I visited Chandratal Lake for the first time a few years ago and was completely enthralled by what I saw. The landscape in front of my eyes was like no other and for a while I did not know what to do. A part of me wanted to put the camera away and allow myself to immerse in the beauty of the place whereas the other part wanted to click as many pictures as possible. In the end, I spent hours roaming around on its banks and ended up doing both.
The kind of vista you see at Chandratal is hard to find elsewhere. So much I was mesmerized that I returned only 2 weeks later to spend a couple of nights more in the camps here.
Chandratal may be smaller than some of the other high altitude lakes in the region but is a giant in beauty. It is often called the crown jewel of Spiti Valley and quite rightly so. Your trip to Spiti will remain incomplete unless you have spent at least one evening at Chandratal.
About Chandratal Lake
For a brief introduction, Chandratal, or Chandra Taal, is a high altitude lake located in Lahaul & Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh. The name of the lake literally means ‘The Lake of the Moon’ and is owed to its crescent shape. At an altitude of 4,300 meters, it is the source of Chandra River.
There are vast meadows on the banks Chandratal, favorite among the gaddi shepherds to graze their livestock. In the spring season, these meadows are carpeted with hundreds of varieties of wildflowers and attract thousands of tourists and flowers.
Chandratal is open for tourists from early June to Mid October. Between December to April, it remains in a completely frozen state.
Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley
How to Plan a Trip to Chandratal Lake
Mostly Chandratal becomes a part of the itinerary for a trip to Spiti Valley. Depending on your plan, this could be an affair lasting 9 to 14 days. You start from Shimla, cover all of Spiti, and end your trip at Manali while covering Chandratal on the way. Or you can also do it the other way around, starting from Manali and ending at Shimla.
However, in recent times, a lot of people have started to travel to only Chandratal to enjoy camping here. Adventure junkies and motorcycle enthusiasts come here to get a taste of the extreme off-roading opportunities that the roads here present. Depending on where you started from, this can be done easily in 4-5 days.
Both of the plans have their own pros and cons and are equally good. Below is some information on how you can best utilize your time and money while visiting Chandratal lake.
Also read: Mobile Network and Data Connectivity in Spiti Valley
How to reach Chandratal Lake
Let us first take a look at how you can reach Chandratal and then I will discuss other aspects of the trip. There are two ways that a person can get to the lake. The first route is via Shimla and the second one is via Manali. The Shimla route is longer and is best when you are covering the entire Spiti Circuit and not just visiting Chandratal. Traveling via Manali is the preferred way when you only want to visit Chandratal and return the same way.
In order to explain this better, I will first post a map of the region. This map includes the entire Spiti circuit, showing how to access Chandratal from both Manali and Shimla. Click on it to view in full size or save to your hard disk.
- Manali to Chandratal Distance: 124 kilometers
- Shimla to Chandratal Distance: 530 kilometers via Reckong Peo, Pooh, Kaza, and Batal
- Keylong to Chandratal Distance: 120 kilometers
- Gramphu to Chandratal Distance: 70 kilometers
- Kaza to Chandratal Distance: 115 kilometers
- Leh to Chandratal Lake Distance: 485 kilometers
The fastest way to reach Chandratal is via Manali unless you are traveling from Shimla or coming from Ladakh via Keylong. The easiest way however is via Shimla. Read on to know more.
How to Reach Chandratal Lake From Manali
When starting from Manali, it is extremely important that you get an early start. This would be beneficial primarily in the way that you will reach Chandratal in time and would have some daylight still left to trek to the lake. Secondly, if you started early, you will be able to avoid the possibility of getting stuck in a traffic jam towards Rohtang top.
After the introduction of the permits for Rohtang Pass, there is always a long queue at the Gulaba check post and sometimes it can even take hours before you get past it. So if you can, start by the first light of the day or even before that. The local taxi drivers get lined up at the check post even as early as 5 am sometimes.
From Manali, take the Manali Leh highway and cross Rohtang Pass. Road conditions will be good until you get closer to Rohtang top where it will be a mix of good and bad until Gramphu.
At Gramphu, you will notice a small dirt road to your right. Turn on this road and continue until Batal. This entire stretch is a badly broken and narrow dirt road filled with numerous water crossings, loose stones, gravel, mud, and slush so drive carefully.
Once you reach Batal, continue towards Kunzum Pass top. After about 2 kilometers from the Batal Bridge, you will notice another narrow dirt road to your left. There is also a board there naming it as Chandratal road. Turn on this road, drive carefully, and 14 kilometers later, you will be at Chandratal.
Chandratal to Manali Travel Time
The total travel time between Chandratal and Manali will be between 6-8 hours, depending upon your speed and breaks. The opening and closing of both the road and Chandratal are related to each other. So if this road is closed, then Chandratal will be as well and you cannot get there even if you went via Shimla. If Chandratal Lake is open for tourists then this route will also be open.
The distance from Manali to Chandratal is not really that great, just 124 kilometers which leads some people to believe that they can make this a quick trip. Make no mistake, however, this small distance can easily take you up to 8 hours to complete and sometimes even more.
You need to consider the fact that these 124 kilometers include a steep ascent to Rohtang Pass, then the slush and traffic towards Rohtang top followed by a nightmarish journey on Gramphu Batal stretch. Then comes another ascent towards Kunzum Pass top and finally a 14 kilometers drive on a dirt road that is barely wide enough for one car.
If traveling by your own vehicle, you need to ensure that you first obtain the permit for Rohtang; either from the SDM office Manali or online. Without the permit, you will not be able to travel any further than the Gulaba check post.
The number of permits issued in a day is strictly limited, due to which, it can be a cumbersome task to procure it. Sometimes people even get delayed in Manali for an entire day because there was no permit available on their date of travel. For more details, please take a look at How to Obtain Permits for Rohtang Pass.
