Tso Moriri Lake: Map & Location-Ladakh | Height & Depth UPSC

Tso Moriri Lake is a breathtakingly beautiful alpine lake located in the Changthang region of Ladakh, in the northernmost part of India. At an altitude of 4,522 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest lakes in the world and is surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks that add to its spectacular natural beauty.

Tso Moriri Lake is also known as “Moriri Tso” and is an important part of the Indian Himalayan landscape, attracting tourists from all over the world. The serene and tranquil waters of Tso Moriri Lake, along with its stunning surroundings, make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

LocationLadakh, India
Altitude4,522 meters above sea level
Length19 kilometers
Width3 kilometers
Surface area120 square kilometers
Maximum depth344 feet
GeologyOrdovician rock
Temperature (Summer)0°C to 30°C (32°F to 86°F)
Temperature (Winter)-10°C to -40°C (14°F to -40°F)
FloraAlpine steppe, herbs, grasses, sedges, and shrubs
FaunaTibetan wild ass, Tibetan gazelle, snow leopard, and migratory birds
Conservation statusRamsar Wetland Site, protected area by the Indian government
Local culture and traditionsChangpa nomadic herders, weaving, Buddhist spirituality, festivals
Tso Moriri Lake

Historical Significance of Tso Moriri Lake

Tso Moriri Lake has significant historical and cultural importance in the region. The lake was a major stopover for traders on the Silk Road, which was a network of trade routes that connected China, India, and the Mediterranean. Merchants traveling between Ladakh and Tibet would often stop at Tso Moriri to rest and trade goods.

In addition, the lake and the surrounding area have been home to nomadic tribes, such as the Changpa, for centuries. These tribes have a rich cultural heritage, and their way of life has been shaped by the harsh, high-altitude environment. The Changpa are known for their traditional practices, such as nomadic herding and weaving, and their unique cultural traditions.

The lake also has religious significance for the local Buddhist communities. The nearby Korzok Monastery, which was founded in the 17th century, is an important spiritual center for the region. The monastery houses ancient Buddhist artifacts and manuscripts and is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists in the area.

Overall, Tso Moriri Lake has played an important role in the cultural, economic, and spiritual history of the region, and remains a vital part of the local way of life.

Geographical Location & Physical Characteristics of Tso Moriri Lake

Tso Moriri Lake Map Location
Tso Moriri Lake Map & Location

The followings are the geographical location and physical characteristics of Tso Moriri Lake:

  • Tso Moriri Lake is located in the Changthang plateau of the Ladakh region, India.
  • Tso Moriri Lake is located in Ladakh and is one of the highest lakes in the region.
  • It is 19 kilometers long, 3 kilometers wide, and covers an area of 33,000 acres.
  • The lake is 344 ft deep and is at an altitude of 4,522 meters.
  • It is the highest Ramsar site in the world.
  • There is no need for an Inner Line Permit to visit this lake.
  • It is surrounded by very tall mountains, such as Mentok Kangri and Lungser Kangri.
  • Tso Moriri Lake is located on rocks that formed during the Ordovician period, which is a time period that occurred during the Paleozoic era.
  • The lake’s coordinates are at 32°54′N 78°18′E in latitude and longitude.
  • The region around the lake is very dry and cold, with conditions that resemble a desert.
  • In the summer, temperatures around the lake range from 0 to 30 °C (32 to 86 °F).
  • In the winter, the temperature drops to between −10 to −40 °C (14 to -40 °F).
  • Tso Moriri Lake covers an area of 120 square kilometers.
  • Currently, the lake has no outlet, which means that the water does not flow out to any other body of water.
  • The water in the lake is brackish, which means it is slightly salty.

Biodiversity of Tso Moriri Lake

Tso Moriri Lake is a high-altitude freshwater lake situated in the Ladakh region of India. The lake supports a diverse range of aquatic life, including several species of fish and other invertebrates. It is also an important breeding ground for several bird species, such as the bar-headed goose, black-necked crane, and brown-headed gull, among others.

The lake and its surrounding region are home to several large mammals, such as the Tibetan argali, Tibetan gazelle, and the snow leopard, which is an endangered species.

