This is a folk tale about how the Tsokar lake in Ladakh lost most of its water. It also explains the origin of the tiny Tso Kiagar lake on the way to TsoMoriri. The story was told to me by a local from the Thukje village.

A bird’s eye view of the Tsokar Lake.

There used to be a lot of water in the Tsokar lake“. He said. And pointing towards the base of the mountains as he traced an imaginary line showing how high the water level was in the days gone by.

In fact, during my grandfather’s days the lake had a lot of water“. He added. “My grandfather used to tell me stories about how the lake lost most of its water”.

“Tell me” i said. Interested.

“This is all the handiwork of Yamaraj (the lord of death). You see, Yamaraj was a mischievous man”. Hmm.. i cant imaging the lord of death to be mischievous. But go on… “One day he wanted to play a prank on the Thukje villagers. So he drank all the water from the Tsokar lake and went towards Tsomoriri to dump the water there. But as he was sneaking away, he was unable to stifle a laugh and some of the water escaped fell back into the lake. This became the Tsokar lake as we know today”.

“On his way to Tsomoriri he stopped on top of the mountain to look back at Tsokar. Seeing how little water it had, he couldn’t stop laughing and some more water escaped from his nostrils and formed the Tso Kiagar lake. Finally he managed to control himself and went to Tsomoriri to dump the water there.”

So there my readers. This is the story of how the Tsokar lake lost most of its waters and how the Tso Kiagar lake was born.

Shrinking Glaciers – The real reason :
Ofcourse, the real reason for the reduced waters levels in the Tsokar lake is due to the shrinking glaciers on the mountains surrounding the lake. The south facing glaciers have all but disappeared now and the north facing glaciers are also quickly receding. You can see that evidence in the photos of the mountains surrounding the lake.