Despite its brackish water quality, Pangong Tso has a jewel like gleam. It may lie still and quiet. But as the sun advances in the sky, with subtle alteration in tone, nuanced colour, these waters display an artistry that is brilliant. It is a masterpiece that is symbolic of Ladakh.
Best described in conflicting phrases, Ladakh is bleak, with its unyielding terrain, but it is also hauntingly beautiful. With a biting wintry cold that seeps into your bones yet warms you with its familiarity. Yes, this may be a harsh and unforgiving land but it is also a place peopled by gentle folk, where miles and miles of silent spaces resound with the peace of an ancient religion.
Ladakh is awash with Buddhism and all of its symbols. Rhythmic chants, the enchanting tinkle of bells, ochre robes and isolated monasteries. A region rooted in the past and in the teachings of The Awakened One. When Buddha said ’Quieten your mind, reflect, watch’, he could have been referring to a person’s inner turmoil. But those words could well apply to the wonders of this beautiful universe, which most of us tend to ignore, caught up as we are in the clamour of the modern world.
Pangong Tso reflects more than just beauty. It forces us to be still. Look within. And contemplate.