Located at an altitude of 4300 m, Chandratal or the “Moon Lake” is the source of the Chandra River and located a mere 6 km away from the Kunzum Pass. When you are an explorative Himalayan voyager in India, these are the hotspots you must cover in the Spiti and Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh. A standard trek to Chandratal kicks off from Manali, forwarding towards Keylong spanning over 8 days. The topography is typically moonland-ish, the type you must acquainted to if you have covered either Spiti or Ladakh in your Himalayan journeys. The surrounding mountains are stark and treeless with an arid rock and moraine cover. It’s spectacular to find the sun bouncing off these rock faces in an opalescent hue. The mountain ranges through which the trek route winds through are namely the Chandrabhaga and Moulkila. Looking up, you can find several soaring high snow peaks beaming over you. The locals relate the well-known Mahabharata story of the heavenly chariot which had come to take Yudhisthira to the realms of the immortal from here by the moonlake. The religious significance of the lake draws forth many pilgrims on this path too, besides migratory oat herders in search of green valleys; you are also likely to find pilgrims journeying in the face of excruciating hardships towards the moonlake. The changing hues of the waters in Chandratal with the turning and passage of days has been of much fascination to trekkers. To all those shutterbugs in search of a fabulous time-lapse project - Chandratal is the dream photo-op!
The destination of this Mid-June to Mid-September summer trek in the trans-Himalaya spans about 22 km long, offering spectacular views of the arid offsides of the thoroughly mountainous Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. You get to cover Manali-one of the most sought-after hill stations, the skyscapping heights of Kunzum Pass, and a stretch of thrillingly arid and inhospitable but visually striking expanse of the Indo-Tibetan highlands. The deep azure water of the Chandratal Lake is the source of the Chandra River. The banks of the lake have long served as a halting place on the ancient Spiti-bound trade route, connecting Tibet and Ladakh with the verdant Kullu Valley. The visual exquisiteness of the lake is fabled among himalayan enthusiasts, especially for the vibrant changing hues of the waters. The crescent shape of the waterbody has given the lake its resemblance to the crescent moon, therefore called the ‘moon lake’. The winding pathway from the Kunzum Pass to the lake on one side and towards Batal on the other is found sprinkled with wildflowers in the springtime. To catch the migratory birds coming to the Himalayas in the summer, you must take this trek to the lake. Since 2005, the wetland ecosystem of the Chandratal Lake has been identified as of great ecological importance, due to the presence of rare plants, a variety of animals, and avifauna. Remember, the trek demands moderate level fitness and mountain experience to be enjoyed perfectly.
This lake trek is 14,100 ft high, located on the Samudra Tapu plateau overlooking the Chandra River. It is considered a moderately high trek for mountain enthusiasts.
There is a wide window for making this lake trek, starting from late May to early October. To get a pleasant summer trekking experience, you are recommended to go in June.
By Air: Bhuntar, located 50 km away from Manali is the closest airport through which this trek can be accessed. Pre-paid taxis from Bhuntar to Manali are available,
By Rail: The railway station closest to Manali is in jogindernagar, well connected to Chandigarh and Ambala.
By Rod: Manali is well connected to many cities and towns in northern India like-- Leh, Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala, Delhi, and Chandigarh.
Are There Any Shops Available On the Chandratal Lake Trek?
You can find occasional rest stops and food shacks along the way from Batal to Chandratal.
Altitude Sickness on the Chandratal Lake trek can be tackled by taking medically approved precautionary courses in acetazolamide diuretic pills. In addition, proper hydration, fitness, and timely acclimatization is necessary,
Expect the lake region to be crowded in the summers as the area is well connected by road with Manali and Rohtang, and pretty popular with all kinds of travelers.