CHANDRATAL LAKE- THE EPITOME OF MESMERISM
Cutting the monotony of hard rocky mountains are the drops of heaven that sparkles through the finitely infinite sky of Spiti Valley. Chandratal Lake is the flagbearer of surrealism in this mobile land. It stands out as one of the most revered and amazing travel destinations in India, especially in Himachal Pradesh.
Whether you’re an adventure fanatic traveling from Manali or a rural tourism enthusiast that has just kicked off his/her journey from Kaza, coming face to face with the enigma of life here is gratifying.
The unreal yet magical topography of Lahaul and Spiti unwinds its secrets here. As much as it is difficult breathing in this altitude, Chandratal Lake leaves no stone unturned in making you breathless. Words aren’t enough to woo you in the way it does and there is only one way to confirm that. Yes, by visiting it yourself of course! Are you in for that? Yes? Then, here is everything you need to know about Chandratal Lake.
Finding Chandratal Lake on the map is not that tedious but reaching it in real life is. It strains a muscle or two during the course but the landscape is worth every ounce of your blood, sweat, and tear.
Chandratal is a priceless asset to Samudra Tapu plateau. They way it looks over the Chandra River, flamboyantly resting among the clouds is beyond explanation. However, it seems like it is hand painted by the celestial powers themselves.
Chandratal Lake height in feet is about 14,100 m. It is beautifully surrounded by mountains on one side and cirques on the other giving it the tones of the rainbow it is famous for worldwide. Can any other spectacle in the world match that?
The Legend of Chandratal Lake
The tale of Chandra and Bhaga
Yes, you read that right! Chandratal does have a legend attached with its name and believe us, it’s hopelessly romantic. So, hold your emotional horses for this one, capeesh?
Chandratal Lake story talks about two lovers, Chandra and Bhaga. Chandra was the scintillating enchantress and beloved daughter of the Moon God. Moreover, Bhaga was the very bright and charming son of the Sun God. Both, deeply and madly in love still miles apart as their parent despised their love. With broken hearts and the drive to spend an eternity together, they planned to elope and get married at Baralacha La (where they first met).
Unluckily, Chandra reached the decided spot before Bhaga. She, then, in search of her lover traveled to Kunzum Pass and circled back to Baralacha La again. Just when she reached Tandi, she saw Bhaga approaching her. They then met in the middle and performed a celestial marriage, giving birth to the present day Chandrabhaga River. Furthermore, the individual lakes made by them got famous as Suraj Tal and Chandratal. Now that’s an intriguing story, isn’t it?
The legend from Mahabharata
Chandratal is also celebrated in Hinduism for its mention in the epic Mahabharata. According to which, Chandratal was the very spot from where God Indra (The king of Gods) picked up the eldest Pandava, Yudhishthira to ascend towards heaven. That adds another brownie point to its spiritual relevance and makes it a great deal among Hindu pilgrims.
Chandratal Lake Weather
Chandratal Lake rocks in the cradle of the Himalayas. As a result of which, it remains cold during most times in the year.
Summers are usually cold at this terrain with warm and sunny days. During this time the temperature ranges from 12 to 20 degree Celsius. However, the temperature falls during the night and ranges from -2 to 6 degrees Celsius.
In winters it is dead-cold in the area andthe temperature can fall to as low as minus 20 degree Celsius.
Best time to visit Chandratal Lake
Summers: In the months of June and July, snow still pertains at this region. There is a chance that the roads are blocked during that time.
Monsoon: The month of August during the onset of monsoons pretty hard for a Chandratal Lake tour because of landslides and bad road condition. Avoid traveling during this time at all cost.
Best time: Visit Chandratal Lake in the month of September. You will get the most breathtaking views of the lake during this time. Later in the month, the temperature starts falling all over again, making it difficult for travelers to enjoy this destination to the fullest.
Domestic Airport Nearby: Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.
International Airport Nearby: Chandigarh, Punjab.
Railway Station Nearby: Joginder Nagar Railway Station (166 m from Manali).
Closest places to visit: Manali, Kaza, Keylong, and Kinnaur.
Easiest on-road route:
The drive to Chandratal (Tracing the travel route from Manali to Chandratal)
Prerequisite: Rohtang Pass permit.
Approximate distance from Manali: 140 km
- Start your journey early in the morning from Manali to avoid congestion and also to reach Chandratal in the daylight.
- Take Leh Highway and move towards Rohtang Pass. The roads will be super comfortable up until here, but be ready to gear up for the adventurous route ahead.
- Accelerate through the bumpy road and curvy pathways until you reach Gramphoo.
- Reach out for the dirt road on the ride. Here you will find a welcome sign too. Continue on the same dirt road till Batal.
- On reaching Batal, take the route towards Kunzum Pass.
- Just before you reach Kunzum Pass take another dirt road on the left. How to recognize it? There will be signboard welcoming you to Chandratal Lake.
- Drive for another 14 km. Here it is! Your first glimpse of the very tranquil Chandratal Lake. Thank us later, maybe?
Note: Aren’t much of biker but still want to enjoy the serene ambiance that Chandratal accords? Then, it’s better to plan this tour via a travel agency that will help you plan this trip. How about giving The Grand Indian Route a chance? We are forever ready to help. So, why not request a quote, eh?
