Lake the Majestica – Chandra Taal

Situated right at the heart of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti, India and at an altitude of 4300 meters is this beautiful and magical Chandra Taal Lake. You get the surprise of your life when you see a beautiful colourful lake right in the middle of nowhere.

 

Best Time to Visit:

It’s connected to Batal – Kaza road through a gravel road of around 25 kilometer, and accessible from June till October, and remains snowed out during winter. Driving is the only option to the lake, other than trekking from Kunzum.

Stay:

Generally private camps are up by early June and stays there till late September. Camping area is situated 4 kms before the lake, and you can also pitch your own tent.

No camping is allowed around the lake to preserve the lake and ecosystem.

You also have option to stay at Losar village which is 60 km from the lake, with little better resources and phone connectivity. Some other options are PWD guest Houses at Batal and Losar.

How to reach

Driving by road is your only option as of now, and either you drive your own car or hire taxi from Manali, Shimla or Kaza. You have two options to reach the lake, either from Manali side or Shimla side, and routes looks as follows:

Route 1: Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphoo – Batal – Chandra Taal

From Delhi and self-drive, your plan should look like this:

Day 1: Delhi – Manali or Naggar

Day 2: Manali – Chandra Taal

Day 3: Explore around Chandra Taal

Day 4: Lake – Manali

Day 5: Manali – Delhi

If you are travelling by bus from Delhi, this is how it can look:

Day 0: Overnight bus journey from Delhi to Manali,

Day 1: Taxi pick you up from bus stand, and drive to Chandra Taal

Day 2: Explore around Chandra Taal

Day 3: Lake to Manali and then overnight bus to Delhi, reaching Delhi early morning of Day 4.

Route 2: Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Wangtoo – Powari – Nako – Tabo – Kaza – Rangrik – Losar – Lake

For Route 2, you can refer to my Spiti page for the plan and other relevant details

While Route-1  take a day less to reach the lake, but it takes you up to 4300 meter much faster and can trigger Acute Mountain Sickeness, while Route-2 take a day longer, much longer drive but acclimatizes you much better.

Also the roads from the Manali side is much worse than Shimla side, though there are bad sections on both side.

If you are just planning to visit the lake and short of time, choose Route-1. If you are on a longer holiday and planning to visit other areas of Spiti, go for Route-2.

Refer to the map for all route details.

Map

Print

 

Driving your own vehicle

If you are driving your own vehicles, it’s recommended to have a vehicle with higher ground clearance. Though hatchback and sedans can do it, but will have tough time on some of patches on both the routes above. Section between Batal and Chandrataal base camp is all gravel broken jeep track, prone to landslides.

Your only fuel options are at Manali, Kaza and Reckong Peo (refer to map).

Make sure your vehicle is serviced and in best of its form as the roads can break the vehicle to any extent.

 

Photography

There are plenty of opportunities of photography around the lake, sunset and sunrise are the best time of lake. Sunrise is much more quitter without any wind, hence you get the best reflection in the still lake. Winds start picking up around 10 Am.

Nights are for some astro photography as you get the clear sky with billions of star over your heads. September is the best time for milky-way and shooting star captures.

There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife photography around the lake.

 

Other Significant things

  • While days are warm, night can really get cold at the camping area, hence prepare well and carry enough woollens for night photography.
  • If you start showing the signs of AMS, immediately get down to either Batal or Losar, you will lose around 400 meters which can significantly help in improving your health.
  • Drive early in the morning when there is less water flowing through the nullahs and you will have less trouble crossing them.
  • There is no mobile connectivity at the lake area. You get some weak phone signals at Gramphoo, satellite phone at famous dhaba at Batal, and then mobile signals at Losar.
  • Keep the camp area and lake clean and bring your waste back to places where you can dispose it properly.

 

 

Spiti

 

Chandrataal (18)

 

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Chandrataal (17)

Crystal clear water of the lake

 

Chandrataal (16)

 

Chandrataal (15)

Sunset is equally beautiful

 

Chandrataal (14)

 

Chandrataal (13)

Camping Area

 

Chandrataal (12)

 

Chandrataal (11)

 

Chandrataal (10)

 

Chandrataal (9)

Keep your gears ready

 

Chandrataal (8)

 

Chandrataal (7)

Magical show of Light and Shadows

 

Chandrataal (6)

amazing ripples of lake

 

Chandrataal (5)

 

 

 

Chandrataal (4)

 

 

Chandrataal (3)

Peaks around the lake

 

Chandrataal (2)

 

 

Chandrataal (1)

 

 

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Chandrataal (26)

 

 

Chandrataal (25)

 

 

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Chandrataal (23)

 

 

Chandrataal (22)

 

 

Chandrataal (21)

 

 

Chandrataal (20)

 

 

Chandrataal (19)

 


 

Copyright © 2015 Yellow Peaks. All Rights Reserved. All images are copyright of Yellow Peaks, and can not be reproduced in any form

Kunzum Pass

At an altitude of 4530 Meter, Kunzum pass connects Lahaul Valley to Spiti Valley, and is the highest point between the two. Famous for its huge chortens and temple of goddess Durga, its a custom to take a round of the chortens and temple before crossing the pass.

