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The Changtang – a high altitude plateau in Tibet.




The Changtang is a high altitude plateau in western and northern Tibet that extends into southeastern Ladakh.

Overview

• This region is filled with vast highlands and giant lakes.
• From Eastern Ladakh, Changtang stretches about 1600 km to the east into Tibet, as far as the state of Qinghai.
• Changtang is geographically part of Tibetan Plateau.
• This is the home of the Changpa nomads.
• Chang Tang is located in Northern Tibet.
• It has been labeled as one of the last practically unexplored places on earth by wildlife biologist George Schaller.
• It is bigger than the size of Germany.
• This is a perma-frozen, windswept, treeless wilderness dotted with large brackish lakes.
• Local wildlife like Yaks, Tibetan bears, Chirus (the Tibetan antelope) and wolfs are the kings of this 5000 meters area.
• Changtang was once ruled by a culture known as the Zhangzhung.
• This later merged with Tibetan culture.

Tibetian Changtang
• Most of the Tibetan Changtang is now protected nature reserves.
• This consists of the Changtang Nature Reserve, the second-largest nature reserve in the world.
• There are four new adjoining smaller reserves totalling 496,000 sq. km. (191,507 sq. miles) of connected Nature Reserves.
• They represent an area almost as large Spain, and bigger than 197 countries.
• The protected areas stretch across parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, and Qinghai Province in China.

Ladakhi Changtang
• Only a small part of Changtang crosses the border into Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
• This is on a historically important route for travellers journeying from Ladakh to Lhasa.

The Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary
• This sanctuary is a home for many rare flora and fauna of Ladakh.
• The sanctuary is located at a high altitude in the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir.
• The Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary is surrounded by two large and world-famous water lakes.
• They are the Tsomoriri and the Pangong Tso.
• Tsomoriri is one of the huge mountain lakes in the southeastern part of Ladakh
• Karzok Village is situated on the southwest bank of this lake.
• It is the world’s highest inhabited village.
• The Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary has natural grasslands.
• It also has a wide variety of more than 200 species of wild plants.
• Most of these are edible for animals.
• The kiang or Tibetan wild ass, as well as the rare Black-necked Crane are found here.
• The Changtang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.
• The altitude of the sanctuary varies from 14,000 to 19,000 feet.
• The topography is formed of deep gorges and vast plateaus.
• There are around 11 lakes and 10 marshes in the Changtang Cold Desert Sanctuary.
• The majestic River Indus dances through the sanctuary, dividing it into two parts.

Other geographic features
• The Tso moriri is counted among the highest lakes in the world.
• Tsomoriri is spread over an area of 120 kms.
• The maximum depth of 40 m.
• It is situated at an altitude of 4,000–5,000 m.
• The lake was designated as a Ramsar site.
• The Pangong Tso is situated at a height of around 4,250 m.
• It covers an area of 134 kms (from India to China).
• The water is salty, but in spite of that, during the winter the water freezes.

Other attractions in the neighborhood
• Breathtaking Leh
• Historic Shey Palace
• Thiksey and Hemis Monastery
• Spituk – Home of the Spituk Monastery
• Explore the Tsokar Wetlands
• Kiangs (Tibetian Wild Ass) of Tsokar
• Cultural discovery – the Changpas
• Enchanting emerald blue Tsomoriri Lake
• Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve
• Leh Palace
• Extensive trekking (Leh to Matho)
• Rich, exotic wildlife of Hemis National Park
• Snow Leopards of Rumbak
• Matho Pass

Places in Ladakh

– Monasteries
– Polyandry
– Primogeniture
– Khangbu

Fauna : A total of 225 species have been recorded.
• Brown-headed Gull
• Brahimini duck
• Ruddy Sheldrake
• Barhead goose
• Black Necked Crane
• Tibetan Raven
• Red-Billed Chough
• Snow-cock
• Chukor
• Lammergeier
• Golden Eagle
• Bharal, or Blue Sheep
• Shapo, or Urial, is a goat
• The Argali or Nayan
• The Chiru, or Tibetan Antelope
• The Kyang, or Tibetan Wild Ass
• The Snow Leopard
• Lynx
• Tibetan Wolf
• Brown Bears
• Marmots
• Voles
• Hares
• Several types of Pika

