Here comes a trek to one of the most beautiful and remote lakes of India. It is known as The Chandratal Lake (or The Moon lake). It is called so because of its crescent moon like shape.
The lake is situated in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of approx 4300 metres. The deep blue water has a circumference of about 2-3 kms and is one of the sources of Chandra river.
Chandratal lake is the best place for those who seek to travel to an offbeat place away from the crowd in the lap of the Himalayas. The lake is surrounded with snow capped mountains ranging a maximum altitude of approx 6000 metres. It is accessible from Batal as well as Kunzum pass. A semi motorable road from Batal leads to the lake which is approx 17-18 Kms and from Kunzum Pass the distance to the lake is approx 9 kms but can only be covered on foot because of no motorable road from that way.
Now I am going to take you to a short journey of Chandratal. It will be helpful for those who seek to visit the lake and don’t have much disposable time in hand.
We started our journey from Delhi to Kullu. Evening Volvo bus from Delhi takes you to Kullu district the next day. It is important to give yourself a day to acclimatize your body. So we spent a day in Kullu exploring small market places and enjoying pleasant weather. I personally suggest you don’t go for luxury when you are planning a trip like this. Luxury is not required when you are planning a trek or an adventure trip. Go for government circuit house to stay in Kullu and prepare your mind to spend a bone freezing night in a camp near the lake.
We had already bought HRTC bus tickets from Kullu bus stand (approx INR 300 – 350 per person from Kullu to Batal) and also had our camp booked near the Chandratal (approx INR 2000 per person on MAP (breakfast and dinner plan) with sleeping bags included).
The itinerary was to board bus from Kullu (around 0400 Hrs), reach Batal which takes approximate travel time of 9-10 Hrs. Leave the bus at Batal and start a 15 Kms trek to reach the camp. Spend the coming night in the camp and proceed to the Lake the next morning.
Spend few hours near the lake and proceed back to Batal. The bus returning from Kaza reaches Batal at around 1 – 2 pm. Our plan was to catch the bus, if missed then only option was hitchhiking. Reach Manali by the night, spend the night and at the mall road and proceed to return Delhi the next day.
THE TRIP BEGINS
I prefer you to take Hrtc bus to reach Batal. There is only one bus running everyday from Kullu to Kaza and one bus from Kaza to Kullu. The bus condition is as typical as a normal public transport in India, so don’t expect comfort and luxury. The bus starts from Kullu at 0400 hrs in the early morning, so be prepared to wake up early and walk to the bus stand. The tickets can be purchased anytime between the operational hours before the journey. I prefer to get the tickets a day before the journey to avoid sold out.
We packed our rucksacks in the night and made everything ready to travel since we had to catch the bus at 4 am. We left our accommodation at around 3 am and started walking to the bus stand. We boarded the bus and our journey began.
The bus halted at Manali at around 5 am for morning refreshments. Then proceeded to reach the Rohtang Pass which is about 52 Kms.