 

There is a trek from Kunzum pass to Chandrataal lake, which takes around 7-8 hours to reach the base camp area of the lake.  Nearest settlement is at Batal towards Lahaul side, which is 15 km. And Losar is the nearest bigger village towards Spiti Valley side, which is 34 Km.

 

Kunzum pass remains snowed for the winter, it start receiving snowfall by first week of November and opened by end of June of early July.

 

Kunzum Pass-2

 

Kunzum Pass-1

 

Kunzum Pass-4

 

Kunzum Pass-5

Demul Village

Demul Village is located at an altitude 4320 meter, approachable through road via Komic and Lidang. Its a 25 km drive between Komic and Demul, out of which around 5 km is complete bad, around 15 km is dirt track but drive-able by any car and 5km of the stretch is tarred. As on September 2015, road construction was on but very slow. I had been to this stretch in Sep 2013 and nothing much changed in those two years.

Lidang to Demul is 20 km of good drive, with perfect road by mountain standards. This is a more common route taken by most of the locals, Trekkers and Tourists.

Demul is a small village with around 35-40 houses, a small school. This a famous night halt village for trekkers  and hence most of the houses have the home-stay facility and its very well managed.

 

Demul-2

 

 

 

Demul-3

 

Dhankar Monastery

Situated at an altitude of 3850 Meter, and 32 kilometer away from Tabo is one of the oldest monastery in the world, Dhankar Monastery.

 

Complex of the old Dankar Monastery was built on top of a 300 meter high cliff which provides a wonderful  view of confluence of Spiti and Pin river. That’s why its called a “Fort on the cliff”, bruised by wars and earthquake but still standing tall.

 

There is a new Gompa which was built recently, little away from the old monastery but not as beautifully located as the old monastery. The only saving grace that you get a nice wide view of the old structure from the new gompa.

 

At a climb of 2km from the Dhankar is a small but beautiful Dhankar lake.

 

Dhankar Monastery-1

 

Dhankar Monastery-2

 

Dhankar Monastery-3

 

Kibber – Chicham Ropeway

Kibber – Chicham Ropeway is one amazing example of the will power of people of Spiti. Long time back, this ropeway was the only connection between Spiti and Chicham village. After the construction of road to Chicham from Kyoto, life has become little simpler.

 

But not for people travelling between Kaza and Chicham on daily basis. If you take the Kyoto road from Chicham, it will take you 3 hours to reach Kaza. But you can just fly over to Kibber by this ropeway, and then 30 minutes by road to Kaza.

There is a bridge under construction connecting Kibber and Chicham and that is under construction since ages. I am see it in progress last three years.

 

If you have fear of height this is definitely not your cup of tea. Gorge is quite deep and the distance between the two end doesn’t help either

Chicham Ropeway

 

Tashigang Monastery

In another remote corner of Spiti, where road ends, is this lovely  Tashigang Monastery. Just a km before Kibber, you take a diversion that goes to Gete and then Tashigang, and then road ends there.

 

Tashigang is separated from Langza by a deep gorge, and people travel between these two villages by going down all the way to river and then climb back up to Langza.

 

Tashigang have two monastery, a new one and much more beautiful old monastery. Village itself must be very small.

 

Tashigang Monastery

Tashigang Monastery

 

Tashigang Monastery

Tashigang Monastery

 

Tashigang Monastery

Cure kid

 

Tashigang Monastery

Tashigang Monastery as seen from Langza

 

Tashigang Monastery

Kitchen of Tashigang Monastery

 

Beautiful Spiti

Heaven for Riders, Photographers, Trekkers, Poets, Writers and many more, Spiti is one places which can not be described in words. You have to visit this region to believe the beauty it can offer. A variety of Lakes, Monasteries, Glaciers and wildlife, it offers a perfect off city destination to search your soul.

 

Accessible only through road, the whole journey to Spiti itself is a reason to just go out an explore it. Though open all across the year through Shimla side, summers are recommended to vist the Spiti region. Between June to October are the best months to visit Spiti, but winter can offer all together different view, not much seen.

Some of the Key places to visit are, Nako, Dhankar, Tabo, Pin Valley, Kaza, Kibber, Gete, Langza, Hikkim Komic, Ranrgik Losar, Kunzum Pass, Chandrataal, Gramphoo etc.

