Why plan for camping at Chandratal
Chandratal is one of the best places in India for Camping and Trekking Trips. It literally means Moon Lake and is located in Himachal Pradesh en route to the amazing 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 witnessed 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 trek to approach the lake. In ancient times this trail was used by people as trade routes, as people from Spiti Valley used to come to Kullu by this route. Chandertal Lake remains closed for tourists for almost 7 months a year, but it’s still one of the most sought-after destinations for adventure tourism in India.
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. So, you should plan your journey for this mesmerizing lake in the summer season only.
How to reach Chandratal
Chandratal can be reached from Manali by crossing Rohtang Pass and reaching the Batal village. Alternatively, you can reach here by Kunzum Pass from the Kaza side. 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 charges from you. You can easily find many bikers there en route as this route is a favourite for bikers.
By Road to Chandratal
It is the most common medium of transport used by the people as It is about 220 km from Kullu District Headquarters and around 625 km from Delhi. It takes about 12-14 hours to reach Manali from Delhi via bus. There are lots of Bus services of Himachal Roadways, 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 catch buses here as well. Alternatively, private cabs can be hired from both major cities.
Buses of state transport are also available between Shimla to Kaza and Manali to Kaza, but are very less in frequency. The Bus departs daily from Kaza at 0700 AM to Manali & 0700 PM to Shimla while the bus from Manali to Kaza departs at 0400 AM & 0600 AM from Shimla. The bus reaches Shimla via Narkanda, Rampur, and Nako.
Now, from Manali onwards, one has to take either a private cab or state transport bus for Chandratal. The bus is available between Kullu to Kaza and the bus will drop you some 18 Km near your destination. For the next 18 Km, you have to opt for trekking or can arrange for sharing a vehicle. The Bus from Kaza to Manali departs daily from Kaza at 0400 AM while the Bus from Manali to Kaza departs from Manali at 0500 & 0530 AM on a daily basis. The fare of the bus is around 400 Rs per person and it will leave you at Batal or Kunzum Pass.
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 Chandratal. Narrow Gauge nearest railway station is Jogindernagar which is 285 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 their 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
The nearest airport is Bhuntar Aiport situated at Kullu 220 Km from Chandratal. 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. The flight schedule is subject to change depending on prevailing weather at Kullu, so it is better to check prior to 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 you are moving from Kaza to Rohtang pass, a small and barely 8 feet wide road just after crossing Kunzum Top will take you to the Chandratal lake. This Lake is 18 km from Kunzum Pass which has to be covered by trek or shared vehicle. There is no habitat/Hamlet/village around the lake and you will have no choice except to stay in the Camps near Chandratal.
The nearest and only accommodation facility available is at Batal. Here at Batal, one Dhaba type thing is run by Uncle and Aunty which is very famous on social media among bikers as it is the only spot for refreshment and living after much distant travel. Secondly, the nature of the 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 stay in a building; then this village is the only choice after Losar till Rohtaang. 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.
The distance of campsites from Chandratal
Campsites were used to be in the close vicinity of the lake earlier, but now these sites are moved at a distance of 3 km from this lake. This step was taken by the government in view of preserving the ecological system in and around the lake from human intervention, which we all must respect as responsible travellers. The price of camping largely depends on your negotiation skills but you can expect it to be anywhere close to Rs.1500 per person including meals.
Camping @ Chandratal?
Yes, and 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:-
Firstly, it should be nearby to other campsites so that resources can be availed by you present there
Secondly, wild animals visit the lake at night so there is the point of safety to be kept in mind.
And finally, the 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 for the same.
Services available at Chandratal
You will not find any sort of services or facilities near the Chandratal lake, except camping arrangements. You can go for personal camping or the arrangements made by local peoples in exchange for money. So, except for food, you will not find anything which can be of any help to you.
Nearby destinations to ChandraTal
Beautiful Hill Station of Manali — 110 KM
Amazing Spiti Valley — 90 KM
Thundering Parvati Valley — 193 KM
Peaceful Tirthan Valley — 193 KM
You can plan your trip like:
Delhi – Chandigarh – Shimla – Reckong Peo – Kaza – Chandratal – Manali – Delhi
Small but Effective Tips
⇒ Please adhere to simple but effective travel safety tips.
⇒ While planning trekking, you must go through 6 basic trekking tips.
⇒ Food and other required stuff are priced heavily at the isolated locations, hence it is recommended to carry sufficient stock.
⇒ Carry sufficient water and chocolates along in the trek to keep yourself energetic. Please keep filling your reusable water bottles from the waterfalls and streams you are going to cross during the trek. It will save your pocket and also it will save the environment in another way.
⇒ Don’t litter the place around you while at the peak or during the trekking, it is our moral duty to respect mother nature.
⇒ You must have enough cash available with you as there may be a non-availability of an ATM. Hence you should carry enough cash along with you prior.
⇒ No mobile network is available at the peak
⇒ You must carry a small travel medical kit with you on every trip to make you safe from small infections and allergies.
⇒ Try to have minimal weight in your backpack because a heavy load at the back can cause discomfort while trekking. You can go through a helpful guide to backpack for travel.
⇒Don’t throw Plastic and spoil the beauty of Hill station ( and U know Distilled water, Cold Drink Bottles are the main culprit)
⇒Please left this beauty for our next generation to enjoy as well
⇒Try to taste local foods wherever you go
⇒Be polite with serving staff
⇒If time and your will permit, please help locals collect garbage thrown over there by visitors like us so that we can plan the same destination again.
⇒Hotels can be checked online but if possible please visit Hotel personally and then only proceed for payment (especially in the Offseason). If possible book your hotel using Plastic money like Credit Card or Debit Card.
⇒Check your Hotel room for any suspicious things like Camera and all as frauds are on the peak so Don’t compromise with your personal safety.
⇒To take your Camera + additional batteries + memory cards to allow you to capture memorable moments forever without any glitches.
⇒Wherever needed please, Hire local Guides.
⇒Try to enjoy the time there and don’t just keep clicking images unnecessarily.