No sugar-coating, Parang La is a challenging trek. It possesses challenges due to abrupt height gain, remoteness, rough terrain and a long glacier walk. The question then is: does this scare you or generate an adrenaline rush in you? Are you tough enough to take up this trek? If the answer is yes, you are in for a lot more than just the challenges. Over and above a little sweat, here is a list of things to look forward to most on this extraordinary trek.
Stumble upon abundant wildlife
Since Parang La is untouched and is pretty much isolated, your chances of encountering the wildlife of the Ladakh region stand higher than many other Himalayan treks. Keep your eyes open for the wild birds, donkeys, blue sheep, ibex, marmots and, if luck favours you, you may be able to spot a fox or leopard as well. We ticked off five out of this list of seven during our most recent venture there.
Camp by Tso Moriri Lake
Tso Moriri is one of the high altitude lakes of Ladakh. Due to its remote location, people often just visit Pangong Tso Lake and neglect this one. Here is a chance to cover this rarely-seen gem of a lake. Luckily for you, the last two days of the trek are going to revolve pretty much exclusively around Tso Moriri. It might be the first time in your life when you get to walk the ‘length’ of a lake.
Discover yourself on a long, deserted walk
If you want to escape to the mountains to have some me-time, look nowhere else. You won’t find a single soul out there other than your team and some local shepherds on this trek. Reason? Very few trekking companies operate on this route due to remoteness and geographical challenges of this trek. But then, challenges are what make life interesting, aren’t they?
Discover herbs that could be beneficial
Now that’s the fun part about trekking in mountains. You get to know how people from ancient times used to deal with physical ailments when medicines were far out of reach. Even today, in such remote areas like Parang La, people still dwell upon the local herbs.
We stumbled upon a much needed plant during this trek known as ‘Lichu’ in local language. It is used to prevent loss of excess water and provide a cooling effect. Just place it underneath your cap and you are good to go in blazing hot sun. You may have heard about the famous ‘sea buckthorn’ juice or squash? Well, you will find plenty of these berries growing by the banks of rivers in Spiti. Pick a handful of them for the trek. They are rich in vitamins, amino acids and protein building blocks. Sea buckthorns increase immunity and improve blood pressure.
Another widely found bush on this trek, ‘Thamas,’ generates a lot of heat when burned. The trek is deprived of any trees or plantation, hence ‘Thamas’ can be used as an alternative to wood.
Walk through history
Do you know that Parang La was once a famous trading route between Ladakh and Spiti? The Changthang tribe of Ladakh use to barter for yaks or food at La Darcha trade fair at Spiti. They used this trail to commute between the two valleys. Walking on the route that was once famous among the nomadic tribes, interesting, isn’t it?
Witness the Ladakhi Culture
Parang La ends at Karzok village, which is among the highest towns of the world. Situated on the shores of Tso Moriri Lake, the town embodies the ancient Ladakhi culture in its cuisine, architecture and values. Not only that, but very few people visit Karzok due to its remote location, so in this case, Parang La is a win-win offer. Unlike Leh, which is very much crowded these days and reflects more foreign influence in its cuisines and hotels, Karzok is pure bliss when it comes to witnessing the Ladakhi culture.
Discover Fossils of Marine Animals
Discover the life beneath the sea before the great Himalayas were formed. Himalayas are supposed to have been formed 50 million years ago due to the collision between the Eurasian tectonic plates and the Indian plates. The collision resulted in the closure of Tethy’s sea which was located between the two. The land rose in the form of Himalayas and the sea disappeared. The land of Spiti is known to be the part of Tethy’s sea. Explore the Langza village, famously known as the Fossil Village, or just take a small hike at Thaltak, the first camp site and find the fossils of marine animals.
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, the treks with which there is a history attached become a lot more interesting and meaningful. Parang La does not only have an interesting history, but offers a lot of things to look forward to. So what are you waiting for? Head on to Parang La and you might discover something new as well.