Manali to Chandratal by Bike
A bike trip is one of the best and most adventurous ways to visit Chandratal. Riding a motorcycle through water streams, on narrow roads, through boulders and slush is surely fun if you know how to handle the bike. But at the same time, you must practice extreme caution, especially on the notorious Batal-Gramphu stretch. There have been instances when bikers have died on this 60 kilometers long treacherous stretch.
If you cannot bring a bike of your own, you can surely rent one from Manali. Please read How to rent a Bike in Manali for more details.
How to reach Chandratal Lake from Kaza
The distance between Kaza and Chandratal is slightly more than a hundred kilometers. But the catch here is that the entire road is in a bad condition. From Kaza to Losar has is a badly broken tarred road and after Losar, there is no road at all.
Due to this, the travel time between both places is around 5-6 hours. From Kaza, take the road towards Losar and from there, continue towards Kunzum Pass top. A few kilometers after Kunzum top, as you start descending towards Batal, you will notice the narrow road going towards Chandratal that you will need to turn on.
Also read: Clothes for Chandratal Trip – What to Pack?
How to reach Chandratal Lake from Shimla
If a visit to only Chandratal is on your mind, then you must journey from Manali because reaching Chandratal from Shimla would mean 3 days of a journey. The only reason why you would want to take the Shimla route is if you were on a Spiti valley trip. That way, you can start from Shimla, cover the entire Spiti circuit, and exit at Manali covering Chandratal.
Depending on your itinerary and the places you wish to cover, this journey can be broken in several days. I have explained an example of an itinerary at Shimla to Spiti Itinerary – A detailed Travel Plan Plan that you can take a look at.
If however you are starting from Manali and want to cover the entire Spiti circuit, you can refer to Manali to Spiti Itinerary – A Detailed Travel Plan.
At the least, it would take you 3 days to reach Chandratal from Shimla. The first day you can travel until Reckong Peo and stay there for the night. On the second day, you can do Peo to Kaza and on the third day, you can go to Chandratal from Kaza.
How to reach Chandratal from Keylong
If you are coming back towards Manali from Ladakh and have an additional day; adding Chandratal to your itinerary would be a good option. You can reach Chandratal from Jispa or Keylong and go to Manali the next day.
Keylong to Chandratal is a good 8-9 hours of journey, most of the time being spent on Gramphu to Chandratal stretch. Start early from Keylong towards Rohtang Pass and then from Gramphu, take the road towards Spiti to reach Chandratal.
If traveling by bus, catch the early morning Manali bound Bus from Keylong. It will drop you at Gramphu between 8-9 AM. The Kaza bound Bus from Manali reaches Gramphu sometime after 9 AM; so you can board this one to reach Chandratal diversion. If for some reason, you are not able to match timings with these buses at any point, the only other option would be to wait for a shared taxi, especially from Gramphu to Kunzum Pass.
How to reach Chandratal from Delhi
If you are traveling from Delhi, the best way to travel to Chandratal is via Manali. Delhi to Manali is a good 12-14 hours journey depending on your speed. On Day 1, reach Manali from Delhi and on Day 2, reach Chandratal from Manali as I described above in the article.
There are several HRTC buses to Manali from ISBT Delhi that you can board. Most of these buses start in the evening and reach Manali early in the morning. I have covered this entire journey at great length in a different article that you can read at How to Travel to Chandratal from Delhi?
How to reach Chandratal by Bus
Below is some information on how you can plan a trip to the lake by Bus.
Manali to Chandratal Bus
If traveling by bus, you will need to catch the early morning Bus to Kaza that leaves Manali at around 5 AM. Board this bus and get off near the Chandratal diversion at Kunzum Pass. From here, you have two choices, either to walk all the way to the lake or hitchhike. A lot of people travel on this road in the peak tourist season and you will have no trouble finding someone to give you a ride.
A better choice in my opinion will be to get off at Batal and not near the division. From Batal, at the Dhaba, you have a high chance of finding a shared taxi for the lake.
Otherwise, you can just get down near the division and start walking to the lake. On the way, if a vehicle passes you by, you can ask them for a ride.
Kaza to Chandratal Bus
If coming from Kaza, you will need to catch the early morning 7 AM bus from Kaza to Manali and then get down at Batal as I explained above. An important thing to pay attention is the timing of the bus when it arrives at Batal. Because the next day, when you are returning, you will have to reach Batal at the same time to board this bus again for Manali.
Shimla to Chandratal Bus
If you were planning to come from Shimla by Bus, you can first board the daily Shimla to Kaza bus. Or you can first go from Shimla to Reckong Peo and then catch the Peo to Kaza Bus. From Kaza, board the 7 AM bus to get to Chandratal.
The fare from Manali to Chandratal will be about Rs. 250 per person. If coming via Shimla, the total fare will come out close to Rs. 750 per person. For more information, please take a look at Spiti Valley by Bus.
Bhuntar Airport near Manali is the closest airport to Chandratal, located at a distance of about 180 kilometers. You can get a taxi for Chandratal directly from the airport itself. Or you can first come to Manali and then look for a taxi from there.
Other than Bhuntar, the second closest airport is in Shimla at a distance of 370 kilometers via Manali and about 500 kilometers via Kinnaur Valley.
Both of these are however small airports with limited flights. The nearest major airport is in Chandigarh that is well connected with the rest of the country. If you were traveling by air, my suggestion would to catch a flight to Chandigarh and then travel to Chandratal from there.
Nearest Railway Station to Chandratal Lake
The nearest railway station to Chandratal is the Joginder Nagar railway station near Mandi, at a distance of about 290 kilometers. You can also travel to Shimla by the famous Kalka Shimla Toy train and then get a taxi to Chandratal from there.
Both of these are however small railway stations with limited connectivity. Hence, it would be better to travel to Chandigarh instead by train and then go to Chandratal from there.
What to See at Chandratal Lake
First of all, let us talk about why should you visit Chandratal and what do you see there? The answer to this question is the natural beauty of the place and the adventurous nature of the roads. There are no markets here and no long list of activities to do. It is just a silent lake sitting in the middle of nowhere, between high rising snowcapped peaks. All that you can do here is to take a walk, enjoy the natural beauty, do camping, click plenty of pictures, and return.
