According to Indian media reports, units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force(ITBP) have reported UFOs in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. An ITBP unit based in Thakung, close to the Pangong Tso Lake, reported over 100 sightings of luminous objects between August 1 andOctober 15 this year.
Pangong Tso 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 China. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 sq. km. During winter the lakefre ezes 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.
In reports sent to their Delhi headquarters in September, and to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), they described sighting “Unidentified Luminous Objects” at day and by night. The yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing.
These were not unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), drones or even low earth-orbiting satellites, say Army officials who have studied the hazy photographs taken by ITBP.
In September, the Army moved a mobile ground-based radar unit and a spectrum analyser-that picks up frequencies emitted from any object-to a mountaintop near the 160-km-long, ribbon-shaped Pangong Lake that lies between India and China. The radar could not detect the object that was being tracked visually, in dicating it was non-metallic. The spectrum analyser could not detect any signals being emitted from them. The Army also flew a reconnaissance drone in the direction of the floating object, but it proved
a futile exercise. The drone reached its maximum altitude but lost sight of the floating object.
In late September this year, a team of astronomers from the Indian Astronomical Observatory at Hanle,150 km south of the lake, studied the airborne phenomena for three days. The team spotted the flying objects, Army officials say, but could not conclusively establish what they were. They did, however, say that the objects were “non celestial” and ruled out meteors and planets.
Scientists however say, the harsh geography and sparse demography of the great Himalayan range that separates Kashmir Valley from Ladakh, lends itself to unusual sightings. “The region is snowbound in winter, has few roads and is one of the most isolated places in India,” says Sunil Dhar, a geologist at the government Post Graduate College in Dharamshala, who has studied glaciers in the region for 15 years. Yet, none of the experts from the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)-in charge of technical intelligence-and Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), has been able to identify the objects.
There is still also no explanation, however, for what is believed to be the clearest UFO sighting yet, which was sighted over Lahaul-Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh less than 100 km south of Ladakh. A five-member group of geologists and glaciologists led by Dr Anil Kulkarni of the ISRO’s Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad were on a research trip through the barren Samudra Tapu Valley (12-km, eight-hour trek from Chandratal Lake). On September 27, 2004 they had filmed a four foot tall humanoid figure, that walked along the valley, 50 m away from them. The humanoid object then rapidly became airborne and disappeared. The encounter lasted 40 minutes.
Chandra Taal (meaning the Lake of the Moon), or Chandra Tal, is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalaya.The lake is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau, which overlooks the ChandraRiver.
The most surprising thing about this lake is that there is no visible source of this lake but there is a visible outlet of this lake which means that water to this lake comes from underground. Chandratal, the only sacred lake in the Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh , has for long been steeped in mythology. Legend has it that the crescent-shaped pristine water body is an abode of fairies who descend on Earth on moonlit nights.
It was seen by 14 persons including the six scientists. Kulkarni then interviewed each expedition member separately to verify what the team had seen. Copies of his detailed report were circulated to the PMO, ISRO, the Army and several intelligence agencies. Kulkarni established his team hadn’t seen natural phenomenon. The matter, however, was buried soon after.
Sunil Dhar, who was part of the 2004 expedition, terms the sighting of the unidentified object an unforgettable experience. Locals, he says, have reported sighting mysterious objects for many years. These are unsolved mysteries that need more intensive study, he says. Left unexplained, the Ladakh sightings risk slipping into the crack between fact and science fiction.