Flora & Fauna of Tso Moriri

JuniperTibetan Wild Ass
EdelweissTibetan Argali
Sea buckthornTibetan Gazelle
WillowSnow Leopard
PoplarBrown Bear
BarleyHimalayan Marmot
GrassesBlack-necked Crane
CarawayBrahminy Duck
Wild roseBar-headed Goose
PeaRuddy Shelduck
Flora & Fauna of Tso Moriri Lake

Best Time to Visit Tso Moriri Lake

The best time to visit Tso Moriri Lake is during the summer months, from June to September when the weather is relatively mild and the lake is accessible. During this time, temperatures range from 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F), making it comfortable for visitors to explore the surrounding areas.

In addition, the summer season is also the peak tourist season, so visitors can expect to find plenty of accommodation options and activities to do in the area, including trekking, camping, and bird watching.

However, it’s important to note that the weather in the Tso Moriri Lake region can be unpredictable, and sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions can occur. Visitors should always be prepared for cold temperatures and carry appropriate gear for their trips, even during the summer months

Conservation Efforts of Tso Moriri Lake

To conserve the unique biodiversity of the region, Tso Moriri Lake was designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 2002. This designation recognizes the critical role of the lake in supporting the diverse range of flora and fauna in the region.

Additionally, the Indian government has established the Tso Moriri Conservation Reserve to protect the lake and the surrounding ecosystem. The conservation reserve has helped to control overgrazing, reduce poaching, and promote sustainable tourism in the area.

The local communities have also been actively involved in conservation efforts, recognizing the importance of the lake and the surrounding ecosystem to their livelihoods. They have been managing waste, promoting eco-friendly tourism practices, and actively participating in conservation efforts.

In collaboration with local NGOs and the government, the community has implemented several conservation initiatives, such as afforestation programs and the restoration of degraded lands. Overall, the biodiversity and conservation efforts at Tso Moriri Lake are critical to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the region and the diverse range of life it supports.

Local Culture & Traditions

The local culture and traditions around Tso Moriri Lake are deeply influenced by the high-altitude environment and the nomadic way of life of the Changpa people.

Here are some of the key aspects of the local culture and traditions:

  1. Nomadic herding: The Changpa people are traditionally nomadic herders, and they graze their livestock (primarily yaks, sheep, and goats) around the lake and in the surrounding hills. This lifestyle is central to their culture and has been passed down for generations.
  2. Weaving: The Changpa are also known for their traditional weaving practices, which produce high-quality woolen textiles. These textiles are used for clothing, bedding, and other household items, and are an important part of the local economy.
  3. Festivals and celebrations: The Changpa people celebrate a number of festivals throughout the year, which are marked by music, dance, and traditional costumes. One of the most important festivals is the Korzok Gustor, which takes place at the Korzok Monastery and involves masked dances and other rituals.
  4. Buddhism: The majority of the Changpa people are followers of Buddhism, and the Korzok Monastery is an important spiritual center for the region. The monastery houses ancient Buddhist artifacts and manuscripts and is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists in the area.
  5. Food and drink: The Changpa cuisine is centered around dairy products, such as butter, cheese, and yogurt, as well as meat from their livestock. Changthang Tea, a salty butter tea, is a popular beverage in the region.


In conclusion, Tso Moriri Lake is a beautiful and unique destination that offers visitors a glimpse into the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of the Ladakh region. The lake’s high altitude, unique geological features, and diverse flora and fauna make it an ideal destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

The local Changpa culture, with its traditional nomadic herding practices, weaving, festivals, and Buddhist spirituality, adds an additional layer of depth and interest to the region. Whether you are interested in exploring the lake’s natural wonders or immersing yourself in the local culture, Tso Moriri Lake is a destination that is not to be missed.

Thank You!

Where is Tso Moriri Lake located?

Tso Moriri Lake is located in the Ladakh region of India. Specifically, it is situated in the Changthang plateau, which is a high-altitude plateau in the northeastern part of Ladakh.

What is the maximum depth of Tso Moriri Lake?

The maximum depth of Tso Moriri Lake is 344 feet. The lake has a surface area of approximately 120 square kilometers and is fed by several small streams and springs that flow into it from the surrounding mountains.

What is the altitude of Tso Moriri Lake?

Tso Moriri Lake is situated at a high altitude of 4,522 meters above sea level. This makes it one of the highest-altitude lakes in the world.

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