But in itself, this is the greatest attraction of Chandratal. This is a place far away from civilization, soaked in tranquility, and perfect for some soul searching. The road leading to the lake is one of the most adventurous ones you had ever been on and will have your heart jumping to your mouth at several places.
So if your idea of a trip was to visit crowded hill stations, party, eat out and spend time shopping then Chandratal is definitely not for you. But if you want to spend some time away from the crowd, do some trekking, camp in the wilderness, see some stunning landscape, and have an adventurous drive then Chandratal is surely worth your time and money.
There is also interesting mythology related to this lake, a beautiful love story that you can read about at The Legend of Chandratal.
The primary attraction of a trip to Chandratal Lake is of course its natural beauty. Some other tourist attractions en route are Manali, Rohtang Pass, and Kunzum Pass. On the way between Batal and Chhota Dhara, you get to see the end of Bara Shigri Glacier, the largest glacier in Himachal Pradesh and the second largest in the Himalayas after Gangotri.
Accommodation at Chandratal
There are no hotels at Chandratal. The only option available is campsites. Charges of these campsites can be Rs. 1500 or above (different for each camp) per person including meals. Please refer to the below articles for more details on the campsites at Chandratal. I have covered this information in another article that you can take a look at Camping at Chandratal and Accommodation at Chandratal.
If you are on a budget trip and do not wish to stay at these camps, the only other choice is the Dhaba at Batal. You can come back to the Dhaba ents after visiting Chandratal and stay here for the night. It is basically a dormitory-type accommodation under a huge tent with a few beds laid out. Charges for staying here will be anywhere between Rs. 200 – Rs. 300
Hotels at Chandratal
The only concrete hotel available nearby is the PWD guest house at Batal. If you are able to find the caretaker and get him to agree in letting you stay; you can stay at the guest house and eat at the Dhabas which are right next to it.
Batal has the facility of a satellite phone, the number of which is 08991722020. If you want to call in advance and inquire about booking the PWD guest house, you can do so at this number. The chances of finding accommodation at the guest house are almost none.
If you do want to stay here, rather than calling the dhaba at Batal, you should get a prebooking done by the PWD office. Even after that though, the caretaker can still be gone and your booking will be good for nothing. So it is better to not rely on this guest house for accommodation.
Camping on the banks of Chandratal is restricted by the law. The nearest campsite is at least 3 kilometers away from the lake. Even if camping on your own, you are not allowed to pitch your tents anywhere near the lake.
Please take this seriously and do not attempt to camp close to Chandratal or you may get in trouble. Also, consider the fact that it is a sweet water lake with a lot of wildlife around. You may get attacked by some wild animal coming to the lake for drinking water at night.
Chandratal Lake Weather
Freezing Cold is how the weather at Chandratal can be best described. The lake sits surrounded by glaciers so a chill in the wind remains present at all times. Even in July, you will be crawled under two blankets when spending a night here. Chances of a snowfall remain throughout the year, though very less from June to August. If cold is something that you are not overly fond of, Chandratal is not a place for you to visit.
Temperature at Chandratal Lake
The average temperature at Chandratal in summers remains between 5 to 10 degrees during the day and 0 Degrees Celsius at night. In winters, the average temperature is -20 Degrees Celsius.
Best time to visit Chandratal
By road, Chandratal is open only from June 1st week till September. Some people do trek here in May and October as well but then you will have to make arrangements for accommodation as well. All the campsites become operational from June 2nd week onward and wrap up by early October.
So the only time you can visit Chandratal by road is from June 2nd week to October first week. Out of this, the best time for a trip to Chandratal would be June 3rd and 4th week, early July, and the first two weeks of September.
If you go in early June as soon as the road opens up; you will be traveling on really bad roads. Monsoon hits the Manali region by late July and August; so if you go at this time, you will encounter rain with a possibility of landslides.
Water streams during the monsoon will be at full flow and there will also be a lot of slushes around. By late September, it will start to get extremely cold at nights. So if you can, plan your trip for the second half of June or the first half of July and September. For more details, I will recommend reading When is the Best time to Visit Chandratal.
Chandratal in January to April
Chandratal remains closed between January to April. The passes of Rohtang and Kunzum receive as much as 50 ft of snow each year, making it impossible to travel to Chandratal at this time. You cannot reach the lake either from Shimla or Manali or even by trekking. If the weather favored, in late April, you may think about traveling towards Kunzum Pass from Kaza. You can go as far as the road allowed and then return but Chandratal will surely be off-limit.
Chandratal in May and June
BRO starts clearing the road in March and it is usually by Mid May that they are able to finish the operation. After that, a couple of weeks are spent assessing the road in terms of safety. This is the time when only locals are allowed to travel. After all, is deemed well, the road is declared open officially by Mid to Late May.
Chandratal however opens only in the first week of June. The campsite owners reach the lake after the road is opened and start to set up the camps which take another couple of weeks. At this time, you can surely drive to Chandratal but finding a place to stay may become tricky. In case there was no campsite open, you will have to come back to either Losar or Batal and stay there for the night.
This is a good time to go because there will be still plenty of snow for you to enjoy and the condition of Gramphu Batal road will not be that terrible either. The exact opening of the road however will depend on how fast BRO is able to clear the road and the amount of snow that year.
This is also when the weather is at its best with moderately warm days and cold nights. Overall, it is a good time to go.
Chandratal in July to September
Monsoon is not a good time to plan a visit to this area. Monsoon can wreak havoc here in July and August. Landslides caused by incessant rains and deaths caused by it are a sight not too uncommon in the hills. All the rains will also increase the flow of the water in the nallahs en route and will make the trip more risky and adventurous.
Late June is when the monsoon arrives in the region and is in full swing by July and August. By the end of August, the intensity and frequency of the rains start to drop. If possible, avoid a trip altogether at this time but if you must, then plan either in early July or late August.
