Chandratal lake or Tso Chigma is probably the most famous lake of Himachal. Surrounded by CB range peaks the ethereal beauty of Chandratal lake is just celestial. But owing to its remote location a lot of first time travelers might have the question “How to reach Chandratal Lake”
So this blog is going to be all about, how to reach Chandratal lake. There are a couple of ways you can reach Chandratal and I am going to be discussing about both of them in detail.
How To Reach Chandratal Lake – All The Details You Need As A First Time Traveler
So first things first, Chandratal is one of the most beautiful lakes located in Lahaul valley and not Spiti as many people claim. Now there are two ways you can reach Chandratal.
The first one is via Kinnaur and the second one of via Lahaul. The route from Lahaul is the shortest in terms of time taken to reach it.
But most of the people prefer making a Spiti circuit trip and visit Chandratal only when the are about to exit Spiti via Kaza-Manali route. And just so you know Chandratal is open from June to October.
How To Reach Chandratal Lake from Shimla (Reaching Chandratal via Kinnaur)
So, usually people who opt for this route are the ones who are looking to make circuit trip to Spiti. They enter via Kinnaur and Shimla explore the places in Kinnaur and Spiti and then exit via Lahaul and Manali.
Here is a detailed blog about best routes for Spiti as a first time traveler in case you are planning to make a trip to Spiti.
If you just want to make a short trip to Chandratal lake then this route might not be the best for you. You are better of making a quick trip tp the lake via Lahaul and Manali. But AMS wise this route is safer as you’ll be well acclimatized by the time you’ll be reaching the lake.
- Reaching Reckong Peo from Shimla
- Reaching Reckong Peo from Kaza
- Getting to Batal via Kunzum La from Kaza
- Finally making it to Chandratal
And just to clear a few things, A lot of people take at least 7-8 days exploring the places in Kinnaur and Spiti and then finally make it to Chandratal at the very end of their trip when they are about to exit Spiti via Kuznum La and Lahaul.
Reaching Reckong Peo from Shimla
So most of folks might take at least a stop before reaching Reckong Peo. But I am just going to run you through the route from Shimla to Reckong peo. You can choose to stay wherever you want. Or you can directly reach Reckong Peo if you are thinking of traveling by public buses.
So you need to first Reach Shimla which you can easily reach from Chandigarh or Delhi. After reaching Shimla you will pass the tourist resorts of Kufri, Narkanda before reaching Rampur Bushahr which was back in the day, capital of Bushahri Kingdom.
From Narkanda you’ll enter the tribal district of Kinnaur by crossing over from Shimla district via Jeori and Karcham. You don’t you have to actually go even to Reckong peo.
You can just bypass and move on Nh5 towards Pooh, but Reckong peo is the major landmark and the last petrol pump before reaching Kaza. Shimla to Recking Peo is 224 km.
Getting to Kaza
So as far the route is concerned from Kaza you head towards Nako via Pooh in Upper Kinnaur. Nako is one of the famous stopovers on Spiti circuit route. From Nako you reach Kaza via Sumdo (Sumdo is where Spiti starts) and Tabo.
By the if you are visiting Spiti for the first time, check out my blog 27 practical travel tips for Spiti valley.
The total distance from Kaza to Reckong peo is around 198 km. But as I said earlier a lot of people might make several stops before reaching Kaza.
Reaching Batal from Kaza via Kunzum La
From Kaza, you need to head to Batal via Kunzum La. Kunzum La located at a dizzying altitude of 15,000 ft is the actual boundary of Lahaul and Spiti. So once you cross Kunzum La and head towards Batal is when you enter Lahaul valley.
The distance between Kaza and Batal is around 88 km. Batal is the place from where the road to Chandratal diverts
Getting to Chandratal from Batal
From Batal, one road goes towards Gramphu and then finally, the other one goes to chandratal. Chandratal is around 17 km from Batal. Batal is one of the 31 beautiful places to visit near Spiti. Feel free to check it out.
If you try locating Chandratal on google maps it wont show you a way. But there is a board which points to the direction towards the lake.
You’ll know that you are close Chandratal when you’ll spot a lot of camps. From the there, the lake is further 2 km ahead until where you can take your vehicles. From there you need to hike around 15-20 minutes to reach the Tso Chigma or Chandratal.
How To Reach Chandratal Lake From Manali (Reaching Chandratal via Lahaul)
If are you one those who is just looking to visit Chandratal in a quick way without spending too much time reaching there, then this route is the best for you.
Usually it takes around 10 hours to reach Chandratal from Manali before Atal Tunnel was functional, but now with the Atal tunnel in place it you might be able to save at least an hour and a half.
But the chances of AMS are quite high if you decided to spend a night directly at Chandratal. The gain of around 9000 ft can be quite drastic if you consider the altitude of Manali and Chandratal.
Here is the route that you would need to follow if you were trying to get to Chandratal from Manali via Lahaul valley.
- Reaching Gramphoo from Manali
- Getting to Chatru from Gramphoo
- Reaching Batal from Chatru
- Getting to Chandratal from Batal
Reaching Gramphoo from Manali
Now before the Atal tunnel opened up, it would have taken you around 2.5 to 3 hours to reach Gramphoo from Manali via Rohtang La. This was the best case scenario and was simply not possible during the peak season of June.
Getting to Chatru from Gramphoo
From Gramphoo basically you’ll be driving on a dirt track. The road from Gramphoo till mostly Chandratal is in extremely bad shape. So you have to be extremely careful while driving.
Even though the road is bad, it is just celestial. If you are lucky enough and the weather is clear, then you’ll be able to witness some insane views of snow-clad peaks that will be etched in your memory.
I was not so fortunate enough as the weather was overcast throughout the journey. Gramphoo to Chatru is around 34 km.
Reaching Batal from Chatru
The road from Chatru to Batal is extremely. But the insane views of high mountains will really leave you astonished.
The road from Chatru to Kunzum is in complete shambles with infinite water crossings and big stones on the dirt track. It was somewhere between Batal and Chatru that we were stuck for 3 hours as a truck was stuck due to a big stone.
The distance between Chatru and Batal is around 26 km.
Finally making it to Chandratal from Batal
Now once you reach Batal, you need to take a diversion towards Chandratal. If you try to find a way to Chandratal in google maps, it won’t show the way, but you should be able to see the board which point towards Chandratal.
You’ll know that you are close Chandratal when you’ll spot a lot of camps. From there, the lake is further 2 km ahead until where you can take your vehicles.
From there you need to hike around 15-20 minutes to reach the Tso Chigma or Chandratal.
To conclude now you a fair idea about “How To Reach Chandratal lake” . If you want to make a quick trip to Chandratal you should probably head via Manali and Lahaul. And the Shimla route is apt for those who are making a circuit trip to Spiti.
If you have any queries on how to reach Chandratal lake please drop them in the comments below, And I’ll be glad to help you out.