Pangong TsoLook deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~ Albert Einstein

Pangong Tso (Tibetan for “high grassland lake”) where Indian and Chinese soldiers periodically clash in violence with non-fatal injuries reported as recently as August 2017. The enormous, resplendent saltwater lake, which lies at almost 4,500 meters altitude, is split by the Sino-Indian border, a geopolitical divide that remains at the heart of China’s and India’s conflicting territorial claims. Pangong Tso is home to a handful of Tibetan herders able to withstand the extreme physical environment, including cold temperatures, insufficient food supply, and no mobile reception or running water. While travelers usually visit Pangong Tso in the span of one day, some enterprising Tibetans have opened their homes or set up limited accommodation for more adventuresome guests and the less faint of heart (literally). Except for the inadequate power supply, to me it seemed like the ideal place to finish writing a dissertation for its sense of serene stillness, solitude, and austere beauty. For those lucky enough to visit, prepare to stay overnight to soak in brilliant azure skies, crystal blue waters, and long daytime walks along uninterrupted rocky shoreline with piles of snow and broken ice, salt deposits, and colorful prayer flags fluttering in the strong late afternoon wind. And, because visually the lake is at its most stunning in the early dawn when the air is crispest and the surrounding mountains just begin to bathe in rays of warm sunshine.

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