Bollywood helps inspire a boom in Indian domestic tourism

Idyllic idiocy

PANGONG LAKE in Ladakh, an expanse of water at an altitude of some 4,350 metres in India’s far Himalayan north-west, is a sublime sight. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, its icy water is so blue and clear that you can see far down into its depths. Yet these days, the lake’s edge (pictured) has a new attraction. Along the shore sit a dozen or so scooters, spaced about ten metres apart, as well as a few plastic chairs in three colours, shaped in the form of men’s bottoms. For 30 rupees ($0.41) each, tourists can take pictures of themselves mounted on these props. “This is the signature shot,” enthuses Vivek, an engineer from Delhi, as he clambers on a yellow scooter.

Until a few years ago, few tourists made it to Pangong lake; those who did were mostly intrepid Western backpackers. The road to get there, which crosses the world’s second-highest drivable mountain pass, is a hair-raising icy...



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