September is one of my favorite times to visit the Himalayas. Monsoon will be long gone but would have left plenty of greenery for you to enjoy. If you went after September 15th, there will be almost no chance of rain and the vistas on the way will be simply amazing.
The only catch however is that the weather in September will be considerably colder than the previous months.
Chandratal in October to December
October 15th is usually the official closing date of Chandratal but it can close before that as well. If you have to go in October, then the safest time is only in the first week of the month. Keep in mind though that the chance of snowfall at this time is extremely high. In 2018, tourists got stuck at Chandratal at Batal for 3-4 days and had to be saved by the Army. The picture below was taken on October 10th.
By the end of October, the road gets buried under snow once again and Chandratal becomes inaccessible. You can plan to trek in early November if the weather was favorable but a trip after November 15th in any form will be a dangerous affair.
By the end of December, the entire Spiti Valley starts to receive heavy amounts of snow. This is the time when even the road between Kaza to Losar can get closed. The temperatures dip down to freezing -25 degrees Celsius.
Chandratal is at a height of 4,300 meters; which means that you may suffer altitude sickness while spending a night here. If you start to feel any symptoms of acute mountain sickness while at Rohtang Pass; Kunzum Pass, on the way to Chandratal; it is best to avoid staying at the lake altogether. Continue straight to Kaza before it gets dark, stay there for a day at least, and then come back to Chandratal. This will allow your body some time to acclimatize and will reduce the chances of AMS.
If you still suffer the symptoms; cancel your plans of camping at the lake. Refer to Acute Mountain Sickness in Spiti Valley for more details on Altitude sickness in Spiti and how to deal with it.
Chandratal is at an elevation of 4,250 m (13,940 ft) approximately. During the winter season, the water of the lake freezes completely owing to its high altitude.
Spiti valley is notorious for its bad roads. So when you plan a trip here, you already know that you are going to encounter some of the worst roads that you had ever been on. If you were coming from Shimla, then until Kaza, the road will be a mix of good and average. The tricky part of the journey however is between Manali and Kaza including Chandratal.
If you were traveling from Manali, then until Rohtang top, the road is mostly good and a little bad at some places. From Rohtang Top to Gramphu is mostly good. From Gramphu to Batal is a narrow dirt trail with numerous water streams, steep climbs, mud, slush, and loose boulders on the road itself.
Batal to Kunzum Top is a narrow dirt trail with steep climbs and hairpin bends. The 14 kilometers long stretch to Chandratal is an extremely narrow dirt road that is barely wide enough for one car. Let me post a picture to give you an idea.
The road between Losar and Kunzum Pass is again a dirt road with steep climbs and hairpin bends. Between Kaza and Losar is a broken road that was once tarred but not anymore. Take a look at Spiti Valley Road Conditions to see a few more pictures to get an idea.
Best Car for Chandratal
An SUV is what you need for visiting Chandratal. It does not have to be a 4×4 but good ground clearance is a must. You cannot make the mistake of bringing a sedan or SUV here without risking serious damage to your car’s underbelly. For more details, please read Which is the Best Car for Spiti Valley.
Best Bike for Chandratal
If you were traveling by bike, then any bike will do as long as it is well maintained and serviced. The only condition is that if you were coming by a smaller engine bike like 100 to 150 CC, it would be best to ride solo and as light as possible. If you were riding with a pillion, then you need a larger engine bike like Enfield 350 or 500 CC. If you do not own such a bike, then you can reach Manali and rent one from there.
Chandratal Lake Itinerary
Below are examples of a couple of itineraries that can be followed for visiting Chandratal. I will suggest an itinerary from both Manali and Shimla. For the sake of the itinerary below, I will assume Delhi as your starting point. Even if you were coming from a different place, only the journey on the first and the last day will be different. The rest of the details will still apply.
- Delhi to Manali – Day 1
- Manali to Batal / Chandratal – Day 2
- Batal to Chandratal – Day 3
- Chandratal to Manali – Day 4
- Manali to Delhi – Day 5
Below is the itinerary that you can follow if you were coming from Shimla, covering the entire Spiti Circuit.
- Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
- Shimla / Narkanda to Sarahan – Day 2
- Sarahan to Chitkul – Day 3
- Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 4
- Kalpa to Nako – Day 5
- Nako to Pin Valley – Day 6
- Pin Valley to Kaza – Day 7
- Kaza – Day 8
- Kaza to Chandratal – Day 9
- Chandratal to Manali – Day 10
- Manali to Delhi – Day 11
Clothes to Pack
Irrespective of your time of travel, you will have to pack warm clothes, thermals, and a heavy windproof jacket. The trick while packing clothes for anywhere in Spiti is to pack in layers; meaning clothes that can be worn on top of one another. This way, you can just add another layer if you were feeling cold or remove a layer if you were feeling warm.
Do not carry all heavy woolens though. Pack a pair of thermals, regular cotton clothes, some light woolens, a heavy jacket, and gloves. Please ensure that your jacket has a hood to protect your head, neck, and face. If not, you should pack a scarf or muffler as well. For more details, please take a look at Clothes for Spiti Valley Trip – What to Pack.
Mobile Network at Chandratal
There is no network available at Chandratal. From Manali, you will remain connected until Rohtang but will lose the network shortly after. There is no reception on Batal Gramphu road, Kunzum Pass, Chandratal, or Losar. In Kaza as well, only BSNL and Airtel will work. Jio is setting up their tower in Kaza so they will also provide service shortly after. But there is no reception anywhere in Spiti for Vodafone or Idea.
For more details, please take a look at Mobile and Data Connectivity in Spiti Valley.
Petrol Pump & Mechanic: The nearest petrol pump is in Kaza and Manali. A tankful at either of these places will be sufficient to reach the next gas station while covering Chandratal on the way.
Banks and ATM: The nearest ATM is either in Manali or Kaza.
