A Trip To The Chandratal

Tripoto

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).

ITINERARY

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.

ROHTANG PASS

The Rohtang pass is a high mountain pass and is elevated to approx 4000 metres above the sea level, situated in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas which connects two valleys i.e Kullu & Lahaul and Spiti. The pass watersheds the basins of Chenab (Chandra river is a tributary of Chenab) and Beas river. It offers beautiful sights of Lahaul valley and different glaciers and peaks.

Photo of Rohtang La, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Rohtang La, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan

Rohtang means Pile of Corpses in Bhoti (Ladakhi language). It is called so due to the number of people dying because of bad weather & massive and deadly landslides while crossing through it. The road opens barely for approx 3-4 months (June Mid to September end).

Photo of A Trip To The Chandratal by Syed Hassan

Despite of all the life threatening dangers, the view is worth watching. Wind at the top is bone freezing, don’t dare to go out without proper covering up the whole body.

Rohtang pass would be the last point where you can find tar road. After crossing the pass, condition of the road gets really bad. There is no proper road as such. Dust, mud and stone will only be there to accompany you for the entire upcoming journey. You will be crossing through few Pagal Nalas (waterfalls flowing on the road) en route. Be ready to click uncounted photos because of the captivating view of the mountains and valleys.

After crossing Rohtang pass and leading to few hairpin turns (Leh – Manali highway) leads to Gramphu. Moving forwards the only halt where you can get something to eat will be at Chhatru. After half an hour halt, the bus moves forward to reach Batal through Gramphu - Batal - Kaza road.

Photo of Chhatru, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chhatru, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chhatru, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chhatru, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan

The bus reached Batal in the early afternoon (around 1 – 2 pm) . There a resting place known as Chandra Dhaba, where you can get something to eat and space to relax your body. This is the point to leave the bus and continue the tour on the Batal – Chandratal route. For people who don’t want to trek for the coming 15-17 Kms to reach the lake, they can hire a car from Batal which leads to Chandratal. But travel from car won’t match the experience of walking all along the narrow route to the lake.

Photo of Batal, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Batal, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan

We started our trek from Batal at around 2 pm. It takes around 5 hours to reach the camp area which is located approx 3-4 Kms before the lake. The trek can be really tiring because of High altitude and low oxygen level. The average altitude of the trek path will be approx 4000 metres. It is necessary to keep Sun glass and Sun screen with you. The sunrays are very bright and can damage your eyes & skin if continue walking without a sun glass and sunscreen, so it’s always preferable to keep these important things with you.

Photo of A Trip To The Chandratal by Syed Hassan
Photo of A Trip To The Chandratal by Syed Hassan
Photo of A Trip To The Chandratal by Syed Hassan
Photo of A Trip To The Chandratal by Syed Hassan
Photo of A Trip To The Chandratal by Syed Hassan
Photo of A Trip To The Chandratal by Syed Hassan

We were able to reach our camp by the evening and were hell tired so could not do anything apart from just relaxing. The freezing wind blows with high speed, the condition becomes tougher in the nights as the temperature touches Zero degrees and even goes lower than that but I prefer you to go out of the camp in the night and enjoy view of the beautiful clear sky with stars twinkling all over. It will be just mesmerizing.

The coming morning is as beautiful as the night with clear sky and frost all over the ground. As the sunrays go brighter the frost gests melted. We started our trek to the lake in the morning and it took around an hour and a half to reach the lake.

CHANDRATAL

Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan

Finally we were at the Chandratal lake and I must say the lake looks much more sublime than in the photos. It is worth travelling on a dangerous road and experiencing the chilling waves, harsh sunlight and all the discomforts. We stayed at the lake for an hour and then started our backward journey to reach the camp since we had to reach Manali by the evening.

We reached our camp, took our rucksacks and started walking to the Batal to catch the bus coming from Kaza. Since I already told there is only one bus from Kaza to Kullu and it reaches Batal between 1-2 pm, so we didn’t have much time to spend in other activities. We reached Batal at around 2 pm but the bad news was that the bus had left Batal half an hour ago. We had no option than to wait for hitchhiking. Luckily we found someone returning from Kaza and going to Manali with an empty Traveller coach. He allowed us to join him and our journey to Manali began.

Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan
Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Syed Hassan

We reached Manali in the late evening, found our accommodation, relaxed for sometime then hung out around the Mall road of Manali. Next day our bus was scheduled in the evening so we had enough time to explore the market place. We boarded the bus in the evening and our journey to Delhi started.

That’s how our trip to the Majestic Chandratal Lake ended, leaving all the beautiful views and experiences in our minds.

Trip Expense: Between INR 9000 – 10000 per person

Trek from Batal to Chandratal: Moderate / Tiring at some places

Camps near Chandratal: Parasol Camps / Himalayan Quest Camps. Parasol is more preferable.

3 Comment(s)
Sort by:
I would suggest you to take Parasol Camps, located close to the lake and very friendly people. Use this link
Sat 05 06 17, 15:05 · Reply · Report
Hello there !! Thanks or the appreciation.
Sat 05 06 17, 15:02 · Reply · Report
Hi. Can you tell me where to book a nightstay camp for Chandrataal? Any link would suffice. And yes very informative update.
Wed 05 03 17, 21:32 · Reply · Report