists and locals to make them more aware about the conservation of the reserve.

Other measures have also been taken up to conserve the forest. The Indo Tibetan Border Petrol (ITBP), tour operators and the local population have come up with the idea of regular garbage clean-up operations to keep the area clean and the local community has traditionally built traditional and social fencing around the area to avoid vehicular traffic. Parking has been restructured and camping near the reserve has also been restricted

How to reach Tso Moriri

  • Air: The closest air-port is Leh 150km from the lake. And from there road transport is available.

  • Rail: Kalka is the nearest railway station to Leh. Buses or taxis can be hired to reach Manali viaë_Shimla. There are regular taxis and bus services from Manali to Leh.

  • Road: It is a brilliant drive from Leh. It is a must to take an experienced tour operator from Leh.

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