Some of the major monastery are Kye Monastery, Kaza Monastery, Dhankar Monastery, Tabo Monastery, and few others.

 

You can plan your trip either through Manali side or through Shimla side, but we recommended you doing it through Shimla side as this route acclimatizes much better by the time you reach Chandataal, which is at 4300 meter height.

 

Major town is Kaza, right in the middle of Spiti, which has all kind of stay facility and other little luxuries. But you can find Guest Houses and Home-stays in all other small villages, which gives your a completely different perspective of local life.

 

Typical Drive Plan from Delhi, With good time in Hand :

Day 1 : Delhi – Narkanda

Day 2 : Narkanda – Chitkul (or Sangla in case of Winter)

Day 3 : Explore around Chitkul

Day 4 : Chitkul to Kalpa, via Reckong Peo, Refill fuel, Enjoy Kinnar Kailash view from Kalpa

Day 5 : Kalpa – Nako, road condition at Akpa and Ribba might affect your plan, keep Pooh as another option in mind for night stay

Day 6 : Nako – Tabo

Day 7 : Tabo – Dhankar – Sagnam – Mud

Day 7 : Mud – Kaza (if your are of adventurous kind with 4WD vehicle, you can explore Demul to Komic route as well.

Day 8 : Kaza – Kye – Kibber – Gete – Tashigang – Kibber (night Stay)

Day 9 : Kaza – Chandrataal Base Camp, and visit Chandartaal

Day 10 : Chandrataal – Manali

Day 11 : Manali – Delhi

 

Drop a comment or email if you want more suggestions for your plans.

 High Resolution Spiti Map 1

 High Resolution Spiti Map 2

 

Print

Spiti Map

 

 

Details

 

Altitude

 

 

 


 Enjoy Pics of Spiti

Chandra Taal and majestic Milkyway

Chandra Taal and majestic Milkyway

 

Lovely view of Kye Monastery from Rangrik

Lovely view of Kye Monastery from Rangrik

 

Beautiful mountains, art of Nature

Beautiful mountains, art of Nature

 

Beautiful mountains, art of Nature

Beautiful mountains, art of Nature

 

View from Malling Nullah

View from Malling Nullah

 

Apricot blossom

Apricot blossom

 

Magical and Mysterious - Chandra Taal

Magical and Mysterious – Chandra Taal

 

Mystic Kye Monastery in winter

Mystic Kye Monastery in winter

 

Mystic Kye Monastery in winter

Mystic Kye Monastery in winter

 

Mystic Kye Monastery in winter

Mystic Kye Monastery in winter

 

Entering to Heaven, Near Kaza

Entering to Heaven, Near Kaza

 

Early morning and divine sunrise at Rangrik

Early morning and divine sunrise at Rangrik

 

Surprises of mother nature, at Hikkim

Surprises of mother nature, at Hikkim

 

Yellow Peaks

Yellow Peaks

 

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Colors and more Colors

 

Nirvana, at Chandra Taal

Nirvana, at Chandra Taal

 

Retrospection , at Chandra Taal

Retrospection , at Chandra Taal

 

Lake the Majestica, Chandra Taal

Lake the Majestica, Chandra Taal

 

Lake the Majestica, Chandra Taal

Lake the Majestica, Chandra Taal

 

Kibber village in winter

Kibber village in winter

 

Kibber village in winter

Kibber village in winter

 

Divine Kye Monastery

Divine Kye Monastery

 

Winter in Spiti

Winter in Spiti

 

Hydro Power Plant

Hydro Power Plant

 

Art scapes of Spiti

Art scapes of Spiti

 

Million dolor view

Million dolor view

 

Ariel view of Kye monastery

Ariel view of Kye monastery

 

First light on Kye monastery

First light on Kye monastery, I stationed myself at 5 AM, on the other side, at Rangrik to capture this.

 

Light and Shadows, playing hide and seek

Light and Shadows, playing hide and seek

 

Kaza Monastery

Kaza Monastery

 

More magical colors of Chandra Taal

More magical colors of Chandra Taal

 

Golden sunset at Chandra taal lake

Golden sunset at Chandra taal lake

 

Camping near Chandratal

Camping near Chandratal

 

Kibber village under billion stars

Kibber village under billion stars

 

From Losar to Rangrik

From Losar to Rangrik

 

Beautiful Losar Village

Beautiful Losar Village

 

Beautiful Losar Village

Beautiful Losar Village

 

We conduct Photography Workshops and Tours in Spiti region, leave a comment below and we will keep you updated for all our workshops and tours in this region.


 

Copyright © 2015 Yellow Peaks. All Rights Reserved. All images are copyright of Yellow Peaks, and can not be reproduced in any form