Medical Help: Manali and Kaza are where you can get some medical assistance if needed. There is a dispensary in Losar to buy some basic medicines. I will strongly recommend carrying your own first aid kit and some medicines like for flu, fever, headache, pain, etc.
I hope this information on how to plan a trip to Chandratal Lake was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.
I am planning to visit Chandratal on 10th October from Kaza since I’ll start touring Spiti valley from Shimla. My question is 1) Would I be able to visit Chandratal on a day trip and reach Manali same day via Rohtang pass if I start early from Kaza? 2) What other stay option I have other than Chandratal Camps if not possible to reach Manali same day? 3) For Chandratal camps will it be available during that time and need to book in advance?
Hey . . . .. . greatt article. . . really helpful. . ..
I’m planning a trip from Chandigarh to shimla to lahaul and spiti valley to manali and back by car from 21st aptil to 30th april. . .. i wanted to know if the road will be open form both sides or not. .. .. .. .
Google have confused me alot about the status of roads form both sides especially manali side. I hope you could help me so i could plan accordingly. . .
Shimla to Leh route is definitely open. There is still some snow at Kunzum Pass but the locals are traveling. By the end of April, the situation will improve there as well. The only point to consider right now is the COVID situation. Spiti is accepting tourists right now but you will have to come with a COVID negative test or may not find a place to stay.
Ohh great. . . thanks for the help. . . . . . Being a health worker i have already been vaccinated with covid vaccine. . . But I’ll get the test done just to be on safe side. . . . . .. . thats for the help though. . . .
You are welcome !!! I will strongly recommend calling hotels in advance along the route and booking your stay.
First of all…Kudos to you for the directory on Spiti. It is really helpful.
I need to know if it is possible to do Kaza – Chandrataal – Kaza within 1 day? If yes, then what kind of timelines can one expect for this round trip? I am planning a trip around 3rd week of June and am staying in Kaza for 3 nights so was wondering if doing a round trip to Chandrataal from Kaza is a possibility.
I am planning to travel with my family from Gujrat to Chandratal. Please help me with the following :
1. I want to book Volvo bus from Manali to Chandratal, who is the best travel agent ?
2. I want to book 3 double delux rooms with AC with Chandratal lake facing view, it should be not more that 50 metres from the lake for good view.
3. Do you have any entertainment for kids on the side of the lakeshore of Chandratal like pani puri & chaat sellers, kids entertainment like magic show etc. ?
4. Please give me the contact details of hotel & travel agent office in Chandratal. Also what are the good pure veg restaurants in Chandratal
Are you Mad ? AC room at Chandratal
Sir —- spiti , chandrataal is not for family trips…. Forget ac or volvo buses…. There is almost no road and mostly off roading
Hey Vargis, what about distance if i’m travelling through Atal tunnel. Like how much time it will reduce to C lake and thereafter Kaza.
Hi! We are a group of 4 ladies 54-64; ages, wanting to visit and spend the night in chandratal.
We start our trip from Chandigarh/ Shimla and get to chandratal via kaza on the 8 th day .
Is it wise , considering our age ?
Do I also need the Rohtang permit if I am travelling by HRTC buses?
No, you don’t. No permit needed if traveling by Bus
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Thanks Varghis. Is it possible to travel to Chandratal in May 1st week from Kaza? I know roads are closed from Manali side. Can we go from Shimla until chandratal and come back on the same route in May 1st week?
It depends on the amount of snow on the road but chances are very less. Even if you are able to, you will have to go on foot.
well explained, Great knowledge about the destination & A great writer too.
Thank You !!!
[…] the Kullu and Lahaul valleys. Our 2018 trip would take us through both these passes and also the Chandra Taal Lake, which lies en route at a detour of just 10 […]
[…] How to Plan a Trip to Chandratal Lake […]
If we leave early morning from Manali is it possible to visit chandertal lake spend some time there and then reach Kaza by evening?
You will just touch the lake and come back but yes, it is doable.
Hi Vargis, me and my friends are planning to visit Chandrataal via Shimla – Kalpa – Kaza route in the end of this month ie. August (25-31). Can you let me know if it is safe for us to go at this time and from what point does the trek for Chandrataal begin?
Hi Priyankul – Yes it will be OK to go at that time. Trek for Chandratal starts from Batal and Losar.
Hi Mr Vargis Khan,
Your blogs and picture of Spiti encouraged me to plan a trip to Chandrataal all by myself. However, beling a novice just want to confirm a few things.
Could you please review my itinerary and confirm if its ok?
No Date Day Moon Status Dept. Arrival Hr km Stay
1 7-Sep Saturday first quarter Home Chail 9 373 Chail Palace
2 8-Sep Sunday Chail Sarahan 5.3 178 Srikhand
3 9-Sep Monday Sarahan Chitkul 4.1 110 TBD
4 10-Sep Tuesday Chitkul Kalpa 3 71 Kinner Kailash
5 11-Sep Wednesday Kalpa Nako 3.3 110 Tara homestay
6 12-Sep Thursday Nako Kaza 2 111 Deyzor
7 13-Sep Friday Kaza Langza 1 16 TBD
8 14-Sep Saturday Full Moon Langza chndrtal 2.3 102 Parasol
9 15-Sep Sunday chndrtal Kullu 4 163 TBD
10 16-Sep Monday Kullu Home 8 400
Also, from the blog, I understood we don’t need Rohtang pass permit if entering from Shimla/ Keylong route. Is my understanding correct?
Just wanted to confirm if 2nd week of Sep is ok to travel or is there a possibility of snow and roads being closed (especially chandrataal). Should we move it to 1st week of September?
How accurate is the duration mentioned by google maps. As per my understanding the average speed in mountains would be 25kmph. Whereas the time taken mentioned for Langza to chandrataal is just 2 and half hours. Do you think that is an accurate estimation?
I know it’s a long mail but your support is highly appreciated.