As mesmerizing as it sounds, reaching Chandratal is an adventure in itself. Besides, the super tricky terrain and loopy roads, it makes utmost sense that you consider all the options you have. One of which is the trip from Shimla via Kinnaur. Although it’s longer than the Manali trip, it has its own perks. Some of which includes:
- Gradual introduction to elevation resulting in lower possibilities of acute mountain sickness.
- Getting to experience Himalayan-Tibet highway.
- Avoiding the issuing process of Rohtang Pass permit.
- Avoiding the traffic during peak season.
Breathing in peace: Things to do at Chandra Taal
1. Up in the clouds- Chandratal Lake treks
Well, there is no rocket science in understanding that you will need to up your trek game before visiting Chandratal Lake. Why? Well, that’s because you will have to trek your way up to Chandratal Lake after your road trip to Spiti to take the full-fledged advantage of the terrain.
The treks to Chandratal Lake are nerve-wracking yet blissful at the same time. To your surprise, they can last up to a few days. Long enough to perfectly capture the bird-eye view of this heavenly topography on your cameras and mind. Plus, with the added benefits of getting to camp at different terrains, the experience just aces its tourism game.
This treasure trove of ardent as well as expert treks has a number of trekking routes. Choosing the right one for your adventure trip in Spiti is what it all boils down to. Either way, it’s certain that you will have the time of your life.
2. Sleeping under the stars- Camping at Chandratal Lake
Camping is always amazing and when it’s wrapped with the perks of staying beside a lake that changes colors, then, excitement hits its very zenith.
Furthermore, camping in Chandratal Lake is surreal and adventurous at the same time. It’s your first time here? Then, get ready for experiencing happiness gushing into every inch of your being. Plus, if you plan to camp here during spring, consider yourself the luckiest on this planet. Because you will get a chance to roll and stroll on the vibrant flower bed that adorns the topography.
Believe us; it is like encountering the most blissful terms of the dictionary live in action. Try not to miss it for the world.
Accommodations in Chandratal Lake: Living on the edge, literally!
Getting a decent accommodation at Chandratal Lake height is quite a task. It boils down to how much of a traveler you are. Confused, eh? Don’t be, because it’s really very simple. If you are a true traveler, then, accommodation will be the last thing on your checklist. So, for adventurous travelers like you, Chandratal Lake has a large expanse of lush green meadows to house your tents. For all the other tourists, decent guest house options are available at Batal.
Eat, pray and repeat! – Food options at Chandra Taal
Keeping in mind the altitude of this region, wanting a wide variety of food options is utter stupidity and absolute negligence. So, make your mind that there will be limited food options available here.
Add to your everyday menu wholesome portion decent dal, rice, mix veg and smoking hot beverages. We think that is enough to get you going, what say?
Don’t leave your house for Chandratal Lake trip before reading the following:
- Leave travel footprints but no carbon footprint! The simplest yet the most important thing to remember while taking a trip here is to leave the lake as you found it, clean and untouched. Do not litter. Clean if you found any, we need to preserve this beauty for our future too, right?
- Are you thinking of driving up until the last point to Chandra Taal? Then, it’s better to put your safety gears on as soon as you touch the wheels. The roads are notoriously dangerous here and require great sets of skills. So, be aware of your surroundings and travel safely.
- Beauty comes with a price and this one does too. Here it is the exhausting journey and trek. So, prep yourself a month before the trip. Do some warm and keep your heart in a healthy state. We know you’ve got this.
- Keep yourself hydrated at all times during the trip. This is important in order to protect oneself from acute mountain sickness. It’s best that you carry a water bottle with an attached filter so that you can fill it up at any water source and stay hydrated
- Pack light! The last thing you will want from Chandratal Lake travel is frustration. So, make your travel checklist short and well-equipped. Any problems with that? Well, here is a general checklist you can follow.
Travel Checklist to Chandratal Lake:
- Camera- To capture nature’s bounty at its very best.
- Deep treaded and comfortable pair of shoes.
- Printed Trail Map and a compass in case you are traveling without a guide.
- Winter wears to cut the chills of this high altitude region. Make sure they aren’t that bulky and reduce the number of clothing items.
- Medicines for ailments (if any).
- First aid kit
- Snacks, Sanitizers and Mosquito repellent.
The do-not-do list:
- Never plan a sudden trip to Chandratal Lake. As exciting as it sounds, it can turn into a disaster without adequate planning and ground support. Planning is the key here!
- Don’t wait until the last moment to obtain the Rohtang Pass permit.
- Completely relying on Google Maps is stupidity. At this terrain and height, it’s hard for the GPS to match up with your adventure. So, never completely rely on it and ask locals instead.
- Don’t leave Manali after 7 AM if you are traveling all the way to Spiti. The terrain is tricky, so, driving won’t be easy. It’s better to have some extra hours on your watch to reach Chandratal Lake during the daylight.
- Starving yourself thinking you will find something to eat later in the journey is a bad idea. It’s ideal to have something packed from Manali. Why? That’s because the possibility of getting a lot of food shacks en route Chandratal Lake is very less.