My first ever camping experience was at the incredibly beautiful Chandratal Lake in Spiti Valley, a Desert Valley that is the middle land between India and Tibet.
To pitch a tent amidst the magnificent Himalayas on a freezing summer night and to sleep under the skylight sky is amazing enough in itself. But if the campsite was to be at this remote and not-so-easily accessible Moon Lake, there then you have the trip of a lifetime guaranteed!
The Chandratal Lake, a sweet water glacial lake & the source of the Chandra River is also a designated wetland of international importance, according to the RAMSAR Convention. The Snow Leopard & the Himalayan Fox are believed to be found in the catchment area of the lake, though I wasn’t fortunate enough to catch a glimpse.
You enter Spiti valley via Kunzum La and it is only in June that the Kunzum Pass opens and the Valley becomes accessible by road. Around 7 kilometres from this Mountain Pass is Chandratal. It is customary to pay your respects to Kunzum Maata here, on your way, as it is believed that this goddess protects travellers on this tricky terrain.
Here in pictures, is the Chandratal Lake in all its glory.
First glimpse of Chandratal, as you reach the end of your hike from the campsite.
The walk that leads up to it..
& here you are at the lake.
Did you know? The Chandratal Lake reflects the colour of the sky.
Shot at sunrise, when the lake appears blue, this image here captures the splendid reflections cast on the lake.
& as the sun sets, it turns green.
From the minute you get to the lake, an all-consuming sense of peace washes over you. Adding to the serenity of the lake are the Buddhist prayer flags fluttering in the breeze.
My life changed when I lay eyes for the first time ever on the mighty Himalayas. Their sheer magnificence is humbling. So, it is but natural that the experience of spending time at this pristine lake, nestled in the snow kissed mountains, totally transports you to another time and place.
Manali > Rohtang La > Gramphoo > Batal > Kunzum La > Chandratal.
We left from Manali early morning & it was by evening that we reached Chandratal. After a slight delay at a roadblock on the Rohtang Pass due to a landslide, we made quick stops for breakfast & lunch at Gramphoo and Batal. Then the mandatory stop at the Temple on Kunzum Pass & we were at Chandratal, just in time for the setting sun.