Can we visit Pangong Lake Now?
Yes, we can visit Pangong lake now in 2021. Restrictions on the visit of Pangong Lake had been lifted. Tourists can visit the Pangong Lake now after obtaining an Inner-Line-Permit. In an official press release on 10th January 2021 by the office of Deputy Commissioner, “Pangong Lake has been reopened from 10th January 2021. However, in order to visit Pangong Lake, visitors should apply for Inner Line Permit (ILP) at DC office Leh near polo ground”. As, per government officials, Tourists are only allowed to visit the western end of the Lake.
Tourism is a significant contributor to Ladakh’s economy. Unfortunately, Tourism is among the worst-hit sector by the Pandemic. Stakeholders had been summoned by Shri Radha Krishna Mathur (Lieutenant Governor) to discuss the revival of Ladakh tourism post Covid19. As Pangong Lake is among the most famous tourist attractions, It was decided to lift the restrictions to visit Pangong Tso. And the press release has been published to “Reopen the Pangong Lake visit for tourists.”
Click to visit the government official site to view the official press release.
How to apply for Inner-Line-Permit to visit Pangong Tso?
Online: You can apply for Inner-Line-Permit online by visiting the site, but you need to verify it in Leh Ladakh at Deputy Commissioner Office. DC office is in Main Leh near Polo Ground. You can ask anyone for the DC office in Leh. Visit the tourism section of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, with valid photo IDs for the verification process. The tourism section is just outside the main building of the DC office towards the left of the main entrance. You might need to wait in a queue for a while. Contact us for free advice
Offline: Visit the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Leh at the address mentioned above. The opening time to apply for a permit is 10:00 am to 05:00 pm. Try visiting the office before 3:00 pm as it might take a lot of time for the whole process. Office working days are from Monday to Saturday. The office is closed on Sunday and other national holidays.
Restrictions imposed in 2020.
Due to the outbreak of the epidemic and border tensions at the same time, the tourist visit to the lake was discontinued last year. But China opened the lake for visitors during the summer of 2020 and allowed tourists to visit the Chinese side of the Pangong Lake. Among the 134 kilometers of lakes, China has more than two-thirds.
Last year following the stand-off between the Indian Military and the Chinese Army along the Line of Actual Control, the government of UT Ladakh tightened restrictions at Pangong Lake. Even journalists who visited Ladakh to report the ongoing tension between the Indian army and PLA had to cover the face-off. And their movement was restricted. They were not allowed to move beyond the Leh city limits.
The decision to reopen Pangong came a day before the Indian army decided to repatriate Chinese soldiers detained by India on the south bank of Pangong Lake which lies on the Indian side.
Military officials familiar with the development said that a PLA personnel who crossed the LAC was detained by the Indian army. The PLA soldier was captured on the 8th of January 2021. China requested the immediate release of the soldier on January 9, 2021. The soldier was released on11th of January 2021 and returned to the Chinese authorities at 10:10 am.
Kunchok Stanzin, the elected councilor of Chushul Constituency announced the good news in the valley saying “restrictions on the entry of tourists have been lifted on January 10 and tourists can freely visit the area”. Chusul Valley lies in the south of Pangong Lake. Restrictions on the visit of Pangong Lake would affect the economy of the valley to a great extent