Chandratal Lake is one of two high-altitude wetlands of India which have been designated as Ramsar sites vast meadows on the banks of the lake are the camping sites.
The lake is 6kms away from Kunzum Pass, who links up Lahaul and Spiti valley’s with each other. Boasting of a circumference of about 2.5 km, Crystal clear deep blue water of lake is the main source of the Chandra River.
Chandratal Lake or Chandra Taal is a Hindi word, which means Moon’s Lake. The name of the lake originates from its crescent shape. One can easily see a reflection of moon and galaxy in late evening hours whosoever visits here.
Chandratal Lake situated at altitude of about 4300 meter (14, 100 feet above sea) in the Lahaul – Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
The lake thus aptly named is one of the exotic places in Himachal. It offers breathtaking and scenic beauty to repose. With span of time Chandra Taal become a popular destination for trekkers and campers. Chandra Taal is known as camper’s paradise.
During springtime, these meadows are carpeted with hundreds of kinds of wildflowers. Suraj Taal is also accessible from Chandra Taal, 30 kms away from here. Many trekkers’ starts there trek from Chandra Taal to reach Suraj Taal and Baralacha La.
Chronicles suggest that Chandra Taal is the place where Lord Indra on his chariot escorted Yudishtra, eldest brother of the Pandavas to heaven in his mortal form.
As a result, this lake is a revered one and draws a large number of devotees.
Chandra Taal, once a halting place for traders who went to Spiti and the Kullu valley from Tibet and Ladakh attracts a large number of photographers and adventure lovers.
How to Reach Chandratal
Chandratal Lake is easily accessible by road from Manali and Kaza both sides. It depends on you, from which side you are travelling. The Lake is easily approachable by foot from either Batal ( Manali side ) or Kunzum Pass ( Kaza Side ). It is an 8km trek from Kunzum Pass and can also be reached by driving via Batal from Manali. One can easily reach here on his Bike. The road is not advisable to drive during July & August.
Possible routes may be either Delhi-Kullu-Manali-Rohtang La – Gramphoo-Chattru-Battal-Chandertal
or Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda – Karcham – Nako – Tabo – Kaza – Kunzum la – Chandra Taal.
In order to reach the lake people have to trek about 8km from Kunzum pass.
The nearest airport is located at Bhuntar, known as Kullu -Manali Airport. 160kms.
Nearest railway station is at Chandigarh railway station. From Chandigarh, one can easily board in Volvo or state transport or private tour and travels buses till Manali then hire a taxi if you have budget according to that or take Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus to reach Batal and then trek to Chandratal Lake.
Winters are very cold and freezing. Temperatures can touch below -15 oC. Summer (April- June) is also cold, but right time for trekkers. There is a high probability of snowing in the winters and also some snowing can be witnessed in other seasons too. The best time to visit is between June and October. The lake remains frozen on winters.
Trekking Chandra Taal
With Opening of Manali – Leh Highway, Trekkers from all over globe increasing season by season to Chandra Taal. From, June to September a large number of travelers visits here. The Chandra Taal Trek is rated moderate by most of trekkers but one can enjoy the trek with the unparalleled beauty of landscapes with almost treeless valley, clear blue sky and lushgreen meadows. It is an 8km trek from Kunzum Pass and can also be reached by driving via Batal from Manali. The days are not cold but the temperature drops quickly after the sun sets, and the wind adds its bit. The best way to keep warm is to wear clothes in layers.
Where to Stay
People generally prefer Chandra Taal to camp on its bank. There are a few camping sites that can be found on the periphery of this area. Tourists and trekkers generally avoid winters because the lake freezes after snowfall and temperatures dip below sub zero temperatures. If you have your own tent then you can pitch tent here, wherever you like on camping site or accommodation provided by locals in Tents with good food etc. They accommodate you including dinner and breakfast preferably vegetarian food but Sometimes Non – veg food also available with them. It depends on pre-order.
If You visiting during off season, better to confirm details about road conditions in Manali or Kaza local administration office over phone. Camping around Chandra Taal Lake has it’s own experience but try to don’t trash there.
Reasons To Visit
– Chandratal (14000+ ft above sea level) is a remote high altitude lake in Lahaul / Spiti Area accessible via 4 wheel Drive from Batal near Kumzumla Pass, Bikers also visit Chandra Taal lake frequently.
– Chandertal is part of one of the sought after trekking routes from Manali.
– Camps for overnight stay are setup near Chandertal lake during July – Sept period.
Important for visitors
“Chandratal lake area can be given a tag of most rugged and most inaccessible. The area is most unpredictable weather-wise and can be visited only in July-August months. Chandratal lake requires a 4WD jeep drive and overlooks the most high altitude lake and Himalayan beauty there could be. You can hike near by peaks during day time and see Chandra Taal from there and take pictures will take you to another world but with experienced guide or local guy preffered . Don’t go alone.
Must Have things
If you are traveling in a pleasant time window i.e. July-August you don’t really need any special thing apart from you basic travel kit and few medicines. But, if you are traveling in a dicey time window to a terrain like Chandra Taal Lake better prepared with the following must haves –
-Snow/Water proof trekking shoes, shoes should be light in weight, comfortable (as you need to trek a lot) with powerful grip in Snow or slippery surface.
-Strong trekking stick for holding gripping snow.
-Snow/Water proof clothing i.e. Jackets and Lower, Heavy Woolens proffered.
– Woolen socks [carry 2 extra pair in case one any gets wet] in your backpack.
– Medicines, Torchlight,
– Medium size, low weight towel in your back pack to keep yourself dry as much as you can
– Drinking water bottle say 2 Ltr for your backpack,
– Camping gear if you need to setup your own camping.
– & most important, Camp & Trek but Don’t Trash…
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