1. Your itinerary is OK
2. Yes Rohtang Permit is not needed for Kaza to Kullu
3. September is a good time to go
4. Do not rely on what Google shows for anywhere in the hills. Langza to Chandratal is about 5 hours easily.
Thanks for your prompt reply. Is it possible to share duration (time taken) from each point?
Mr Khan, I am going on a 10 days tour to Lahaul-Spiti from 19.09. My plan on 25.09 is to travel from Kaza to Keylong, starting at 5 AM and covering Chandratal on the way for a 1.30 hrs detour. What is the prospect ?
I mean road condition, chance of snowfall, time taken, Kunzum crossing etc.
Hello Vargis. Again i need some help from you..i am visiting Manali on 27/may morning with my family…can you pls plan a tour including Keylong Chandrataal and Kaza for me. Should be back by 2/ june to Delhi..Thanks in advance
Thanks for the detailed descriptions.
We are planning a Kinnaur-Spiti-Chandratal circuit starting from Chandigarh (24 Aug) and ending at Kullu (2 Sept). I am told by some drivers that Camping at Chandratal have been banned by NGT and we have to stay at Kaza only.
Can you please update.
Hi, i m planning a road trip from shimla -spiti- chanratal- manali. with my 8 year daughter and husband. Is is safe to treavel with kid on this route ? Are there enough petrol pumps on the route ?
Is it possible to make a plan to manali – chandratal – and back to manali? What cities will come on this route where we can take a night stay?
1. Safe to travel – Yes but it depends on your driving skills as well
2. Petrol Pumps – No
3. On same day, no. With a night stay at Chandratal, Yes
4. Between Manali – Chandratal, None
We like to go Chandratal lake via Shimla and Spiti valley, in the mid of october 2019.
Is it possible to visit in that time?
Chandratal closes between 10 – 15 October so plan before that
Hi vargis,I am stuck in narkanda due to bad weather(24 Sept 2018)…I had planned to go chandrataal…many local from theog narkanda saying that it risk to go ahead and chandrataal kaza is closed
What should I do?should I wait for opening of the weather or go back to home delhi
Hi Dhawal, you mean the route from Kunzum to Kaza is closed or even Chandrataal is close? I’m planning to go in 3 days but I hear the weather is very bad. How is it there ?
It is snowing there and yes, Kaza to Chandratal is closed as of now. May reopen in next couple of days though.
Thank you, Vargis. What about Manali Batal Chandratal? Do you have any news on that route? I’m planning to take this route on 28-29 by bus) shared cab.
That is close as well Neel. Bus service is suspended.
Hi Vargis! Your blogs are well detailed. Thank you for the good work! I used it last year to plan my Ladakh trip. I’m planning a trip to Chandratal this September. Itinery- Sep 28 – Manali to Batal by bus. SEP 29 – Hike/shared cab/ hitchhike to Chandratal, and stay the night there. SEP 30- Chandratal to Batal and Batal to Manali the same day.
I have a few questions.
Will I get accomodation at Chandratal on that day, given that it’s end of September.
Further, how easy is it to find shared cabs/ hitchhike from Batal and back.?
Thank you in advance.
Hi Neel – Yes you will get accommodation but hitch hiking may not be easy since it is end of season and not many people will be traveling.
Hii….i am planning a trip in octobe 15 for chandrataal ….is there any possiblity to stay there in camps and can we go there with bike or cars…if yes…then plz tell me about the fare..we have group of 4 people. How much cost for booking car for 4 people.
It depends on weather and how soon it starts to snow. Check with Jamaica at 9418200183. He runs a camp site at Chandratal and can also arrange cab
We are a group of 10 going for spiti in a stringent timeline; so needed some advice. Here’s my itinerary
30th Aug night from Delhi to reach manali around 7 AM.
31st Aug – manali – Chandrataal (leave around 8 AM and reach around 3) in 2 SUVs
Where do we stop at? Do we need to trek? whats the distance to be trekked? hows the trek category -easy?moderate? how much time the trek will take ideally?
1st Sept – wake up at chandrataal camps, see the sunrise, freshen up and head towards Gue as early as 7, then start covering backwards – Tabo – dhankar and reach KAZA
2nd sept – Cover KAZA and other places (in Bike) like – langza, hikkim, koumic, kibber, and any other noteworthy places?
3rd sept – Return from KAZA to Manali. reach by evening and catch the night bus for delhi.
the trip is a bit stringent and hectic. There are chances of AMS for which we shall be having proper medications to counter.
Just wanted to know, if its doable in the time-frame, hypothetically.
please let me know.
Hi Navneet – The trip is yes definitely hectic but doable. If you are bringing your own SUVs then you don’t have to trek to Chandratal. You can drive all the way to the camp sites. Another important factor are the Rohtang Permits. You cannot cross Rohtang Pass without first getting the permits from Manali.
Thanx Vargis, that definitely cleared my second thoughts and few doubts.
i would like to ask, is there any place that we will be leaving out which is worth going, in this trip??
we would be covering – gue – tabo – dhankar – kaza – langza, hikkim, koumic, kibber – losar – kunzum – chandrataal. even if we are on a stringent timeline, is there anything that we shall be missing out on??
Is the timeframe a suitable time to go? what about rains?
No you pretty much have it all covered. I wouldn’t recommend adding more places since you are short on time. And yes, it is raining over there. Manali Kaza road was closed last week for a couple of days due to heavy rains and landslides.
Thank you.. Will take precautionary measures wherever needed..
Hi Vargis Ji, Just wanted to check how the itinerary works better from Jispa coming through Leh to Spiti with three days on 2 night stay – Option one Jispa to chandratal camp (Jamaica) night stay then to Kaza (Langza-Komik-Hikkim-Kibber) OR JISPA to KAZA (Night Stay) & Second night at Chandratal from Kaza.
We have to proceed further to Manali on Day 3
Please guide on time taken distance from Jispa Road conditions which option is better as per above mentioned ??
