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10 Fun facts about Chandratal, Spiti Valley

For anyone who plans a visit to the mystic valleys of Lahaul and Spiti, a night stay at the beautiful Chandratal is always part of the itinerary. It is a beautiful lake indeed, about a kilometre long and half a kilometre wide but there are several things about this lake that not many people are aware of.

  • Chandratal or also Chandra Taal, literally meaning lake of the moon, is believed to be named so due to its crescent shape. Its water source, however, is not the only mystifying fact about this lake, there is also a beautiful tale of two lovers who decided to meet at the Baralacha Pass and merged into each other to remain one forever.
  • Best time to visit Chandratal lake is around September. This is because, during the months of June and July, the roads may be closed due to snow.
  • Chandratal lake is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau, which overlooks the Chandra River. The name of the lake originates from its crescent shape. It is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalayas. The mountains overlook the lake on one side, and a cirque encloses it on the other.
  • Chandra Taal is a destination for trekkers and campers. The lake is accessible on foot from Batal as well as from Kunzum Pass from late May to early October. There is also a motor road accessible as far as a parking lot two kilometres from the lake. The route from Kunzum Pass is accessible only on foot, and it is about 8 km from Chandra Taal. The lake is also accessible from Suraj Taal, 30 km away.
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  • Accommodation is available about five kilometres from the lake. Vast meadows on the banks of the lake are used as camping sites. During springtime, these meadows are carpeted with hundreds of varieties of wildflowers.
  • Chandratal is the origin point and source of the River Chandra, which is one of the tributaries of River Chenab. The Chandra River flows for an extensive distance along the road from Batal to Gramphoo and then the Manali-Leh highway in southeastern direction before turning completely and taking a southwestern course after merging with the Bhaga River at Tandi. Bhaga on the other hand originates from Suraj Taal, another small lake located at the top of the Baralacha La Pass. Suraj Taal is the third-highest lakes in India and the 21st highest in the world. The water outlet from Suraj Taal forms the Bhaga River. Together these two small rivers, Chandra and Bhaga, form the major Chandrabhaga River which later merges with River Chenab.
Hiking to Chandartal lake
  • Chandra River originates from a glacier on the south-eastern side of the Baralacha La Pass. These small streams of water flow down in the direction of Kunzum pass and form Chandratal in a broad slush plain amidst the peaks of the Kunzum range. An interesting thing about this lake is that there is absolutely no visible source of water to this lake. But there is a visible outlet which means that water to this lake comes from underground which is highly unusual. Its source is the glacier at Baralacha Pass but how the water travels from the glacier to the lake is a mystery in itself.
  • Chandratal is believed to be named after Chandra and Suraj Taal after Bhaga, him being the son of sun god. The legend of Chandra Taal, the beautiful lake, tiny in size but giant in beauty is a good story to hear.
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  • According to legend, this lake is the location from where god Indra’s chariot picked up Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers. As a result, this lake is a revered one and draws a large number of devotees
  • From June to September, a large number of tourists visit the lake. This is also the time when shepherds from Kangra, Mandi and Kullu can be seen with their herd of sheep at Chandra pastures.

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