Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve
Tsomoriri or Lake Moriri (official name: Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve), in the Changthang (literal meaning, northern plains) area, is a High Altitude Lake (HAL) with an altitude of 4,595 m (15,075 ft) in Ladakh, India and is the largest of the High Altitude Lakes in the Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region, entirely within India. It is hemmed between Ladakh in the North and Tibet in the east and Zanskar in the west; the Changthang plateau is the geographical setting with snow peaks that provides the source of water for the Lake. Accessibility to the lake is limited to summer season only. Tsokar means salty lake in local language and salt was extracted from this lake in earlier times, till the end of 1959, for consumption by the local people. It is oligotrophic in nature and its waters are alkaline. The lake formerly had an outlet to the south, but it has contracted considerably and has become land locked; as a result; the water is now brackish to saline. The lake is fed by springs and snow-melt in two major stream systems, one entering the lake from the north, the other from the southwest. Both stream systems create extensive marshes where they enter the lake.
As per a classification of the Himalayan Lakes done on the basis of their origin, there are four groups and Tsomoriri falls under the third group of “Remnant Lakes". The classification as reported states:
(i) Glacial lakes which are formed in and around glaciers; (ii) Structural lakes, formed by folds or faults due to movements in earth’s crust (e.g. Nainital lake in Uttaranchal), (iii) Remnant lakes which were originally structural but represent the remnants of vast lakes (e.g., Tsomoriri, Tso Kar, Pangong Tso in Ladakh, and Dal Lake in Kashmir), (iv) Natural dammed lakes i.e., temporary water bodies formed along the river courses due to deposition of rocks or debris e.g. Gohna Tal in Garhwal, Uttaranchal.
The Changthang plateau in the eastern Ladakh represents a landscape of low productive Ecosystems which protects unique floral and faunal species.The area is an extension of the western Tibetan plateau that lies above 4,500 m (14,800 ft) msl and supports diverse but low populations of several globally threatened mammals. The Lake’s basin could also be categorised as an endorheic basin since it is a closed drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water such as rivers or oceans.
Tso Moriri Lake, Korzok, in Ladakh.
The lake is surrounded by the elevated valley of Rupshu with hills rising to 6,000 m (20,000 ft). “Changpas", the nomadic migratory shepherds (pastoral community) of yak, sheep, goat, and horses of Tibetan origin and who are engaged in trade and work on caravans in Ladakh region, are the main inhabitants of the area.. Changpa herders use the land of this valley as grazing ground and for cultivation.
The Working Report (2006) of the Planning Commission of the Government of India also reports:
Despite a poor vegetation cover, relatively low standing biomass and high anthropogenic pressure, this area sustains a considerably high livestock population. Steady increase in the livestock population in the area is mainly attributed to influx of nomadic herders from Tibet during recent decades and promotion of Pashmina goat production by the Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) for fine quality under wool (Pashmina). The herders and AHD officials, in recent years have begun to raise concern over degradation of pastures, resultant shortage of forage, and mass mortality of livestock during severe winters.
The Korzok Monastery, on the western bank of the lake is 400 years old and attracts tourists and Buddhist pilgrims. Tourism during May – September attracts large number of foreign and local tourists even though tented accommodation is the facility available, apart from a small PWD guest house close to the Lake.
Further information: Leh
The lake is located to the Southeast of Leh in Eastern Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, at a road distance of 215 kilometres (134 mi). Leh is also connected by Air with many destinations in India.
Hydrology and water quality
The Lake, draining a catchment area of 120 km2 (46 sq mi) is enclosed by rolling hills of the Tibetan cold desert on the western side with steep hills and by the Pare Chu, which flows on the southern side. Another wetland, the Nuro Sumdo (with a catchment area of 20 km2/7.7 sq mi), lies between Tsomoriri in the north, and the Pare Chu in the south, a bog which drains into the Pare Chu. Several small mountain streams feed the Lake notably through pasture land at Peldo Le. The lake is fed by springs and snow melt and has a maximum depth of 40 m (130 ft). Aridity and cold desert conditions prevail in the lake region; with summer temperature varying from 0 ° to 30 °C (32 °-86 °F) and winter temperature recording −10 ° and −40 °C (14 ° to -40 °F). Geologically the lake is in the Cambrian/Pre-Cambrian terrain.
