Chandertal Lake, Spiti Valley

Chandertaal Lake:

At an altitude of 4300 Meters approx. Chandertaal lake in Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh lies between a low ridge and the main Kunzum range. Mostly surrounded with snow, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 Kilometers. Some people alos call it Moon Lake and is the source of the violent Chandra River. Moulkila and Chandrabhaga mountain ranges having peaks snow caps and snow slopes around the valley measures from 3000 Meters to 6500 Meters approximately. Locales there believe that it is this point from where Yudhishtra (Eldest among Pandava of Mahabbharata epic) was taken to heaven in his mortal form. It's a very luring place.

Enroute Chandertal...it's not Chandertal...



Location:

Himalayas -- Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh


Altitude:

4270 Meters or 14220 Feet (approximately)


Climate:

Very cold during winter and temperature may drop well below even – 20 degrees. Although cold during summer, snowfall can happen anytime of the year here. Do not forget to take heavy woolens any time of the year you are going.


How to reach:

1) Possible road route(s) from Delhi to Chandertal by road are
Delhi – Kullu – Manali – Rohtang La (3978 Meters) – Gramphoo – Chattru – Battal - Chandertal
Delhi – Shimla - Narkanda - Karcham - Nako - Tabo - Kaza – Kunzum La (4551 Meters) – Chandertal

2) Nearest Airport is Bhunter near Kullu and Jabbar Airport near Shimla.
3) Nearest Railway station is Joginder Nagar Railway Station from the Udaipur

Preferred Vehicles:

If you are driving choice shall be SUVs style for sure (Safari/Sumo/Xylo/Scorpio/Jeep etc). 4X4 is not really required but it's an added advantage anyways for such terrains.


If you are riding Motorcycles, Mountain Bicycles just be sure to be careful at some of the stretches as bike may skid due to heavy filthy roads and water crossings.


Apart from those Heavy-duty trucks, ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) may do the job anyhow for you :)


Well human feet are almost always required to trek some part in this journey so be ready to use them anyways ;)


Road Conditions:

Road conditions are not so good once you are off the Manali – Leh highway i.e. when you take a right turn from Gramphoo towards Battal. It is basically a Dirt track all the way till Chandertal. Same applies when you cross the Kunzum La and move towards Chandertal till Kunuzm La crossing board. At this crossing taking a right will take you to Chandertal and left will lead you to Battal – Gamphoo – Manali (Left) / Leh (Right)



From Battal to Chandertal from Manali side or Kunzum La crossing board to Chandertal from Kunzum side it gets even worse due to the presence of boulders / rocks throughout the stretch and you need higher ground clearance vehicles at many places most of the time of the year. You shall have to be extremely lucky negotiating with this stretch with lower ground clearance vehicles. It's almost a kind of off-road driving experience :) Presence of snow may make it more difficult.



You will also have to clear two water crossings during this stretch of Battal / Kunzum La Crossing to Chandertal and the current depends upon the time of the year. When I was there the latter one (near the lake) was very violent.






Season to visit:

Pre-requisite:
Any one of the passes viz. Rohtang La (Rohtang Pass) or Kunzum La (Kunzum Pass) are open for traffic.

June Last Week to September Second Week:
It will be the best option to visit Chandertal in July-August month window when the roads are cleaned up by PWD till very end and Chandertal becomes accessible by road.
So you can take your vehicle almost at the bank of Chandertal.

June first three weeks / September last two weeks:
Well you may try your luck first week June onwards but it's highly likely that trek from Battal onwards will be tough due to the presence of snow and for sure not motor able till the very end. You may just reach Battal and then need to trek in the presence of snow which makes it all very tough. We went Delhi to Chandertal via Manali in June first week 2009. Here is my experience for the same Visit to Chandertal

Rest of the year:
As soon as the passes (Rohtang La and Kunzum La) close, Chandertal gets disconnected via road from Delhi-Manali or Delhi-Tabo/Kaza route. Now if the passes are closed then being at much greater height than passes it would be inaccessible via road by any route. The whole valley from Chattru onwards get's loads of snow. So only means left is TREK in too much snow :)

Things to Carry:


If you are traveling in a pleasant time window i.e. July-August you don't really need any special thing apart from you basic travel kit and few medicines of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). It's a must if you are a first timer to such an altitude just to mitigate the risk of getting hit.


