Why plan for camping at Chandratal
I can say one among the best place in India for Camping and Trekking Trip is Chandertaal which literally means Moon Lake in Hindi and located in Himachal Pradesh en route Spiti Valley from Manali. Chandratal is actually distant from the road connecting Kullu to Kaza in Spiti Valley via Manali, Rohtang Pass, so it is a bit difficult to use public transport for you to reach there. Chandratal is best explored by trekking from Manali or by driving a bike or four-wheeler.
Why Chandratal is famous for
Chandratal is famous for its beautiful and gorgeous trek route which binds the trekker with its beauty of Himalaya and lake situated there. it is situated in the Spiti Region of Himachal at a distance of 14 Km from Batal with a treacherous track to approach the lake. In ancient times this trail was used by people as trade routes, as people from Spiti Valley use to come to Kullu by this route.
Best time to visit Chandratal
Chandratal lake is accessible from Kaza and Manali easily from the month of May to October. Rest of the year it is not advisable to visit because of the presence of heavy snow in the region and you will have to cross either Rohtang Pass or Kunzum Pass to reach here, which is very difficult till April end.
How to reach Chandratal
Chandratal can be reached from Manali by crossing Rohtang Pass, alternatively, you can reach here from Kunzum Pass. while approaching Kunzum Pass, you can have a glimpse of the beautiful Chanderbhaga range and Bara Shigri Glacier which is believed to be the second-largest glacier after Gangotri. The best way to reach there is by your own vehicle, as state transportation provides only one bus and the Taxi will levy heavy charge from you. You can easily find many bikers there en route as this route is favourite for bikers.
By Road/Bus to Chandertaal
It is the most common medium of transport used by the people as It is about 130 km from Kullu District Headquarters and around 625 km from Delhi. It takes about 12-14 hours of journey to reach Manali from Delhi via a bus, there are lots of Bus services of Himachal Roadways Himsuta, Haryana Roadways and Private Volvo Buses are available between Delhi ISBT to Manali. Chandigarh is also 293 Km from Manali and every Bus coming from Delhi to Manali halts at Chandigarh, so one can easily board buses here as well. Alternatively, private cabs can be hired from both major cities.
Now, from Manali onwards, one has to take either a private cab or state transport bus for Chandertaal. The bus is available between Kullu to Kaza and the bus will drop you some 18 Km near your destination and from there next 18 Km is to be covered by own. The Bus from Kaza to Manali departs daily from Kaza at 0400 AM while Bus from Manali to Kaza departs from Manali at 0500 & 0530 AM on a daily basis. Fare of the bus is at around 400 Rs.
For more information on the timing and schedule of buses that keep on changing due to prevailing weather there at Kaza, you can contact at 01902-252323 which is the contact number of Manali Bus Depot, and additionally can click on the official website:
By Train to Chandertaal
The nearest railhead (broad gauge) is at Chandigarh which is 380 km from Chandertaal. Narrow Guage nearest railway station is Jogindernagar which is 255 Km from Chandertaal and it is connected to Pathankot from regular train services. From Chandigarh onwards, one has to choose Buses or Cab as per own convenience. There is a train service ( Passenger) from Pathankot to Jogindernagar on a regular interval and from Joginder Nagar onwards one has to take Bus or Cab. Train timing for the reference is attached herewith:
Only Passenger train runs between Pathankot to Joginder Nagar on narrow gauge and originates from Platform no 4 at Pathankot. For more information about train timings, you can contact @ 0186-2230175 to Station Superintendent at Pathankot Railway Station.
✈✈By Flight to Chandertaal
Nearest Airport is Bhunter Aiport situated at Kullu 130 Km from Chandertaal. Bhunter airport is connected to the major cities of India like Chandigarh and Delhi at regular intervals by flight operations of Air India, Spice Jet, Indigo and others. Flight schedules are subjected to change depending on prevailing weather at Kullu, so it is better to check prior boarding the flight.
Options for Accommodation at Chandertaal
The only available option is camping there as there are no Hotels/Guesthouses nearby. The nearest habitat is Losar which is around 50 Km away. When approaching from Kaza or Losar to Rohtang pass, as and when Kunzum Pass top crosses, a small road that is barely 8 feet wide takes you to Chandratal, about 18 km from Kunzum Pass. There is no habitat/Hamlet/village around the lake and you will have no choice except staying in the Camps near Chandertaal
The nearest and only one accommodation facility one can have or available is at Batal and there is only one Dhaba type thing being run by Uncle and Aunty which is very famous on social media among bikers group as it is the only spot for refreshment and living after much distant travel, secondly the nature of owner makes it special. This Dhaba is located at the bank of the river and has a perfect location to have a peaceful stay where you may get a bed to sleep on for the night in exchange for a couple of hundred rupees.
In addition to the Dhaba, Batal also has a PWD guest house. If you want to have stayed in a building; then this will be the best choice after Losar till Rohtaang and it is equipped with the facility of a satellite phone, numbered 08991722020, and the same can be used for inquiry of availability of Accommodation there and for advance booking if available.
Chandertal Lake is closed for tourists for almost 7 months in a year
The distance of campsites from Chandratal
Campsites were in close vicinity of the lake which earlier it used to be @ a distance of one kilometre but now, the campsites are shifted from there to a new location which is at a distance of about 3 kilometres because Camping at the lake is now being avoided by a legal provision in view of not to disturb its ecological system. So from the campsite, one has to walk to the lake and come back.
Price of Camping @ Chandratal?
It largely depends on your negotiation skills but one can expect it to be anywhere close to Rs. 1500 per person in which meals included. charges also depend on the facility you want to avail there. Hot water can be made available there but don’t expect it to be in tap but in the bucket only
Chandratal after Batal/Kunzum Pass
After reaching Kunzum pass when one proceeds towards Batal and there is a small road deviating from the main road which goes directly to Chandertaal. This small road is very easy one can miss, so be alert otherwise after reaching Batal one has to come back, in addition, there is a signboard is also there. Private taxi one can hire but will be costly and shared taxis are next to non-availability.
There is also a bus service from Manali to Kaza and back which starts early in the morning from both Kaza and Manali. You can board this bus as well. But keep in mind that this bus will drop you at Kunzun pass or Batal only and from there you have no option except trekking to Chandertaal so be ready for it if you are availing state transport services.
Pitch your own Tent @ Chandratal?
Yes, you can, as a matter of fact, most of the Bikers group do it in the same way but my humble request is to first check the site for tent pitching for three reasons:-
One is it should be nearby to other campsites so that resources can be availed by you present there
Secondly, wild animals do come to the lake at night so there is the point of safety.
The third reason is, local shepherds, treat Chandratal as their private property; and all the owners pay them money for running their campsites at the lake and I don’t want tourists like you to pay the same
Here are some images which can take you to mesmerising location and can help you in planning your trip ahead