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Chandra Taal
About Chandra Taal

Chandra Taal (meaning the Lake of the Moon), or Chandra Tal, is situated at an elevation of about 4,300 metres in the Himalayas and 7 kms away from the Kunzum Pass in Spiti and Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh India. Mountains of scree overlook the lake on one side, and a wonderful cirque presents a view on the other. The name of the lake originates from its hemispherical shape. Chandra Taal is a famous destination for campers and trekkers which is situated in the Spiti part of the Lahul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. The lake is reachable on foot from Batal as well as from Kunzum Pass from late May to early October. There is also a motorable road from Batal which is 16 km away from Chandra Taal, but before August, its condition can be bad. The road from Kunzum Pass is reachable only on foot, and it is about 8 km from Chandra Taal. Suraj Tal is also reachable from Chandra Taal which is about 30 km away. Vast meadows on the banks of the lake are the camping sites. During springtime, these meadows are carpeted with hundreds of kinds of wildflowers.

Mostly surrounded with snow, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 Kilometers. Some people also call it Moon Lake and is also one of the source of the violent Chandra River. Chandrabhaga and Moulkila mountain ranges having snow capped peaks 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 Mahabharata epic) was taken to heaven in his mortal form. Itís a very luring place.

The lake is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau, which overlooks the Chandra River.The lake is one of two high-altitude wetlands of India which have been designated as Ramsar sites.Climate of  Chandratal is very cold during winter and temperature may drop well even below 20 degrees. Although cold during summer, snowfall can happen anytime of the year here.

The Chandratal lake which was once a halting place for traders who went to Spiti and the Kullu valley from Tibet and Ladakh attracts a large number of photographers and adventure lovers.The most surprising thing about this lake is that there is no visible source of this lake but there is a visible outlet of this lake which means that water to this lake comes from underground.

The mountains peaks with snow caps and slopes around the valley rise up to 3000 meters to 6300 meters. The mountain ranges are called Chandrabhaga and Moulkila which challenge mountaineers.This crystal clear blue water lake lies in a broad lush plain, which in ancient times was a glacier, Perfect for camping, can be approached from Manali and by Kaza. According to legend, this lake is the location from where god Indraís chariot picked up Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers. As a result, this lake is a honored and draws a large number of devotees.

Best time to visit Chandra Taal

Best time to visit Chandra Taal is from June Last Week to September Second Week. It will be the best option to visit Chandratal in July-August month when the roads are cleaned up by till very end and Chandratal becomes reachable by road.

Things to Carry

If you are traveling in a pleasant time window i.e. July-August you donít really need any special thing apart from your basic travel kit and few medicines. But, if you are traveling in a dicey time window to a terrain like Chandratal Lake better prepared with the following things Ė
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) Torchlight
5) Heavy Woolens
6) Medicines
7) Woolen socks [carry 2 extra pair in case one any gets wet] in your backpack. Wet socks wonít let you walk with all strength
8) A water bottle say 1 Ltr for your backpack
9) A small towel in your back pack to keep yourself dry as much as you can
10) Camping gear if you need to setup your own camps.

Some more Tips to visit Chandratal

1) Never cross the water nallas in way which might get your clothes or socks wet. It will lead you to big trouble if you have wet clothes in such freezing conditions as chilly winds bites your bones. Try to protect your clothes as much as you can from getting wet. So, while crossing Nallas, just fold your lowers up to knee and remove socks and shoes before jumping in to cross it.
2) Use your towel from backpack if you get wet to dry yourself as soon as possible.
3) No Alcohol shall be consumed while trekking.
4) Since, chandratal lake is at an altitude of about 14000 feet, it is not a good idea to go there without any acclimatization to stay overnight. Best way to visit Chandratal is that you come from Shimla side as the ascent is very gradual as compared to Manali side, of course it takes more time to reach Chandratal from Shimla side.

How To Reach Chandra Taal

By Rail
Joginder nagar is the nearest narrow gauge railway station. Another option would be broad gauge railway track till Shimla and Chandigarh. Buses and taxis are available from Shimla and Chandigarh to reach Kaza or Rohtang Pass.

By Road
Itís a 115 km journey from Manali to Rohatang Pass. Another option is to take bus from Shimla via Kinnaur to Kaza. Bus route is open from Shimla to Kaza from June to October and total distance is 412 km.

By Air
Chandratal can be reached from Manali via Rohtang Pass and from Shimla via Kinnaur. Bhuntar is the nearest airport . Indian Airlines and some private airlines operate regular flights to Manali.



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