But yes if you are traveling in a dicey time window to a terrain like Chandertal Lake in snow times better prepared with the following must haves
  1. Snow \ Water proof shoes, preferably comfortable, light weight (as you need to trek a lot) with powerful grip in Snow or slippery surface.
  2. Strong easy to grip wooden stick for holding \ gripping snow while trekking
  3. Snow \ Water proof clothing i.e. Jackets and Lower
  4. Heavy Woolens
  5. Medicines
  6. Torchlight
  7. Woolen socks [carry 2 extra pair incase one any gets wet] for your backpack. Wet socks won't let you walk with all strength
  8. A small towel in your back pack to keep yourself dry as much as you can
  9. A small water bottle say 500 ml for your backpack
  10. Camping equipments if you need to setup your own camps
  11. A bottle of Rum which may be used after you complete thread either to celebrate it or fight the cold :D (Never consume alcohol while trekking)
Accommodations:

Well there is all famous Battal Dhaba which has room for 7-8 people on one side and one the other side they may allow you to stay if there is space available. Most of the space where food is served is occupied by PWD workers and the Dhaba family itself, so if you are lucky you may get space to sleep there as well. They charge 100 Rs for night stay and provide quilts as well. You can take as many quilts as available with them and not in use by anyone.


As far as accommodation at bank of Chandertal Lake is concerned, there are tents which are setup in July-August and some part of September.


One more possibility is you can come back on Manali-Leh highway and rest at Khoskar (right from Gramphoo towards Leh side) in any guest house or cross Kunzum La - Losar and reach Kaza for the stay at night


Now there is always an option of taking your own camping stuff or getting them in a package with a guide or a porter. You can either hire camps from Manali or Delhi or buy your own if you are planning to camp many a time in future and serious about it. In case you are interested in camping then you will need tents, sleeping bags (-5 to -10 rated) and mattresses. Check out Adventure Gear: Hire Charges for a rough idea about rental charges (they have increased slightly), you can rent out gear from them or from any of the other camping equipment shop in Delhi (here is a list of them,
Camping and Trekking Equipment in India)


Some more tips:

Never cross the water nallas in way that may wet your clothes or socks. It will lead you to a big trouble if you have wet clothes in such freezing conditions as chilly winds bites your bones. So try to protect your clothes as much as you can. So while crossing Nallas just fold your lowers up to knee and remove shoes and socks before jumping in to cross it.
Use your towel from backpack if you get wet, to dry yourself as soon as possible
No Alcohol shall be consumed while trekking.

Around Chandertal
  1. Kunzum Pass At an altitude of 4551 m, is the main access to Spiti Valley from Lahaul Valley.
  2. Bara Shigri Glacier The largest glacier in Himachal Pradesh is located in the Chandra valley of Lahaul and it feeds the river Chenab. This glacier, 25 km long and about 3 km wide, lies on the middle slopes of the main Himalayan range.
  3. Sissu At an altitude of 3170 m, this place is famous because of a magnificent waterfall.
  4. Darcha At an altitude of 3360 m, Darcha is ideal place for trekkers. You can start off trekking from here to Padem passing through Shingola as well as Baralacha/Phirtsela. It is around 24 km from Keylong and offers facilities for camping.
  5. Bara Lacha La This pass which is cross roads on the summit is 75 km from Keylong. It is on Manali –Leh road. It is also the watershed for the Chandra Bhaga and Yunam Rivers.
  6. Suraj Tal You can trek from Chandratal to Deepaktal and Baralacha La, however that is a 2-3days trek

Map:
 
Last edited:
Hey Guyzz..I know alot is pending on my side for Goa travelogues as only teaser is up and you all must be waiting for much more... :grin:...
But I wanted to complete this article first as the season of planning is about to start and I felt it would be helpful for many visiting Chandertal whose demand is greatter in number now a days....Well I have tried my best to put everything I can but but but there is always we all can add and make it comprehensive enough...kindly pour in your inputs as well..

apolozies for delaying further updates on Goa travelogue...I think I have an excuse as of now..but soon it will be up....:p
 

Pavan Singh

Chak De Fatte!!
Nice effort Dheeraj.

Is it possible to leave from Manali, visit Chandertal lake and return back to Manali in one day?
 
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