August 2012
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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.


• 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:,+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
Hotels at
Hotels at

Blogs / Sites about Changtang

Blogs and reviews at
Blogs at
Blogs and reviews at

Images and photos of Changtang

Images at
Images at
Images at

Videos of The Changtang

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