Avifauna and flora
Tibetan Ass in the vicinity of Tsomoriri Lake
An avifaunal survey of the Lake and its adjoining Nuro Sumdo wetland conducted in July 1996 revealed the following facts:
Thirty-four species of birds included 14 species of water birds (some are pictured in the gallery) of which following are the vulnerable species
Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) endangered.
Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus)– only breeding ground in India
Brown-headed Gulls (Larus brunnicephalus)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) (rare)
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (rare)
Tibetan gazelle, Procapra picticaudata, Goa antelope (threatened)
Ovis ammon hogdsoni (Argali)(Vul)
Nayan Ovis ammon hodgsoni
Bharal (Pseudois nayaurr) Himalayan blue sheep
Tibetan Ass (Kiang) or Equus kiang, endemic to the Tibetan Plateau
Great Tibetan Sheep
One species of marmot, Marmota himalayana in large numbers seen on the hill slopes surrounding the lake and also along the roadsides
One species of hare, Lepus oistolus
One species of vole, Alticola roylei
Three species of mouse hares, Ochotona macrotis, Ochotona curzoniae or Tibetan Sand Fox and Scincella ladacensis
Large carnivores fauna
Carnivores fauna reported are:
the Snow Leopard (Uncia uncial)
the Tibetan Grey Wolf (Canilupus chanku)
While the deeper parts of the lake have no vegetation, the shallow areas are reported to have Potamogeton sps. Marshes have several species of sedges and reeds, particularly Carex, Caragana and Astragalus sps., which are all representative of the surrounding arid steppe vegetation. Details of the Vegetation recorded in the area comprises the following:
Characteristic Caragana and Astragalus species
Several species of Carex, Primula (low growing herb), and Pedicularis(parasite plant)
Common species of Juncus thomsonii and Leontopodium sp
Phytoplankton species of Oocystis with density was 900 cells/L to a depth of 25 m (82 ft). Specimens of the diatom Cyclotella also recorded.
Pastures for domestic livestock
Largely based on the ecological diversity of the Lake (explained in the previous section) and its surroundings, the Tsomiriri was notified in November 2002 under the List of Ramsar Wetland sites under the Ramsar Convention. The justification could be summarized as:
The faunal collection is unique and has a large variety with endemic and vulnerable species
The herbivore species are also endemic to the region
The lake plays a fundamental role as breeding grounds and key staging posts on migration routes for several water birds belonging to six families, which is distinctive of wetland diversity and productivity
Threats to the lake
There are a number of threats to the Lake, such as:
Increase in the number of tourists visiting the lake affects breeding of avi fauna
Construction of a road right up to the Lake
Pasture degradation affecting wildlife, particularly wild herbivores (marmots, hares, ungulates)
An increase in the grazing of Sheep in the wetlands surrounding the Lake
The absence of a proper garbage disposal Facility at the Lake.
Dogs kept by the people who live near the lake are known to attack the cranes and destroy their eggs.
Jeep safaris have been known to chase wildlife such as Kiang and approach close to the breeding ground.
Lack of regulations and monitoring by the government.
The need for evolving a strategy and an action plan to preserve the extreme fragility of the lake ecosystem has been recognized with the needed emphasis at the National and International level to develop the lake conservation activity with participation of all stakeholders. The actions initiated in this direction are:
Tsomoriri is an administratively declared Wetland Reserve. Legally, shooting wildlife is prohibited. The State Department of Wildlife has set up a check post near Mahe Bridge at the entrance towards the lake. WWF-India Project has established a field office at Korzok in Rupshu near Tsomoriri for ‘Conservation of High Altitude Wetlands in Ladakh Region’ to carry out surveys, interact with tourists, tour guides, act as information centre and conduct education awareness programmes for locals, tourists etc.
