Destinations: Leh, Tso Kar and Tso Moriri
Duration: 06 Nights and 07 Days
Best time: May to June
Tour Code: 561-DT V.01
This six-night and seven days tour is focused upon exploring the enchanting landscape and unique birdlife of Ladakh. The journey will kickstart in Leh followed by two two-night stays in Tso Kar and one one-night stay in Tso Moriri. During the trip, you will come across some many endangered and endemic species of Ladakh including the Black-necked Crane, Tibetan Snowcock, Ibisbill, and Chukar. Led by a knowledgeable guide and ground handler, we will make sure you are laden with a great photo album and left with lasting experiences.
Tso Kar is a high-altitude lake in the Rupshu Plateau in Ladakh. Due to the salinity of the lake, most of the resident fauna is found in its tributaries and in the nearby Startsapuk Tso. There are large breeding colonies of waterfowl. In the vicinity of the lake Black-necked Cranes and Tibetan Sandgrouse are relatively common. The basin of the Tso Kar and the adjoining More Plains constitute one of the most important habitats of the Tibetan Wild Ass (Kiang), Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Wolf and Tibetan and Red Foxes. Himalayan Marmots can be found in the higher areas.
Currently, the lake basin has no special protection, but there are plans to include it within a national park which may be established in the highlands of south-eastern Ladakh.
Tso Moriri or Lake Moriri is a high-altitude lake in the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh. The lake and surrounding area are protected as the Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation
Tso Moriri is the largest of the high-altitude lakes that lies completely within India and Ladakh in this region. It is about 26 km north to south in length and 3-5 km wide. Largely based on the ecological diversity of the Lake and its surroundings, as well as the adjoining Nuro Sumdo wetland, Tso Moriri was notified in November 2002 under the List of Ramsar Wetland sites under the Ramsar Convention.
My week in the land of high passes
Ladakh is truly a stunningly beautiful country, one that has beauty in its rugged and almost bare landscape. Not only are the landscapes and views beautiful here, but the people are too. Friendly locals, who are not only super helpful, but also a joy to chat with, colorful traditions, and, of course, yummy Ladakhi food!
Although Ladakh is one of the best places to see Snow Leopard in India, particularly in Hemis National Park, I sadly did not have time for it and decided on a relatively quick birding visit.
The stunning scenery and amazing monuments are accompanied by a fantastic diversity of wildlife, much of which is not found in the rest of the subcontinent. The high altitude and desert-like conditions mean that much of the wildlife here is specialized, even if not endemic.
Needless to say my life list got a serious boost with all the birds of Ladakh. From jackdaws and choughs to Chukar Partridge, endangered Black-necked Cranes, Horned Lark, and more. I even got to see a majestic herd of Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass).
Of course, as a foodie, no journey of mine is complete without sampling the local delicacies. From momos and thukpa (way better than the street versions you get throughout India), to sky and the famous butter tea, almost every dish here is designed to warm you through and through, something I was grateful for. The only disadvantage is that keeping awake during an afternoon birding session becomes a very difficult task indeed.
And photos! How could I forget the photos? Ladakh is amazingly photogenic. From the rugged mountain passes to the cute little young monks, to the picture-perfect lakes of Tso Kar and Tso Moriri, and, of course, the amazing wildlife. Although it would be impossible for me to forget Ladakh, the amount of photos I’ve taken will never let me!