Chandrataal - Batal - 15 km (1.5 hours)*After that we left for Batal at around 1 PM. We had our lunch at Kangri Dhaba. They have 4 types of dal & Chaval, and Tea - coffee.
*We took a halt at Batal (13940 ft) for lunch near 2:30 pm. We had a great lunch at a very remote place Chacha - Chachi Dhaba with warm welcome and Rajma-Chaval-Dal. This place also provides rooms for night stay.
Pro tip 2: Get a pair of gum boots in Manali itself if you plan to ride through this route. There are numerous water crossings once you cross Koksar and the glacier water is cold.Day 3: Lake placid - Chandrataal
Batal is quite famous for its inhabitants, the famous Chacha-Chachi. The internet is full of stories about them, so I will not repeat. Instead I will talk about their son, Tenzin and his cousin, whose name, even though he repeated it twice I did not get, so I will call him Cousin. But before we met Tenzin and Cousin, we went to Chacha-Chachi looking for the mechanic. Chacha informed us that that he had gone off to Manali for a wedding, “his own wedding” Chachi corrected, and won’t be back before the fortnight at least. And no, they knew of no other mechanics nor had they any toolkit with them.While we were talking thus, an HPSTC bus came in from Manali on the way to Kaza. We asked the driver and his helper if they could be of any assistance. They said, they could help ferry us tomorrow if they found us still stranded in Batal or anywhere between Batal and Manali, but that’s all they could do. No help there either.Just as I was getting despondent and desperate, a white Tata Sumo roared in, raising a cloud of dust and in what can truly be called filmy style, two men stepped out from the cloud of dust - one wearing a leather jacket, a mohawk hat and a fancy pair of sunglasses and the other wearing shorts, a flimsy cotton tee-shirt and a Tere Naam hairstyle. The mohawk hat was Tenzin and the other was Cousin. They heard us out, checked our car and pronounced, with infectious confidence, “Forget Manali, your car is good to drive all the way to Delhi!”Surely, they knew what they were talking about, we thought to ourselves. It was only much later that we discovered we were terribly bad judges of car-experts. But that is later. For now, we were immensely comforted by their words.When we had discovered that the mechanic was not available, we had given up all hopes of going to Chandra Taal. Now that we knew that the next day we could be out of here, as planned, we thought quickly, and decided that we would go to Chandra Taal after all. However, we would not stay there overnight as planned, for he would leave our car here in Batal. We would make a day trip to Chandra Taal in Tenzin’s car and stay the night at Batal in one of the camps that Tenzin had set up for tourists in Batal.We set off in the white Sumo. As Cousin drove at almost 60 kmph on the non-existent roads, Tenzin “regaled” us with stories of all the crashes that had happened in the last month or so. R was delighted at the roads and at the speed but mostly at the sheer terror on my face because nothing pleases him more than a scared mother. We reached uneventfully though and then we trekked all the way to Chandra Taal.
From Kunzum Pass we started at about 9 am, and hoestly we were a bit worried as we had only heard stories about Chhota Dhara and Bada Dhara! Another 13 kms from Kunzum through snowy roads and insanely cold temperatures, we reached Batal at about 11 am and had amazing paranthas in the famous Chacha-Chachi Dhaba. The next 30 kms of the journey from Batal to Chhatru were extremely tiring. There is no 'road' as such and we just drove through a river bed for miles! Look out on both sides, the sceneries are insanely beautiful but the road is definitely going to tire you out.