Wildlife Institute of India has also set up a field station at Leh to carry out scientific research in the region. Nature clubs have been set up and Information booklet on the lake published. Efforts of WWF – India has also resulted in the local community declaring Tsomoriri as a ‘Sacred Gift for a Living Planet’ during the Annual Conference held in Nepal in November 2000.
Some of the other achievements so far reported on the Lake’s conservation are:
Regulation in consultation with local community Vehicular traffic flow and parking has been restructured with restriction of camping sites around the lake
The Indo Tibetan Border Petrol (ITBP), tour operators and local population have introduced regular garbage clean up operations
Korzok community living around the lake has voluntarily built traditional and social fencing around the wetland to protect breeding and feeding grounds from vehicular traffic
Tsomoriri Conservation Trust has been set up.
Twenty Nature Clubs have been registered in different schools in Ladakh
The Indian Army has committed to support and set up a Nature Interpretation Centre at ‘Hall of Fame’, Leh.
World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) role
World Wildlife Fund for Nature — India (WWF-India) is spearheading the efforts at conservation of the Tsomoriri lake in particular, and the Ladakh region in general. WWF’s activities as a NGO have spanned more than 30 years. The main objective set by WWF is the main activities planned for the Tsomoriri and other wetlands in Ladakh regions are:
The Promotion of Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection as the Basis for Sustainable and Equitable Development.
Evolve plan to establish a Sustainable Tourism Model managed by Local Communities at Tsomoriri
Carry on with the biological and socio-economic surveys around selected wetlands and document for future reference
Organize capacity building training programmes for Tour operators, Army, Teachers and local communities
Frequent education and awareness Programmes for various target groups
Management Planning for Tsomoriri and also Tsokar and Pangong Tso lakes by involving major stakeholders
To set guidelines for introducing Eco-Tourism Certification Scheme in Ladakh
To mobilise financial resources to carry out a comprehensive Strategic Environment Assessment
Develop Environmental Management Systems, implement and certify the Environment Management Systems with special focus on tourism sector
Maintain and enhance existing field presence at Tsomoriri, Leh, and Tsokar and increase presence at Chushul and Hanle marshes as well to achieve better results
Pangong Tso (or Pangong Lake; Tso: Ladakhi for lake) is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in Tibet, which is today under China’s rule. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.
The lake is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. This will be the first trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the convention.
Himachal Pradesh Border Leh Laddakh by sundeepkullu.com WORLD IS MY STUDIO.
Himachal Pradesh (Hindi: हिमाचल प्रदेश [ɦɪmaːtʃəl prəd̪eːʃ] ( listen)) is a state in Northern India. It is spread over 21,495 sq mi (55,673 km²), and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east. The literal meaning of Himachal Pradesh is Region of snowy mountains.
Himachal Pradesh was anciently known as Dev Bhumi (The Abode of Gods) and is known to be abundant in natural beauty After the Anglo Gorkha War, the British colonial government came into power. It was initially part of Punjab, except the Siba State of Punjab Hills which was under the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh until 1857. In 1950 Himachal was declared as a union territory but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Indian Union. Himachal has many prestigious boarding schools. Hima means snow in Sanskrit. It was named by one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh, Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma
Himachal Pradesh has one of the highest per capita incomes of any state in India. Due to the abundance of perennial rivers, Himachal also sells hydro electricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture.
Hindus make up 95% of the state population, making it the most Hindu state (proportionally), in India. According to a 2005 Transparency International survey, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala.
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Main article: History of Himachal Pradesh
The history of the area that now constitutes Himachal Pradesh dates back to the time when the Indus valley civilisation flourished between 2250 and 1750 BCE. Tribes such as the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats inhabited the region from pre-historic era. During the Vedic period, several small republics known as "Janapada" existed which were later conquered by the Gupta Empire. After a brief period of supremacy by king Harshavardhana, the region was once again divided into several local powers headed by chieftains, including some Rajput principalities. These kingdoms that enjoyed a large degree of independence were devastated by Muslim invaders a number of times. Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered Kangra at the beginning of the 10th century. Timur and Sikander Lodi also marched through the lower hills of the state and captured a number of forts and fought many battles. Several hill states acknowledged Mughal suzerainty and paid regular tribute to the Mughals.
