Serendipity is an awesome word in Dictionary and it has a lot many metaphors. For an explorer it’s the dream word which gives “kick” and such happenstance defines the purpose of traveling. But for me, after completing Spiti Valley via Shimla Kaza, Serendipity came alive in the form of Chandratal Lake in Lahaul Devision of Himachal Pradesh.
Why I say so because when I was planning for Spiti Trip, Lahaul was not in my original plan as I finalized for Delhi Kaza to & fro via Shimla due to low ground clearance of my car. But as we were moving closure to the Kaza, people we met en route encouraged us to do full circuit and thus we crossed mighty Kunzum Pass and landed at Chandratal base station at the fag-end of our Spiti circuit. But story doest become a case for serendipity here as even after reaching this place which was only 4 KM from the Chandratal lake I was not willing to trek down to Chandratal Lake from base station because of two reasons, first as I was already a day late so wanted to leave early next day so that I could reach Delhi in time which was some 750 KM from Chandrataal Campsite and second I wasn’t willing to do this natural beauty in a hush-hush manner. But then again, many people at Base Station suggested, forced & encouraged us to do this and their vivid description of the lake made us finally to do it. And thus next day after spending a night at -6 degree we woke up at 6 AM and we did it as we were destined to do it. So, you would agree, I could witness this beauty only with serendipity at my side.
Chandratal which literally means moon shaped lake (Chandra means moon & tal means lake in Hindi) is situated at a height of 4270 meters and 8 KMs away from the Kunzum Pass in Spiti & Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh, India and lies between a low himalyan ridge and the main Kunzum range. Boasting of a circumference of about 3 KMs, the crystal clear water of Chandra Tal Lake is one of the source of the violent Chandra river.
After 6 days of road tripping from Delhi to Spiti Valley, we reached the base station of Chandratal after crossing over Kunzum Pass. 12 KM detour to Chandratal from Kunzum-Manali main road was literally the deadliest road that i covered in last 6 days. This so called “the road” is actaully a walking treck that has been widened to make it somehow motorable. On the wheels, i was literally sitting straight and manoeuvering between all-pervasive boluders/rocks & crumbly edges. I was really lucky to have done this steep inclines successfully with My Ford Figo driving at around 13000 ft. It’s almost like an off driving experience that too in high Himalayas.
We stayed with Parasol Camping which is located 4 KM from Chandratal Lake and undoubtedly its the best campsite near Chandratal with all the amenities and run by awesome team of Mr. Bishen Thakur.
After a lot of self cajoling, we finally decided to go to Chandratal next morning with a strict timeline of 2 hours for the lake. After spending my first ever night in sub-zero temperature at the base camp, we had to struggle a lot to get up and move out of layers of quilt and blanket.
It’s a 2 KM drive up to Parking area and then a 20 min trek to the lake site. The first glimpse of this Lake was serendipitously beautiful for me. I found a romantic aura around it which simply and lovingly took me into its embrace and the warmth of this embrace changed every minute.
We reached their 20 mins prior to sunrise and was stunned with the reflection of snow-capped mountain on the water. But the real beauty and the expanse of this beauty was before us only when sun peeped out and thus the riot of the color were out making this lake an immense and nonpareil beauty. Every minute with rising sun throwing its rays on the large canvas of this lake, the reflections on the water changes color, hue and vibrancy.
This magnificent lake, truly, celebrates the surprises and uniqueness that natures carved for a traveler. to offer to travelers. Being a Picean, water in any form attracts me ocean always enthrall me with its mighty vastness but when I sit next to any lake it imparts a distinct calmness and stillness in me which lasts longer compelling me never to get up.
Enchantingly engrossing beauty that exudes from this lake makes you not to leave this place ever and live there forever. I literally wanted to spend a complete day here so that I could capture every hue and color of this lake and the reflections it creats, but had to part ways from this stunning place with a promise to come back soon.
Make up your mind to get astonished, amused and overwhelmed by few incredible photographs of the Chandratal Lake that would take your breath away:
And today, when I am back and going through photographs, I feel Chandratal is the ultimate reward bestowed by Mother Nature on me for the efforts I put in to complete the Spiti Circuit. Yes indeed, after covering 1100 KM in rugged and tough Himalayan Roads, I could not have asked for more. Getting photographed next to Chandratal is the trophy that vouches for my efforts and spirit full of madness and adventure.
How to Reach Chandratal Lake
Road tripping is the only way to reach and there are two possible routes by road:
Route 1: Delhi-Shimla-Narkanda-Rampur-Powari-Nako-Tabo-Kaza-Losar-Kunzum-Chandratal
Route 2: Delhi-Chandigarh-Manali-Rohtang Top-Gramphu-Batal-Chandratal
Where to Stay:
Parasol Camps & Retreat run by Mr. Bishen Thakur. He and his team were the most efficient campsite managers. Bishen’s all-embracing behaviour was really heart touching. He can be reached at +91 94188 45817, +91 94599 10098, +91 1906 200204 or firstname.lastname@example.org
With Mr. Bishen Thakur of Parasol Camps