ChandraTal or Chandrataal or The Moon Lake is located at a height of 14100 feet in Spiti and Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. The sweet water lake is around 2.5 km wide and lies in a broad grassy plain, which in ancient times was a glacier. The lake got its name because of its crescent shape. It is one of the most enchanting lakes in Himalayas. The mountains of scree overlook the lake on one side, and a magnificent cirque presents a view on the other. The lake is the source of Chandra River which merges with Bhaga River to form Chandrabhaga River and later assumes the identity of Chenab.
It is said that, ChandraTal was discovered by traders who travelled to Spiti and the Kullu valley from Tibet or Ladakh. Some say that, this is the site where fairies descended from the heavens. Now ChandraTal is a popular destination for trekkers, camping and nature lovers’ and attracts a large number of photographers and adventure lovers.
Chandratal can be reached from two sides; one via Manali (Rohtang-La, Gramphu, Chatru and Batal). It takes around 7-8 hours to reach ChandraTal from Manali. Throughout this path you will witness the numerous waterfalls, the never ending Chandra river flowing down below, bridges, wildflowers, snowpeaks. From Batal you will get a nice view of the Lahaul ranges; peaks like Minar(6172 M), Talagiri(6279 M), Tara Pahar(6227 M), Chandrabhaga - CB14 (6280 M) and Mulkila (6517 M).
One can also hike from Manali, crossing the villages of Pirni, Chika, Jwara, Bhalu Ka Gera, Hampta and Sethan on the way.
The second route is from Shimla. Shimla – Narkanda – Karcham – Powari – Puh – Nako – Tabo – Kaza – Losar – Kunzum La (4551 Meters) – Chandratal.
During springtime, the meadows here are carpeted with hundreds of kinds of wildflowers. The lake can be visited only during the summer months (June, July, August September). The snowfall starts in October and thus the paths get blocked and are not accessible during winters. The lake also remains frozen during the winters.
To keep the lake and its surroundings clean, camping at the lake side is not allowed. The lake is accessible on foot from the camping site and it is a trek of about 2 hours; a ride can also be arranged to the lake (short cut), where the hiking part is only for about 20 minutes.
Things to do -
- Watch the mind blowing night sky.
Places nearby -
- Suraj Tal lake