Weather :

Length : 29 kilometres

Width : 8 kilometres

Height : 4000 metres above sea level

Tips : No or very low cell phone connectivity in the area
Be cautious of high altitude mountain sickness

Best Time to Visit : May to September

Tso Moriri, Leh Ladakh Overview

Between Ladakh and Tibet, lies Moriri Lake, the largest high altitude lakes in India, at an altitude of 4,595m. Located in the Changtang region, it is a twin to the Pangong Lake. This lake offers a scenic place of peace and tranquillity flanked by mountains, measuring about 28 km in length from north to south, and 8 km wide. An inner line permit is required for visiting Tso Moriri.

Tso Moriri is a declared Ramsar site which means one cannot set up a tent or construct anything near the lake. A number of birds can be spotted at Tso Moriri like the bare-headed goose, the great-crested grebe, the Brahmin duck and the brown-headed gull. Himalayan hares are abundantly found here too. It 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.

The stunning Tso Moriri can be visited only during the summer months starting from April when the lake starts to melt. May, June, July and August are the peak tourist season. Tso Moriri remains inaccessible and entirely frozen from January to March.

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How to Obtain an Inner Line Permit to Visit Tso Moriri

A travel agent or even your hotel in Leh can help in getting a permit. A typical Inner Line Permit would host only a 3-day validity. Ensure to have valid identification documents (Aadhar, Pancard, Voter ID, Driving License, Passport) and a sum of about INR 1000 for the entire procedure. Foreign visitors are expected have to have a valid passport with a visa or an OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card would do.

Travellers could also apply online for an Inner Line Permit by logging into the official website, https://lahdclehpermit.in/. Upon clicking on the 'Issue' button, press the 'Domestic Clients' section to proceed to the personal details page. It is essential to fill out personal identification details, which can be Aadhar, Voter ID or Passport verification. Once the entire session is complete, make sure to have a concrete copy of the permit, either through a screenshot or a printout.

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

Staying at Tso Moriri

Even though Tso Moriri is a declared wetland reserve and it is prohibited to pitch tents around the lake, some camps and tents are set up a little further away. These can be booked for an overnight stay to enjoy the surreal view of the lake at sunrise. However, it is advised to plan a stay in the tents only if you are going in the summer months.

There are also a couple of homestay options a little far away from Tso Moriri but facilities like electricity, hot running water, etc make it a little difficult to stay.

Need to Know

  • The weather is quite unstable in this area, so it is always better to carry warm clothes.
  • 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.

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.

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