Sights and Activities

Monasteries and other Architecture
• Many monasteries celebrate their annual festivals in winter
• Monasteries have a wealth of artefacts
• Lamayuru is the oldest religious centre of Ladakh
• Wood carving, statues and frescoes are unique
• The wealth of its possession and its annual summer festival make Hemis the most popular
• Thiksay rates high in terms of architectural impact
• The beauty of the festival performances at Likir and Phyang
• Shey, Spituk and the Sankar monasteries are very beautiful

National Monuments in Ladakh
• Sculpture at Drass
• Rock Cut Sculpture at Mulbekh.
• Lamayuru Monastery.
• Likir Monastery.
• Alchi Monastery
• Phyang Monastery.
• Hemis Monastery.
• Leh Palace.
• Old Castle Tsemo Hill.
• Stupa at T- Suru.
• Shey Palace
• Nubra Valley
• Glacial himalaya
• Changthang (Nyoma Division)
• Pangong Lake
• Tsomo Riri Lake

Events and Festivals
• Hemis, which falls in late June or the first half of July, and is dedicated to Padmasambhava.
• Festivals at Lamayuru (also early July).
• Phyang (Late July or early August).
• Tak-thok (about ten days after Phyang).
• Karsha in Zanskar (11 days after Phyang).
• Spituk, Stok, Thiksay, Chemrey Matho all have their festivals in winter, between November and March.
• Likir and Deskit (Nubra) time their festivals to coincide with Dosmochey, the festival of the scapegoat.
• Falling in the second half of February, Dosmoche is one of the two New Year festivals, the other being Losar.

Best time to visit / climate

• The best time for a visit is summer, during May-June, and autumn, September-October.
• For snowboard joys, December to March is the best time.

Location on Google Maps


View Larger Map

Or click and paste the URL below on your browser:
http://maps.google.co.in/maps?q=Changtang,+Xiufeng,+Guilin,+China&hl=en&geocode=FVI3ggEdI-GSBg&hnear=Changtang&t=m&z=14

How to get there?

1. By Road
• The National Highway 1D from Srinagar via Kargil is generally open longer.
• The Leh-Manali Highway can be troublesome due to very high passes and plateaus, and the lower but landslide-prone Rohtang Pass near Manali.
National Highway 1D
• The overland approach to Ladakh from the Kashmir valley via the 434-km.
• Srinagar-Leh road typically remains open for traffic from June to October/November.
• The Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) operates regular Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Srinagar and Leh on this route with an overnight halt at Kargil.
• Taxis (cars and jeeps) are also available at Srinagar for the journey.
• Leh-Manali Highway.
• Since 1989, the 473-km Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second land approach to Ladakh.
• Open for traffic from June to late October.

2. By Air
Leh’s Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport has flights to Delhi at least daily on Kingfisher, Jet Airways and/or Indian Airlines which also provides twice weekly services to Jammu and a weekly flight to Srinagar.

3. By Rail
• There are no railways currently in Ladakh, however a railway is proposed.
• See Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh Railway for more information.

Some travel books from Amazon about The Hampta Pass Trek

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: India Lonely Planet Indian Himalaya Lonely Planet Trekking in the Indian Himalaya

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at planetwildlife.com
Hotels at complete-travel-guide.com
Hotels at chinci.com

Blogs / Sites about Changtang

Blogs and reviews at changtang.com
Blogs at wcs.org
Blogs and reviews at chinahighlights.com

Images and photos of Changtang

Images at google.com
Images at besthike.wordpress.com
Images at pbase.com

Videos of The Changtang




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