Thanks in Advance
Hello Sumit Ji – Jispa to Chandratal on Day 1, Chandratal to Kaza on Day 2 and Kaza to Manali on Day 3 will be better. Road conditions on this route are always bad so keep your hopes low in that aspect.
Hi Vargis, is there option to hire private cab to chandratal lake(Keeping in mind to book permit also) with 1 night stay (taking Jamaica accomodation ref) and back using the same taxi, or is the bus the only option
Hi Jack – Yes private cabs are available from both Manali and Kaza for Chandratal. A cab from Manali however will be a costly affair. Just for Rohtang these guys charge about Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000.
Hello Varghis Khan.
really informative post. Doing a road trip next week and covering the spiti circuit from shimla to manali via kaza.
can S Cross cover the batal gramphoo and chandertal lake section?
Hi Sitanshu – Yes it can go but the low GC can be a bit of a problem at a few places. Just go carefully and slow and you should be OK. I have seen locals traveling there in Maurti Alto so it is all about being good at the wheel really.
hello sir ,
we are going to chandaratal lake from manali,
which permit should we apply for,
up to Rohtang pass or beyond Rohtang pass ?
actually i obtained pass beyond rohtang pass up to Kaza will it valid to visit chandaratal lake ?
pls help me to understand this confusion .
You need to get beyond Rohtang permit. It will work well for both Kaza and Chandratal
thank you sir,
i also have another query , i also have come to know that manali to kaza road is closed. is it true ?
You are welcome Bhai. And no, the road is open right now. You are OK to go.
thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much bhai..
You are welcome brother !!!
Me and some of my friends are planning a trip to Chandratal on 1st July. Since we are 10 in numbers, we have planned to hire a 7-seater and 2 bikes for the same.
We will reach Manali from Delhi on 1st July and will leave for Chandratal on 2nd July and have planned to camp their overnight and return the next day.
Just want to confirm if this is the correct plan. Your suggestions would be very useful.
Hi Vaibhav – Yes your plan is fine. You can definitely do it.
Thank you Vargis, though I have one more query. We need to hire camps for 14 people in Chandratal for overnight stay. Please recommend someone whom we can contact for pre-booking. I read somewhere in your blog where you mentioned about a person who has his camp sites at Chandratal.
It will be very helpful if you share the contact with us.
Hi Vaibhav – Contact person is Jamaica and his number is 9418200183. Give my reference and he will take good care of you at a discounted price. Since you are 14 people, better to let him know in advance of your arrival so that he can make arrangements accordingly. While you are at Chandratal, say Hello to Jamaica for me 🙂
Finally we made it to Chandratal. I would like to thankyou for all the information and guidance you provided. Sincere Thanks to you.
The scenic beauty is beyond imagination.
We did took a stop at Chachi Chachi Chandra Dhabha. The food was delicious.
I though wanted to meet Mr. Sanjeev but he wasnt there but I did met two of his men who provided us great hospitality and delicious food and specially tea.
Thanks again Vargis for this wonderful trip.
Thanks Vaibhav Bhai. I am glad that your trip went well. Do share some pics if possible 🙂
I m planning a trip to spiti via chandrataal. Will travel from Manali to chandrataal on 18th June and after spending night at chandrataal, will go to kaza from there, I wanted to ask you what can I do to avoid AMS since I m travelling from Manali to chandrataal. Thanking you in advance
Please take a look at this article.
Thank you Sir ☺
You are welcome !!!
15- indore to CGH, then CGH to narkanda
16 narkanda to Nako
17 Nako sightseeing then go to kaza (Nako is b’ful)
18. Kaza sightseeing
19 dhankar valley n pin valley
20 kaza to chandrataal
21 chandratal to manali
22 stay at Manali
23 Manali to CGH and same day CGH to indore
(where CGH stands for Chandigarh)
Sir how is this iteneary?
Sorry for troubling you so much sir!
How are you traveling? By you own car?
Better plan like this.
15- indore to CGH, then CGH to narkanda
16 narkanda to Kalpa
17 Kalpa to Nako
18. Nako to Pin Valley
19 Pin Valley to Kaza
20 kaza to chandrataal
21 chandratal to manali
22 stay at Manali
23 Manali to CGH and same day CGH to indore
Hi Vargis..thanks for sharing the detailed information…we are planning a trip to delhi-kalpa-tabo-kaza-delhi with family(including a 3 yr. old kid) by swift dzire from 15-23 june…can u please suggest if it is safe to travel to kunzum pass and chandrataal from kaza with 3 yr. old kid and would u recommend a stay at chandrataal
hey vargis, i am planning a trip to kaza via shimla from delhi on 16th May. then from kaza to chandratal lake and then to manali. we will reach kaza by 18th night. we will do sight seeing in kaza for 2 days then on 21st morning will leave for chandratal lake and want to stay there overnight.
after that on 22nd will leave for manali through rohtang pass
Neither of the areas you mentioned are open right now Mayank and most probably will not be until late May. Chances are that only Rohtang will open by 22nd, not the Kaza route and Chandratal.
Thanks Vargis for the detailed info. It was very helpful to plan my trip!!….I am going to visit Spiti in June 2nd week from Manali and want to cover Kaza/Dhankar, Pin Valley and Chandratal. Chandratal being the last destination from where I will be headed to Manali(do we have to pre book at the Jamaica’s camp site as it being the peak season)..Can you guide me on how to travel back to Manali from Chandratal regarding the bus timing ‘n’ all? Also wanted to know what are the chances getting a confirmed seat in the bus from Manali..
1. No need to prebook. Just give him a call and let him know the date of your arrival.
2. You will have to walk back from the lake to Batal top and catch the Kaza Manali bus that you would have taken to get here the day before.
3. No guarantee but you will mostly get a seat. They are not that crowded.
Hi – I am plannig to visit Manali from Kaza on 27th May.. Can I do Chandratal on the way ? How long will the trip be ?
Also – I hope the road manali be open by then ..
