Last summer, while driving through the mountains in the Himalayas, we made a stop over at Karzok village which lies by the majestic Tso Morari lake roughly at 4500 m altitude. From the beginning, this was the place we all wanted to experience and it truly turned into a highlight of our journey. And I can speak for all of us, we probably had the most amazing time in this village. First up, getting there is not easy! Even if you are in Leh it will take you ~8 hours of driving through gravel filled, river washed mountain roads! Next fact, no one goes there! and surprisingly no one wants to go there! And why is that? It is quite easy to get lost as you won’t find any directions leading you to this lake…somehow we had passed by this lake while on our drive on the Manali-Leh highway…with no fuel we might have had to drive 200 km in a different direction (god knows where!)…but you could see it on google maps that the lake existed across the mountain range…It is remarkable how the government is able to take care of this village because its truly one of the most isolated places in India.
We were here to experience this amazing lake…I am short for words to define its beauty…but here’s a brief overview; the water was cold but crystal clear, from the distance it looks like a rough diamond shinning…every minute one can see a different color on this lake…the sky, the surrounding mountains and this lake all make for a breathtaking landscape..there are not many places in the world that can match its beauty…
Luckily that evening, the villagers were celebrating a local festival! The village roughly has a population 500 people…but all were out in the monastery to celebrate….We had a blast, as we danced and partied with the locals…singing and dancing to ladakhi music…which made no sense…to be honest though it was one of the best moments of 2015 for me…and like always it reinforces my conviction about wanting to take on these crazy adventures!
It was super cold that night, but another excitement for us was to see the STARS…unfortunately the light from the village was a bit too much and the star gazing became somewhat tricky…so we decided to hike up a hill to get some elevation to view the perfect milky way sky…not a great idea considering we were already in thin air and a little drunk…half an hour later after losing all our breath we got to a point which was good enough to check out the night sky…it was beautiful up there…the atmosphere was calm…we could hear the wind noise and nothing else…and suddenly we started to hear some noise of dogs barking in the distance…Sid asked “are they barking at us?”…and then I was like, relax!!! I can’t see anyone here…probably those dogs are just arguing amongst themselves down at the valley…for a moment we forgot about those barking dogs and concentrated on star gazing…a little while later though the sound became louder…and then one of us spotted a big white speck hurling towards our direction in the distance…at that moment we sort of guessed the dogs were after us…Sid asked what should we do…I told him not to run and stay calm then I looked towards the pack…it was indeed a pack of dogs chasing…all of a sudden I yelled RUN! and then we went downhill….so with a bit of vertigo and a little scotch in our system we started an olympic level sprint…it was a case of who will get bitten first anyway…Sid zipped past me, Daniel almost gave up and I was in the middle keeping pace…Daniel almost fell down the hill but he survived…although it was really hard we eventually made it back to the village!
The next morning we again went up to the hill and realized that we had crossed a sheep house and these dogs probably thought we were out there to steal the farmers sheep…yeah we still haven’t decided whether we want to get into the wool business or not…but the dogs I guess didn’t see it that way…things got lost in translation but most of this adventure was fun anyway!
Travel tip: If you plan on to visit this lake, I recommend you have to take a dip in that lakes water, well why not…first up its a good scientific experiment to judge how cold the water would be…but seriously what is the point of driving 5 days non stop to get to this lake at such high altitude and not test the waters :)… I did it, twice! and yes it made me feel alive! So my advice go for it!