Chandra Taal Lake: A journey through the clouds
The Chandra Taal Lake is located in the Lahaul part of the district Lahaul Spiti of Himachal Pradesh. Considered as an untouched land, it is accessible between May – September but I would personally suggest visiting this place during the rainy season. Reason being, the scenic beauty during those days is worth the effort you will be putting in.
Travelling from Delhi to Manali (12 – 14 hours)
Tip: Consider travelling overnight because travelling becomes easier as you don’t have to face the heavy traffic you would otherwise face during day. Plus, you get to start your day with the beautiful scenery of the Himachal Mountains.
- You can travel by a local bus which would cost approximately Rs. 700 per person or a Volvo i.e. approximately RS. 1000 per person. But if you are a group of 4-5, you can also travel by a car and that would cost you approximately Rs. 800 per person (one way). Also, you get to stop at places as per your convenience if you travel by car. Moreover, travelling with like-minded people is always fun.
You can visit https://www.redbus.in/ to book your seats.
On Reaching Manali, you can stay there for a day. Prefer staying in Old Manali, all together a different world, away from the crowd of Manali. In Old Manali, the food is exotic and places to stay are more pocket friendly. A decent stay in Old Manali would cost you between Rs. 400 to Rs. 1200 a day.
- Cafe 1947 (https://www.facebook.com/Cafe1947/)
- Red House Café (https://www.facebook.com/RedHouseManali/)
- The Lazy Dog (https://www.facebook.com/TheLazyDogManali)
Saturdays in Old Manali nights are always musical so it is better to plan your trip in such a manner that you get to stay there on Saturday. You can also try street food available close to the Manali club.
Traveling from Manali to Batal (4 – 6 hours)
- The most cost-friendly way of travelling from Manali to Batal is by bus. The cost would be approximately Rs 400 – Rs 600 per person. The bus leaves Manali bus stand at around 5 a.m. The bus reaches Batal and then proceeds further to Kaza and to reach Chandra Taal, you will have to de-board the bus at Batal.
- You can hire a bike but do so only if you are a confident rider as the road from Manali to Chandratal has a rough terrain. The cost of renting a bike ranges from Rs.800 to Rs.1800 a day depending upon how much in advance you book the bike. Also, a permit is required from Himachal government and it’s better to rent a bike & take the permit a day in advance so that you can start your trip to Manali early next day.
- You can hire a cab as well (permit needed for the cab as well). The cost of cab would range from Rs. 4000 – 8000 per day. You can pool in with fellow travellers to make it pocket-friendly.
- Take medicine along for in case you face high altitude Also, in case you have serious breathing issues, you can carry an oxygen pump as the level of oxygen is considerably less in Chandra Taal.
- Get the permit a day in advance in case you plan to travel by bike/cab. Also keep in mind that obtaining a permit is quite troublesome on Sundays.
After reaching Batal, there are a few vendors who would provide meals like dal-rice, rajma-rice (approximately Rs. 150 per meal). From Batal, you can trek till the camp area or take a cab. Cabs are frequently available from Batal village to the camp area and the cost would be approximately Rs 200 per person.
You can stay at the camp or rent your own tent from Manali. The cost of the tent would be about Rs 1000 per day but in case you rent it from Manali, you will have to cook food by yourself. But if you decide to stay at the camps available at Chandra Taal, the camps there are also hygienic and provide good food.
The people in the camps are very welcoming. Also, they plan quite a few activities for the visitors.
- There is no phone network at Chandra Taal. So you can use the solar phone that is available at Batal.
- Prefer carrying a torch with you.
- Carry enough warm clothes because it gets extremely cold during night.
From the camp site, the Chandra Taal Lake is about 3 – 4 km away so you can visit the lake on the same day or choose to visit it next day early morning and witness the mystic beauty.
To return to Manali, you can choose the same mode of transport that you had chosen from Manali to Chandra Taal. Take a halt at Old Manali and return back to Delhi.