Chandratal is one of the biggest attractions of Spiti Valley. A trip to this beautiful and sparsely populated part of our country is incomplete unless you have experienced the adventure that the Manali Kaza road is; stood at the top of Kunzum Pass; and walked along the banks of the beautiful Chandratal lake. This small body of water is an absolute beauty in itself. The blue of the lake, the green of the grass on its banks, the brown of the mountains around, the white of the snow at the top of the peaks and the deep blue of the sky above; the whole setting is enough to leave you in awe. This year, however, the scenery is quite different as you can see in the pictures below. Usually, there is always some snow left at Chandratal lake in May but not like the way it is this year.
Chandratal Lake in May
The opening of Chandratal entirely depends on how soon the Manali Kaza road is declared open. Historically, it is towards the end of May that the route becomes accessible; and then the campsites at Chandratal become operational in June first week. The story this year is different though. The entire Himalayan region has received a tremendous amount of snow this winter and it continued to snow till late. This has resulted in the roads remaining closed for a prolonged period. Rohtang Pass was just declared open yesterday and Kunzum La still is closed. Even Manali Leh route is yet to be declared open. It will probably be another 2 weeks before Chandratal is open for tourists. And as a result, the lake still remains completely frozen.
If you are heading towards Spiti Valley anytime soon then the chances are that you will have to come back to Shimla only without paying a visit to Chandratal. The only way to get to the lake right now and probably until June 15th is to trek from Kaza for which you can find guides and porters in Kaza itself. Do note though that the trek right now is a bit dangerous with all that snow.
If you are not reading this article in 2019 and are thinking about visiting Chandratal lake in May then it will entirely depend on the how much it snowed that year and how fast BRO was able to clear the Manali Kaza road. On a safer side though, do not plan before the last week of May. Historically, it is extremely rare that Chandratal was ever open before the last week of May. If you have any questions, or need any other details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.