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Mountains crowning over the blue lake glistening under the moonlight, incessant views of the Himalayas and a surreal picture, perfecting #wokeuptothis – at Chandratal Lake.
What Is It?
4,300 meters above sea level, lies a place that would match every hue of blue on a shade card. To top it all, literally, are snow clad mountains looking over this paradisiac spot, almost like protecting it. And why shouldn’t it? Chandratal Lake, hidden in the deep gorges of the Spiti Valley is truly a hidden gem that needs to be saved from prying eyes. The crescent shaped lake with its crystal water is symbolic of the moon and is divine!
What To Do When There?
All you need is a backpack and a tent. Pitch it around the lake (as stated by law, you can’t camp within a periphery of 2 km of the lake) and camp leisurely! Camping is the best way to experience this beauty. It can also serve as the base camp for many other adventures to the treacherous roads of the Himalayas. The glacial lake is something you’d need to unwind from your climb upwards. Soaking up the sun, the mountains and the lake should be enough motivation to wake up to this exceptional spot! And the sun-setting won’t be a disappointment either. You won’t need you telescopes, the clear skies does enough for you to get a good look at our Milky Way galaxy. You’d be counting stars and if lucky, wishing upon them too!
How To Get There?
No one ever said the climb was easy. If you want to get to something beautiful, you have to work for it and such is the road to this symbolic moon lake. The legendary lake is situated in the barren yet the beautiful valley of Spiti in Himachal. The easiest (easy being an understatement) way to Chandra Taal is from Manali. Chandratal is off the road to Spiti and can be reached from Batal which is on the way to Kaza. Buses run frequently from Manali to Kaza. Get off at Batal, which is nearly a 3 hour drive from Manali and hitchhike your way or trek to the lake!
The road to Batal is not an easy one, with waterfalls and insane water streams which they lovingly call ‘pagal nalas’, the road is bumpy. From there on, you can trek upwards to the lake and be back by evening to Batal or camp overnight by the lake! If you’re taking a vehicle, the road is a 15 km stretch and can take about an hour to reach. Overnight stay comes with an advantage of the night-view of the lake and a chance to rest.
What Else Can You Do?
Once you’re in Batal, you can get on the route to Kaza and head to Kunzum Pass and discover the rest of beauty of this barren Spiti Valley! The whole tour should take you around 7 days.
Best Time To Go: End of May to October
Nearest Railway Station: Jogindar Nagar (less frequent trains), hence the best option is Shimla or Chandigarh.
Nearest Airport: Bhuntar (high prices, less frequent), Chandigarh is more convenient.
Level of Trek: Moderate to High