Sansar Chand (c.1765–1823)
The Gurkhas, a martial tribe came to power in Nepal in the year 1768. They consolidated their military power and began to expand their territory. Gradually the Gorkhas annexed Sirmour and Shimla. With the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa, Gorkhas laid siege to Kangra. They managed to defeat Sansar Chand, the ruler of Kangra, in 1806 with the help of many provincial chiefs. However Gorkhas could not capture Kangra fort which came under Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in 1809. After the defeat the Gorkhas began to expand towards the south of the state. However, Raja Ram Singh, Raja of Siba State re-captured the fort of Siba from the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Samvat 1846, during the First Anglo-Sikh War. They came into direct conflict with the British along the tarai belt after which the British expelled them from the provinces of the Satluj. Thus the British gradually emerged as the paramount powers. The revolt of 1857 or first Indian war of independence resulted due to the building up of political, social, economic, religious and military grievances against the British government. People of the hill states were not as politically active as the people in other parts of the country. They remained more or less inactive and so did their rulers, with the exception of Bushahr. Some of them even rendered help to the British government during the revolt. Among them were the rulers of Chamba, Bilaspur, Bhagal and Dhami. The rulers of Bushars rather acted in a manner hostile to the interests of British.
The British territories in the hill came under British Crown after Queen Victoria’s proclamation of 1858. The states of Chamba, Mandi and Bilaspur made good progress in many fields during the British rule. During World War I, virtually all rulers of the hill states remained loyal and contributed to the British war effort both in the form of men and materials. Amongst these were the states of Kangra, Jaswan, Datarpur, Guler, Nurpur, Chamba, Suket, Mandi and Bilaspur.
After independence the Chief Commissioner’s Province of H.P. came into being on 15 April 1948 as a result of integration of 28 petty princely states (including feudatory princes and zaildars) in the promontories of the western Himalaya, known in full as the Simla Hills States & four Punjab southern hill States by issue of the Himachal Pradesh (Administration) Order, 1948 under Sections 3 & 4 of the Extra-Provincial Jurisdiction Act, 1947 (later renamed as the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1947 vide A.O. of 1950). The State of Bilaspur was merged in the Himachal Pradesh on 1 April 1954 by the Himachal Pradesh and Bilaspur (New State) Act, 1954. Himachal became a part C state on 26 January 1950 with the implementation of the Constitution of India and the Lt. Governor was appointed. Legislative Assembly was elected in 1952. Himachal Pradesh became a Union Territory on 1 November 1956. Following area of Punjab State namely Simla, Kangra, Kulu and Lahul and Spiti Districts, Nalagarh tehsil of Ambala District, Lohara, Amb and Una kanungo circles, some area of Santokhgarh kanungo circle and some other specified area of Una tehsil of Hoshiarpur District besides some parts of Dhar Kalan Kanungo circle of Pathankot tehsil of Gurdaspur District; were merged with Himachal Pradesh on 1 November 1966 on enactment of Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 by the Parliament. On 18 December 1970, the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by Parliament and the new state came into being on 25 January 1971. Thus Himachal emerged as the eighteenth state of the Indian Union.
Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of Himachal Pradesh
A summer view of Khajjiar.
Temperature 
• Avg. Winter7 °C (45 °F)
• Avg. Summer28 °C (82 °F)
Precipitation1,469 mm (57.8 in)
Himachal is situated in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of 55,673 kilometres (34,594 mi), Himachal Pradesh is a mountainous state with elevation ranging from about 350 metres (1,148 ft) to 7,000 metres (22,966 ft) above the sea level.
Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh.
