The recent and unexpected spell of snow all across Himalayas certainly created a havoc everywhere. People were not expecting snow so soon and so much anywhere. All the major passes across Ladakh, Spiti and Kashmir were shut down for a few days. Chandratal specially was one of the areas that was worst hit. There were a lot of people traveling on the Spiti route, camping at Chandratal when it suddenly started to rain and snow. Tourists were stuck in Kaza, Batal and Chandratal for several days before they were rescued by Indian Air force. I am sharing below a few pictures of Chandratal in October this year after the heavy snowfall.
Chandratal Lake in October
Planning a trip now to Chandratal is of course out of question. All the camp sites have wrapped up for the season and even the Manali Kaza route is closed. People stuck there made it out with great difficulties so heading to the lake now is anyways is not the best of the ideas. However, visiting Chandratal in October is not something that is impossible. What happened this year was certainly unexpected and unusual otherwise a lot of people visit this magical lake in October too. However there are a few things that you should keep in mind while visiting Chandratal Lake in October.
Plan in first 10 Days of the Month
Camp sites at Chandratal usually wrap up for the season by October 10th. They actually start to pack as soon as October starts but you can still hope to get a place to stay in first 10 days of the month. After 10th, even if the road was open, it would be best to not plan a night stay there.
It Can Snow Anytime at Chandratal
Once October starts, it can snow at Chandratal and Kunzum Pass anytime. This year was just an example of how unpredictable the weather here can be. So when you are packing for the trip, be sure to prepare keeping in mind that you may have to encounter snow on the way.
Keep Buffer Days
This is very important. What happened to people this year is something that can happen to you as well. So keep at least 2-3 days as buffer in your travel plan. That way, if you got stuck somewhere, you will at least be able to afford to do so.
It is going to be extremely Cold
Temperature at night and even during day will remain either below or close to zero so make sure that you are bringing in thermals, woolens, gloves and a heavy windproof jacket with a hood.
Plan for Next Year
Even in first 10 days of October, visiting Chandratal is not really the wisest choice. It usually snows at the lake and Kunzum Pass after 15th October; but there is no way that you can be certain of it. This year’s incident stands witness to this fact. By visiting Chandratal in October, you are running an unnecessary risk. It anyways is not a good time to be visiting Spiti so if possible, better plan your trip for next year.
Chandratal In October
And below are a few pictures that were recently clicked in last few days. Jamaica is a friend of mine who runs a camp site at Chandratal and was stuck there for 6 days before the authorities were finally able to clear the road. Tourists were already picked up by IAF in Helicopters but camp site owners had no choice other than to stay back and wait for the road to open so they could leave with all their camps and other belongings.
The pictures below are a few that were sent to my by a friend of mine. I am not claiming ownership of these pics. Credit goes to the person who clicked these. The first two are an aerial view of the camp sites at Chandratal after it was all snowed out. The third one is of Batal.
If you have any other images of Chandratal in October; or any tips that can be of help to others; then please feel free to share either in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum. For now, Chandratal is off limits for tourists until May or June next year.