Please let me know your feedback
From Kunzum top to Chandratal and back will talk easily take you 3 hours and yes, the road will be open by May end.
Bhai, im going to Manali on 2 June and in 3 June can go chandrataal lake on 3 June? It’s open or close ? How to go moon Lake? Which place to reach first batal or kunzum pass ? There r avaliable for shared taxi for going moon Lake or should go bt walk? It’s diffuclt walk?
Can stay at moon Lake in night time what’s costs?
Next day what time to return batal from moon Lake ? And batal to moon Lake?
I means next day what time to reach batal from moon Lake and batal to Manali bus?
Gaurav Bhai it is a bit early to say whether or not Chandratal and the road will be open by 3rd June. It usually opens after 10th Juen.
Gaurav Bhai it is too earyly to tell right now whether or not the road from Manali to Kaza and Chandratal will open by 3rd June or not. It usually opens after 10th June.
Is it fine if i travel there in the month of May, i will be travelling from manali and will i be able to hitchhike after the bus ride, will there be enough travellers in the month of may?
Also How shall i make my way back to manali? Stay a night at batal or hitchhike the same evening?
I will recommend planning in June. The road will open towards late May and the camp sites are operational only after June 1st week. For your way back, start early morning from Chandratal, hitchhike to Kunzum top or Batal and board the Kaza – Manali daily bus to reach Manali on same day.
I planning to go chandratal via Manali from Delhi. I am a solo traveller. Is there if any problem for camp for solo female traveller?
No there is no problem. You will find a lot of families there.
Me and my friends are planing for trip to kaza from manali by public bus on Oct 16.
Will bus service stop by that time.?
Can you please give me a good plan to make it happen without any difficulties.
Sorry for the late reply. I guess you are already on your way now.
Hey there! I was planning a trip to chandratal around 20 October. Will it be safe(winter/snow/cold) to visit at that time?
Will there be any camps to stay at night? Even Chadar tents from the lake?
How far is Chadar tent from lake?
Chadar tent is at Batal, about 30 odd kilometers from the lake
Hi Harshit – Chandratal has closed for the season, no camps there to stay anymore.
I’m planning to start a Shimla-Tabo-Kaza-Chandratal-Rohtang-Manali round trip in this week (Bike Ride). Can you please let me know where should i look for getting Rohtang permit. Please let me know if i need to bother about any other permits/documents to travel in this route. And thanks a lot for this wonderful review. You are awesome.
Hello – No permit is needed since you are starting from Shimla. Even Rohtang permit is required if you start from Manali which in your case is not the situation.
we are a group of 4 guys on bike and are planning to visit chandartaal on 29 sep 17.. just want to make sure that are there any chances of snowing ?? and getting struck there ..or we shouldn’t worry about that …. reading blog posts i think usually it never snows before 10 oct.. so we should go without worrying about getting struck ??
and is there any working petrol pump between manali and chandartaal ?? as it might be difficult to go from manali to chandartaal and back to manali on a single full tank on 500cc bullet
No you are OK traveling at the mentioned dates. Camps at Chandratal will remain open until 10th October. Very rare chance of snowing that early. You should be able to make it back to Manali on 1 tank full, but just to be on a safer side, carry two or three 2 liters Pepsi Bottles. Get those filled up as well when you tank up in Manali. Carry them in a backpack carefully and after every 50-60 kilometers or so, keep emptying one bottle in the tank so that you do not have to carry the weight. There is no petrol pump between Manali and Chandratal, next one is only at Kaza.
Thanku very much for the timely response
You are welcome !!!
Thanks for detailed info.
Day 1. Reach Manali after overnight journey from Manali. Start your journey to Chandratal Lake same day
Day 2. Explore Chandratal Lake.
Day 3. Chandratal Lake to Sissu. Explore waterfall. Finally drive to Manali.
Day 4. Manali to Delhi Volvo.
Please comment if this is good.
Any other itinerary you would suggest. I want to cover Sissu and Chandratal Lake and have 4 days.
Hi Rachit – How are you traveling?
Hello Vargis vai,
I am going to Kaza & Chandrataal after 2-3 days! Right now i am leaving for Manali from Delhi. Can you please help me out with Jamaica’s contact no? And also recommend me some hotels for Kaza!
Thank you in Advance! 🙂
Hello Pritam Bhai – Jamaica’s number is 09418200183. There is no network at Chandratal so it is possible that you won’t be able to reach him. Just reach Chandratal and look out for Jamaica’s camp. You will easily spot it while on your way to Chandratal. Reach there, give my reference and he will take good care of you at a discounted price.
I called up Jamaica and gave him your reference. He spoke only good words about you. You seem to have a great fan following there.
I will be travelling to Chandratal Lake on 29-Sep. I have one confusion. I was looking to apply for online permits on the foll website:
IN case of visiting Chandratal, it will be the “Beyond Rohtang” one. Right? But this one does NOT have any permit fee. It only has Congestion charge of Rs 50. In addition, I will also take the Green Tax i.e. Rs 300.
So the total becomes Rs 350 for one diesel vehicle? Is that correct ? Am I missing something?
Hello Dev – That is correct. There is no permit fee anymore if you travel beyond Rohtang.
Some of my friends and I are planning to go to Manali end of Decembar. Is it possible to start early from Manali and cover Rohtang pass, Chandratal both and return Manali same day?
You cannot do it in December. Chandratal, Kunzum Pass will close in October and Rohtang sometime by late October or early November.
Right, not possible in winter. Maybe not even after the Rohtang tunnel is completed.
thanks for sharing …chandratal is a real gem
Thanks Nilanjana, I agree, a real gem it is indeed
Very helpful. Thanks.
Thank you for taking the time to drop a note Narinder. I am glad the information was of help.
Very well explained ! I just completed the chandratal trip and i have done it twice already and seriously this is all the info thats needed!
Another addition: one can stay at “nomad’s cottage” , losar which is 2.5 hrs drive from batal. Very nice place and can be booked online.
Thanks Sahil Bhai