The drainage system of Himachal is composed both of rivers and glaciers. Himalayan rivers criss-cross the entire mountain chain. In fact the rivers are older than the mountain system. Himachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins. The drainage systems of the region are the Chandra Bhaga or the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. These rivers are perennial and are fed by snow and rainfall. They are protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation. 
There is great variation in the climatic conditions of Himachal due to extreme variation in elevation. The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical in the southern tracts to cold, alpine and glacial in the northern and eastern mountain ranges with more elevation. The state has areas like Dharamsala that receive very heavy rainfall, as well as those like Lahaul and Spiti that are cold and almost rainless. Broadly Himachal experience three seasons; hot weather season, cold weather season and rainy season. Summer lasts from mid April till the end of June and most parts become very hot (except in alpine zone which experience mild summer) with the average temperature ranging from 28 °C (82 °F) to 32 °C (90 °F). Winter lasts from late November till mid March. Snowfall is common in alpine tracts (generally above 2,200 metres (7,218 ft) i.e. in the Higher and Trans-Himalayan region).
Flora and fauna
Main article: Wildlife of Himachal Pradesh
Asian Paradise Flycatcher in Kullu
Himalyan Monal at Birds Park in Shimla
According to 2003 Forest Survey of India report, legally defined forest areas constitute 66.52% of the area of Himachal Pradesh, although area under tree cover is only 25.78%. Vegetation in the state is dictated by elevation and precipitation.
The southern part of the state, which is at the lowest elevations, has both tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests and tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. These are represented by northwestern thorn scrub forests along the border with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and by Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests in the far southeast. Sal and shisham are found here.
Rising into the hills, we find a mosaic of western Himalayan broadleaf forests and Himalayan subtropical pine forests. Various deciduous and evergreen oaks live in the broadleaf forests, while Chir pine dominates the pine forests. Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests grow near treeline, with species that include East Himalayan Fir, West Himalayan Spruce, Deodar (State tree), and Blue pine.
In the uppermost elevations we find western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows in the northeast and northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows in the northwest. Trees are sturdy with a vast network of roots. Alders, birches, rhododendrons and moist alpine shrubs are there as the regional vegetation. The rhododendrons can be seen along the hillsides around Shimla from March to May. The shrublands and meadows give way to rock and ice around the highest peaks.
Himachal is also said to be the fruit bowl of the country with orchards scattered all over the place. Meadows and pastures are also seen clinging to steep slopes. After the winter season, the hillsides and orchards bloom with wild flowers, while gladiolas, carnations, marigolds, roses, chrysanthemums, tulips and lilies are carefully cultivated. The state government is gearing up to make Himachal Pradesh as the flower basket of the world.
Himachal Pradesh is a well known habitat to a variety of animals. There are around 1200 bird and 359 animal species in the state. This includes the Leopard, Snow leopard (State animal), ghoral, musk deer and Western Tragopan. It has 12 major national parks and sanctuaries — the largest number in the Himalayan region. The Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu district was created to conserve the flora and fauna of the main Himalayan range, while the Pin Valley National Park to conserve the flora and fauna of the cold desert.
Main article: Districts of Himachal Pradesh
BilaspurChambaHamirpurKangraKinnaurKulluLahaul and SpitiMandiShimlaSirmaurSolanUna
Himachal Pradesh is divided into 12 districts namely, Kangra, Hamirpur, Mandi, Bilaspur, Una, Chamba, Lahul and Spiti, Sirmaur, Kinnaur, Kullu, Solan and Shimla. The state capital is Shimla which was formerly British India’s summer capital under the name Simla.
A district of Himachal Pradesh is an administrative geographical unit, headed by a Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate, an officer belonging to the Indian Administrative Service. The district magistrate or the deputy commissioner is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Himachal Administrative Service and other Himachal state services. Each district is subdivided into Sub-Divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and again into Blocks. Blocks consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities. A Superintendent of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and related issues of the district. He is assisted by the officers of the Himachal Police Service and other Himachal Police officials.
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